The roof is an important element to consider when building a gazebo, not only for its aesthetic role, but also for acting as a protective shield to the construction and anything inside. Especially in the case when the gazebo is constantly exposed to the elements, all year round, year after year, the roof has to cope with variety of conditions and situations. Depending on the region and thus seasonal factors, in some cases that may escalate to the extreme.
The type of roof directly affects the demands and properties of how it reacts and interacts with the gazebo structure and the way the people experience their stay nearby and inside of it. The 3 main types based on the material used are wooden, metal and acrylic roofs. The latter, for those unfamiliar with the term, are roofs made from glassy thermoplastic. It can be cast and molded or used in coatings and adhesives, thus making it very durable and versatile.
Before making a choice on which type of roof to accommodate, it is important to consider the amount and frequency of live loads the gazebo is going to be exposed to. What is considered a live load are wind, rain, snow, earthquakes and floods, with the first 3 directly affecting the roof and its support construction, effectively asserting its structural strength.
The single factor that is the main downside to a metal roof is its tendency to be noisy in the rain. With wooden roofs on the other hand such problem is virtually non existent as they absorb the sound. Regardless of which way you go, it is important to have the roof designed with a slope that helps snow and water easily slide off.
Although the metal, wooden shingle and acrylic roofs are all good choices, from live loads demands point of view the type of roof framing is more important. Further reinforcement is achieved by the use of bracing and rafters, with the latter being easier to construct and assemble from metal and wood. Metal especially is very popular because it can be shaped in almost anything and the additional freedom of choosing the type of metal is appealing to many. Copper, aluminum, steel or wrought iron are all suitable metals that can be used. Wood on the hand preserves the overall continuity of the design so it really is a matter of personal preference and finding the right balance between functionality and appeal.
To prevent wind damage of any kind, the roof not only has to be strong but also the ceiling of the upper section should be closed completely, if possible. Without that you risk of letting strong winds lift the top right off or doing cover damage. That is especially true with retractable roofs made to allow direct sunlight into the gazebo interior, in case you make the choice of using such.
As you can see there are more than a few factors when it comes to roof design when building a gazebo. With good preparation, patience and observation, all pitfalls can be easily avoided.