How to Frame a Dome Roof

A dome roof can make an attractive topper for a patio or backyard gazebo. It doesn't take a master craftsman to make one, but it will take lumber, patience and a plan. Building a solid frame for the dome is the most important part.

Even the most ornate domes use the same structural framework you can build for smaller projects in your backyard.
  1. Make a plan. Sketch out how you want the dome to look. Measure how large an area you need the dome to cover. Anticipate having to make angled cuts at the ends of straight lumber planks so the wood can be built into circular shapes.

  2. Cut lumber with a hacksaw or table saw to the lengths needed to assemble the frame.

  3. Start with the base. Make angled cuts at the ends of the beams to arrange them into a pentagon, octagon or other circular shape, depending on your design. Use a leveling tool to keep angled cuts uniform.

  4. Arrange the beams into the circular shape. Apply wood glue and hammer in nails to hold the frame together.

  5. Build a smaller circular wood pattern to be used at the very top of the structure.

  6. Connect the two circles with an array of vertical pieces. Cut the vertical pieces much like the ones in the circular base, using angles at the ends to arrange the wood into an arching shape.

  7. Raise the vertical pieces so they hold the smaller circle above the larger one.

  8. Use wood glue and nails to attach the vertical pieces to the larger circle of wood.

  9. Prop the vertical pieces up across from one another. Attach them to the smaller circle of wood as if they are reaching through that circle down to the other side of the larger circle. Use the wood glue and nails to hold the frame together.


  • Roof frame builds can be difficult, and a botched job could have devastating consequences if there's heavy wind or snowfall. Consult with an engineer or a builder if you have any doubts about your work.

About the Author

David Hunt became a professional journalist in 2001. He's covered courts and politics for "The Florida Times-Union" and "The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review." He also was a copy editor at "The Meadville Tribune" in northern Pennsylvania. Hunt received his Bachelor of Arts in literature from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 2001.