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How to Build Roof Returns

Steve Smith

A roof return is the portion of the roof that "comes back" to the wall of the house. It is the part between the end of the roof and the home's walls. Sometimes roof returns are referred to as eaves. They can be built on a roof frame using part of the joist as a support or added to a home roof that has no return at all.

  1. Measure from very end of the roof edge to the home wall. Use a level and a tape measure to do this to ensure the measurement is straight and level. If the wall of the home is sided, remove the siding from the point where the return will connect to the wall and up.

  2. Cut a 2-by-4 board to this size, then place it up against the roof with one end touching the wall, the other at the end of the roof. Now, draw a line for your matching angle in the end so it will lay flush with the slant of the roof. Reset the board in place to make sure it is a perfect fit. If so, cut all your boards from this template, enough to install one along each joist in the roof.

  3. Nail one cut 2-by-4 board to the end of each roof joist, with the angle side matching the slant of the roof joist and the flat side connecting with the wall of the home. Install a metal brace on the end of the board, and secure it to the wall with galvanized nails.

  4. Repeat Step 3 until the roof return frame is complete.

  5. Using a pneumatic nail gun with 1-inch nails, install 1/2-inch pine slats, or 1-by-2 boards, across the roof return frame boards you just installed. They can be cut to any length, as long as they line up with the frame boards. The longer you make them, the faster the install will go.

  6. Finish with natural stain or paint.