Roof framing and gutters: original details

By today’s standards, bungalow roof framing was undersized.

Roof framing

Bungalow roof framing generally consisted of 4 x 2” (100 x 50 mm) rough sawn rafters spaced at 2’ (600 mm) centres and supported by a 6 x 1” (150 x 25 mm) ridge board at one end and resting on the wall framing top plate at the other (Figures 1-4). 

The rafters were tied in a couple-close configuration whereby rafters are connected to the ceiling joists. These were also typically 4” x 2” (100 x 50 mm) members at 2’0” (600 mm) centres to connect every pair of rafters (Figure 5). 

By today’s standards, the roof framing was significantly undersized, particularly where the roof is tiled.


If necessary, rafters were supported at mid-span by underpurlins and struts that carried the load onto a load-bearing internal wall. Roof bracing was generally only provided by the valley rafters between the different gable roof sections. 


In some parts of the country bungalow roofs were sarked instead of having purlins

The sarking typically consisted of close-butted, 1” (25 mm) thick boards that were laid either perpendicular to the rafters or on the diagonal. As an economy measure, ‘hit and miss’ sarking, where every second board is omitted, was sometimes used. 

The roofing may have been installed over building paper or bituminous felt laid directly over the sarking. If the roof was tiled, tile battens were fixed to the sarking (Figure 6).

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Gutters and downpipes

Gutters and downpipes were generally made of galvanised mild steel although copper was sometimes used on more expensive homes. 

The gutter typically had a galvanised iron profile with external brackets. It was supplied in 8’ (2.4 m) lengths and joints were soldered on site. It was fixed to the fascia board (if installed) or directly to the ends of the exposed rafters.

Downpipes were round, galvanised iron pipes 2x½ (63.5 mm) in diameter and supplied in 8’ (2.4 m) lengths. They discharged into corrugated iron water tanks or drained to soak pits or onto the ground.