How To Build A Chinese Roof?

A roof with characteristic upward bends of corners is the most important part of a structure in the Oriental style. This gives the impression that the entire construction is grand and spectacular while also giving the impression that the roof is nearly weightless and floats in the air.

Traditional Chinese architecture is as old as Chinese civilization, but it is also unique in the world, particularly in its multi-layered dugong structure. A Chinese roof has a set of interlocking wooden brackets that supports the massive roofs, visual style in shape, size, and color.

Chinese head buildings’ upper constructions are typically embellished with complex carvings, numerous ornaments and mosaics, and images of legendary creatures that ward off evil spirits. It’s worth noting that clay sculptures originally served a more practical purpose: they kept the roof tiles from tumbling down.

What Are The Basic Characteristics Of Chinese Roof?

Chinese roof has timber jointing systems that are favored over metal fixing. The roofs were made more intriguing by the interlocking and overlapping columns and crossbeams.

Curved Shape Roof:

The most distinguishing feature of Chinese roof construction is the upturned eaves on roof corners. The upturned roof design first arose during the Han Dynasty and remained the most common until the Song Dynasty.

The roofs’ surface area was expanded by combining lines, curves, and upturned eaves. This design increased rainfall drainage and reduced snow weight, but it also gave the architecture a unique beauty. Roofs in southern China were often steeper than those in the north to allow better drainage, while roofs in northern China were more concerned with illumination and warmth.

Cupped Tiles Roof:

The most frequent profiles for rounded tiles were arcs and semicircles. Place rows of cupped tiles on the roof, then rows of arched tiles spanning between them, their edges inside the cupped tiles, was the most common approach to interlock rounded tiles.

Roofs in ancient China featured wide eaves that shielded the buildings below from all save the most violent wind-driven rain. This feature protected the internal pillars and brackets, often composed of stone or wood, from rainfall erosion. The value of roof architecture for buildings was shown to vary. Hip roofs were generally employed for imperial palaces, with resting hill roofs for official buildings, hanging hill roofs for better-off establishments, and hard hill roofs for public structures.

Basic Types Of Chinese Roof:

There are four basic Chinese roofs: resting hills roof, hanging hills roof, hip roofs, and hard hills roof. Let’s start discussing each type in detail:

1)Hanging Hill Roof:

The two overhanging slopes of a hanging hill roof are straight. After hip roofs and resting mountain roofs, they were the third grade. They were one of the most popular roof designs in China, especially for more affluent establishments. The eaves overhang the gable walls by three-tenths of their height, which is the most noticeable characteristic.

2)Hip Roof:

Hip roofs, which slanted on both sides, were the most elegant traditional roof design, and were employed for special projects. Hip roofs were divided into two types: single-eave and double-eave. During the Ming and Qing periods, double eaves were only utilized in royal palaces and Confucian temples. The grandest example is the roof of the Forbidden City’s Hall of Supreme Harmony.

3)Resting Hills Roof:

Hip roofs were second in importance to resting hill, which had two curving sides. Important halls, temples, parks, and other governmental structures were mostly constructed with them. The resting roof came in two varieties: mono-eave and double-eave. The Forbidden City’s Hall of Preserving Harmony has a resting mountain roof with twin eaves.

4)Hard Hill Roof:

The gable walls of hard hill roofs had high, sloping ridges and the main ridge. It was a straightforward design with two slopes facing the front and back. Hard hill roofs were largely employed in common houses throughout the Ming and Qing eras and were considered a low-grade roof design in China.

How To Build An Ideal Chinese Roof?

A native craftsman is the best option for putting a Chinese roof on a pergola. However, sticking to the original design is not always achievable because it would be impossible to pay or find one in your city, but it is certainly possible when dealing with column structures. There’s also an adaptable version of the Chinese roof that’s simple to construct with readily accessible materials. The original Chinese roof is not installed on the rafters.

In China, most buildings built using traditional technologies lack load-bearing walls. The rafter system has been modified for this purpose. For the base and roof deck, available flexible materials were utilized. They allow you to minimize the stress on the entire system while maintaining your fitness. This variation has a similar appearance to the original. However, it is significantly less expensive. As a result, before constructing the project with your own hands, you must first select if the original or a copy will be built.


As can be seen from the preceding, the building of a Chinese roof differs from the conventional methods that have been employed in our nation for decades. We have discussed a few expert recommendations to assist you to figure out how to construct a simple Chinese roof yourself. Only when you’ve grasped the intricacies of the system and the application of roofing material can you begin planning the layout of a full-fledged Chinese roof.

Also read: How To Repair A Leaking Asbestos Roof?

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