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Special Roof Construction

A speciality of Timber Structures is the making of special roof constructions. We construct hip roofs, curb or mansard roofs, barrel roofs, eyebrow dormers, elliptical roofs, hyperbolic roofs, paraboloid roofs, saddle surface roofs and mandala roofs.

Mansarde Roof Mansard roofs Eyebrow Dormer Eyebrow dormer

Furthermore, we can make steeples, onion domes, elliptical domes and form work or false work for stone masonry vaults such as barrel vaults, groin vaults, rib vaults, cloister vaults, quadripartite vaults, sexpartite vaults and star vaults.

We relish the opportunity to challenge our expertise and build this kind of special roof construction so if you require a timber construction like this then please do contact us now on: 07792 729 888

Hips and valleys

Hips and Valleys

Hips and Valleys

Hanging boss

Curved valley


Timber Structures builds and restores steeples. Steeples are pyramided roofs but with a steeper angle and significant height. The ratio from the basis to the height is usually 1:3.5 to 1:5

The base of a steeple can be square, pentagonal, hexagonal or round. The shape of the main body of the steeple can also be square, pentagonal, hexagonal or round. The different shapes of base and steeple body can be combined and give interesting and pleasing results in design and form. See drawings.

Timber Structures can help you with the design and construction of all kinds of steeples. We have extensive knowledge of steeple construction and understand all of its complexities.

Timber Structures also repair and restore steeples. We will be able to find a solution to fix any damage to a steeple in an efficient and cost effective manor with as little disturbance to the original timber structures as possible.

Steeple Construction Illustrations of steeple structures

Steeple Model Model of steeple

Steeple Drawing Drawing shows the inside of a steeple

Wikipedia entry on Steeples: Steeples


Domes are most typically found in Classical architecture. The Romans and Byzantines built their domes in stone, and due to the tremendous weight of these magnificent buildings, they needed to be built on soil that could support them.

Then, as today, if this supportive soil is not available the weight of the building can be reduced by using a wooden dome. By replacing the heavy stone structure for a much lighter wooden one it is possible to build domes on all types of soil, even very soft soils such as clay.

Domes are commonly found in churches. Most domes are crowned with a cupola to let light into the central space.

Dome Construction Example dome construction

Dome Construction Example dome construction from beneath

Onion Domes

The Onion Dome is a bulbous shaped roof ending in a sharp point on the top. Most will recognise the shape from its use on Russian Orthodox and Baroque churches, a classic example being the domes of St Basils Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square.

The diameter of the Onion Dome is usually larger than the tower it is topping, and the height is usually larger than the width of the dome.

Onion Dome Illustration of onion dome structure

Wikipedia article on Domes

Wooden Vaults

In places with soft soil such as clay it is not possible to build heavy stone vaults. Therefore in the past if people wished to demonstrate their wealth and ability with vaults in their churches and cathedrals they needed to find an alternative building method.

This could be achieved by using wooden vaults. Using wooden vaults reduces the weight of the building immensely and makes it possible to build impressive vaults on a large scale.

To build wooden vaults a different type of frame is needed with no tiebeam spanning the room. This can be done by using an inclined principal truss.

Wooden Vault As you can see, on this type of truss there is no tiebeam interfering with the view up into the vault.

Form work or false work

If we stand in our old cathedrals and look up we cannot escape the sight of magnificent stone vaults. In order to construct these vaults the builders needed form work or false work to keep the stones up until they were ready to set the keystone. After the keystone was set the form or false work was removed so that the stone or masonry vault would be visible to the public.

Wooden Vault

Wooden Vault

Wikipedia article on Vaults

Elliptical Domes

Elliptical dome

Mandala Roof

Mandala Roof