Composing roof penetrations
A litany of options for roof penetrations ensure that this connection stays tight
When thinking about a house’s curb appeal, designers and architects often pay close attention to the front elevation and look carefully at wall composition. The roof, however, typically doesn’t receive a second thought. Why not organize the elements on the roof as carefully as you would the windows, the doors, and the siding?
Larger elements such as a chimney or a skylight appear in the architect’s drawing, but we rarely draw the other elements. Where are the plumbing vents, the appliance flues, the range-hood exhaust, the whole-house-fan and bathroom-exhaust-fan outlets, the electrical-service weatherhead, and the tubular skylights? It’s easy to ignore these items because they tend to clutter the drawing. And it’s hard to pin down their exact position before rough framing is complete. The locations are limited by the building structure, the roof framing, the locations of fixtures and equipment, and the limits on flue offsets and lengths of piping runs. To avoid a cluttered and haphazard-looking roof, however, you need to plan for and organize these elements.
I like to show the locations clearly and to note all known penetrations on the construction drawings. By putting a good eye on the composition of the roof beforehand, the intentions for locations are conveyed, and the trades aren’t left to determine the best placement based on a “convenient location.” I like to have all the trades check in with me before they begin work. Typically, I put a bold reminder on the drawings and in the specifications that says, “Confirm all roof penetrations, locations, and sizes (with the architect) prior to rough in.”
Then I work with the contractor and his subs to determine the best locations for these items. I often am reminded of code limitations, but by working as a team, the…