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Horse Barns: Adding a Roof to Triton Barns Standard Stalls


Scope of this guide

Barn RoofTriton Barns Standard Stalls are ideally suited for use as free standing stalls where no integrated roof is required and as a structural members for a complete barn or roofed set of stalls. This guide describes how to add the roof to existing stalls.


A finished Triton barn or set of roofed stalls consists of three major components:

  • The stalls themselves that provide a friendly and secure environment for horses and strength and rigidity to the finished building,
  • The roof support structure that transfers the weight of the roof and any live loads such as snow to the ground, and
  • The decking, roofing, insulation and finish materials that determine the final appearance of the barn, keep out the weather and optionally may be used on the exterior walls of the barn.

The roof is supported by vertical support posts (2" square tubular steel columns) located at every intersection of stall panels. The support posts carry the roof trusses (2" by 4" tubular steel beams) sloped at the desired roof pitch. The roof trusses are provided with purlin clips (angle brackets welded to the sides of the trusses) that carry purlins. Purlins (2" by 4" steel members) are parallel both to the ground and the roof ridge, span the distance between trusses, and carry the insulation, roof deck (if used) and roof materials such as steel roof panels and trim panels. Additional support is provided for the roof trusses by intermediate support posts located over the vertical braces at the mid-point of the stall panels.

For nominal 12' by 12' stalls and 12' nominal aisle widths, the roof is supported on 12' by 12' centers, and typically the trusses have additional support at 6' distances over the stall walls. The whole roof support structure is hot dip galvanized steel bolted together and is both strong and durable. Excellent stiffness (the ability to resist lateral loads) is provided by the stall panels. Actual live load and wind speed ratings depend on the number of purlins used, on the type of roof panel selected, and on the number and type of fasteners used to secure the roof material.

Construction Sequence

Optimum Scenario

The most cost effective overall construction sequence for a barn is:

  1. Assemble the stall panel frames and the support posts for the roof trusses,
  2. Install the lumber for the stall panels,
  3. Install the rest of the roof structure,
  4. Install the roof and trim materials,
  5. Complete any remaining items such as hanging doors, plumbing and electrical work.

However, it is very practical to complete the stalls first and add the roof at a later date. If you know that the roof will be added later, we recommend installing the truss support posts when the stalls are built because the clips used to connect the stall panels are different from those used when there is no roof. In this case, skip steps 3 and 4in the list above for the initial construction of the stalls, and perform these steps at a later date when the roof is added.

Converting free standing stalls to roofed stalls

Roofed stalls and stall without roofs are identical except for the clips used to connect the stall panels.

The bottom clips rest on the ground with fingers reaching up into each stall panel to hold the panels in place. The clip design is different when a roof support post is used, as the bottom of the post must be held in place too.

If the stalls were built with the clips lacking provision for retaining the roof support post, the original clip can be changed out for the type designed to hold the post. Due to the weight of the lumber in the stall panels, it may be necessary to remove this lumber before the panel frames can be lifted. Once all the clips have been changed out, the lumber is replaced in each stall frame. There is no need to change out the bottom clip where four stall panels meet as the edges of the four panels will hold the roof support post in place. There is nothing difficult about replacing the clips in this way, but the total effort involved is comparable to the effort required to build the original stalls.

A simple alternative to changing out the bottom clips is to use an angle bracket or corner brace (at outside corners) or a strap or mending plate (where three stall panels meet) to hold the bottom of the truss support post. The brace or plate is secured to the bottom boards in the stall panels with wood screws or lag bolts. Since the surface of the post is not exactly level with the surface of the boards, expect the brace or plate to flex slightly and to hold the post firmly in place.

Changing out the top clips is straightforward. Lift out the original one-piece clip, and set the truss support post in place. Insert the new clips into the tops of the stall panels (one clip per panel) and secure each clip to the post with bolts, washers and nuts. Two bolts are used at each post.

By replacing one top clip at a time with a post and individual clips, little effort is required to hold the panels vertical as the change is made.

Install the Truss Support Posts

The first step to install the roof structure is to install the roof support posts as described above. Be careful to use correct length post in each location; the posts closer to the roof peak are longer than those closer to the eaves. Most roof designs use two different lengths of post. Gabled roofs wider than 36' or shed roofs wider than 12' may use three different lengths of post.

Be sure to orient each post so that the flanges at the top of the post will line up with the roof trusses.

Install the Roof Trusses

Place the roof trusses (rafter beams) next. Each beam, a length of 2" by 4" steel tube with purlin clips attached to the sides, is placed inside the two flanges that form a fork at the top of each post. Place each beam so that the end with the extra holes for the truss plates is at the top (adjacent to the peak of the roof). The beam is secured with bolts, washers and nuts.

Interior rafter beams have purlin clips on both sides. End rafter beams have purlin clips on one side only. There are different left end and right end rafter beams.

For a single plane, shed roof, one rafter beam forms a complete roof truss. For a gabled roof, two rafter beams and two truss plates form a roof truss. Connect the two rafter beams with two truss plates using bolts, washers and nuts. The holes in the truss plates are oblong to allow for errors in locating the support posts. Take care to place the truss plates symmetrically, with their lower edges parallel to the ground.

Roof trusses are also supported by intermediate support posts located over the center of the stall divider panels, where the panel design includes a vertical "H" channel steel support. These supports slide into place, with one fork fitting over the top of the stall panel and the other fork fitting under the rafter beam. The support is secured with bolts, washers and nuts.

Install the Purlins

The next step is to install the purlins, horizontal members parallel to the ground and to the roof ridge, spanning the distance between roof trusses. All the purlins in a typical roof design are identical. Each purlin is bolted at each end to a purlin clip. The purlins are heavy gauge steel "C" sections. The back of the "C" section is bolted to the purlin clip so that the open side of the "C" faces away from the welds attaching the clip to the truss.

A single individual can raise one end of a purlin and connect it to a rafter clip with the lower bolt. Next, raise the other end of the purlin and connect it to that purlin clip with two bolts, washers and nuts. Tighten those bolts. Return to the first end of the purlin, install and tighten both bolts, washers and nuts. With two individuals, each lifting one end of the purlin, assembly proceeds more quickly.

When the last purlin has been placed and all the bolts are tight, the roof structure is complete. The top surfaces of all roof trusses and all purlins are in a single plane (shed roof) or in two planes (gabled roof). The next step is to install the roofing materials.

Choice of Roofing Materials

Triton Barns roof structure can be finished with a wide variety of roofing materials. Possibilities include:

  • Metal roofing. This is the simplest and most cost effective solution and generally is the quickest to install.
  • Corrugated roofing. There is a wide range of corrugated panels available for roofing, including metal, plastic, translucent and transparent materials.
  • Shingles. Shingles (such as shingles used to roof a house) are laid over plywood or OSB (oriented strand board) decking and roofing felt. Typically wood fascia boards and possibly soffit boards are included for a more finished appearance.
  • Metal shingles. These are shingles formed of metal (usually steel or aluminum) and painted or finished with a mineral coating. Decking and assembly is similar to conventional house shingles.
  • Clay or concrete tile. These tiles are placed over decking and roofing felt and provide an attractive and durable roof. Depending on the weight of the tiles, it may be desirable to use additional purlins to support the increased dead load of the tiles.
  • Almost any roof material can be installed over our standard roof structure.

The roof structure can include ridge vents, turbine vents, or cupolas to improve ventilation and skylights or translucent panels to brighten the barn in daytime.

Insulation can be included to increase heat retention in winter, to reduce heat gain in summer, and to reduce condensation in cold weather.

Condensation occurs when there is warm moist air under the roof and cold air outside. If the cold air cools the roof below the dew point of the air under the roof, condensation or sweating occurs. This effect is more pronounced with thin roof systems and we strongly recommend using insulation with metal roofing to reduce condensation problems.


We strongly recommend the use of insulation underneath metal roofing to reduce condensation. Sweating metal roof panels followed by condensation dripping from the roof is likely to occur at some time in all but very dry climates and where the eave and gable areas are open to the outside. There are several choices for insulation in a Triton barn roof.

  • Rolled fiberglass insulation enclosed in plastic. Described below, this is the optimum choice for most barns.
  • Rigid sheets of insulation. 4' by 8' or larger sheets of rigid insulating board are laid over the roof structure before the roof panels are placed. This is effective. It increases the roof thickness by the insulating panels and longer screws are required to attach the roof panels. Panels with a white or silver color side down are preferable and tape may be available to cover the seams.
  • Plywood or Oriented Strand Board deck. This material is sufficient to stop sweating in many climates. It is not recommended only due to the extra material cost and labor involved. It does add strength to the roof. It requires longer screws are required to attach the roof panels.
  • Conventional fiberglass over wire mesh. Effective but not recommended due to more difficult installation, less attractive appearance, and insect and bird problems.
  • Sheet rock ceiling attached under the roof trusses and purlins, covered with fiberglass or blown in insulation before the roof panels are placed. Effective but expensive unless there are special circumstances requiring a finished ceiling. Requires extra purlins (available by special order) for adequate support of the sheet rock and special skills to install sheet rock.
  • Foam in place insulation. Professionally installed foam in place insulation is very effective and can be added to an existing non-insulated building.

An additional benefit of insulation is a reduction in echoes an the general noise level inside the barn.

Installation of Metal Roofing


The sequence for metal roof assembly is set according to which material must overlap another, either to minimize water ingress or for improved resistance to high winds. A typical assembly sequence might be:

  1. The angled drip molding or fascia at the bottom edge of the roof. This piece is required to support the insulation (if present) and to support the bottom edge of the roof panels. This molding may include an integral gutter.
  2. Insulation (if present). Typically only sufficient insulation is placed at one time to allow the next roof panel to be installed. Foam in place insulation is installed only after the roof is complete.
  3. Roof panels, starting at the leeward (downwind) edge of the building). Skylights, transparent panels, and turbine or electric vents are installed as the roof panel installation reaches their location.
  4. Ridge vents and cupolas,
  5. Roof ridge.
  6. Eave trim and gutters, if used.
  7. Rake trim.
  8. Remaining items such as down spouts, if used, trim pieces at roof corners, weather vane, and so on.

This sequence may vary depending on the details of your building. Generally it is better to leave electrical and interior trim work until the roof is complete but you may find it easier to install electrical wiring before the roof panels.

Installing rolled fiberglass insulation

This insulation is supplied in rolls, compressed to a fraction of the final installed volume. The fiberglass material is enclosed in a plastic sheath, resulting in easier handling, no contact with the glass fibers, and a clean, bright, washable, bird and insect resistant finish. Installed, the insulation remains compressed over trusses and purlins (but still providing some insulation) and expands elsewhere to provide a high R value (a measure of insulation effectiveness).

The insulation is applied one width at a time, starting at the bottom corner of a roof panel, continuing up the rake to the top of the roof and (for a gabled roof) continuing down to the bottom of the other roof panel, where the strip is cut to length with a utility knife or heavy duty scissors.

Use a sufficient number of whole strips of insulation to cover the full width of the roof. Adjust the overlap between the strips so that the strips are evenly spaced across the width of the roof. Taping over the joins between the strips of insulation is optional,

The insulation is held in place very securely by the clamping action of the structural roof members and the roof panels. Duct tape may be used to hold the insulation until the roof panels are placed.

Remember you will need to cut insulation at skylights and vents and you may want to find a way to secure the cut edges to keep the glass fibers enclosed.

Installing Rigid Sheets of Insulation

This insulation is supplied in rigid, light weight sheets, typically 4' wide by 8' long. If longer panels such as 4' wide by 10' long are available, you may be able to cover the roof area more conveniently and with fewer panels. Panels are trimmed to size, placed over the roof trusses and purlins of the roof structure, temporarily held in place with tape if necessary, and are secured with the same screws as the roof when the roof panels are installed

Most brands of foam insulation panels have at least one side with either a white or a metallic finish. This side is placed down, both for improved visual appearance and for reduction of heat gain in hot climates and heat loss in cold weather. Optionally, the underside of seams between panels may be taped over using adhesive tape to match the panel. Tape improves appearance and seals against insect entry and water penetration when the ceiling is hosed down.

For most roof plans, insulation panels are placed with the longer dimension running up the slope of the roof and with all horizontal joins over a purlin or at the eave or peak of the roof.. With this plan, each panel can be supported at three places along its length. Typically the top and bottom panels (but not intermediate panels, if any) will need to be trimmed to length. Choose the length so that the join falls over the center of a purlin. Panels may be trimmed in situ but usually it is easier to cut them at ground level; measure the length needed and trim the panel to length with a utility knife and metal straight edge.

The first column of insulation panels typically has one edge that is lined up with the outside of a roof truss. The third column of panels is likely to cover the next roof truss. The panel edges in this column should be trimmed back even with the center of the roof truss so that the intermediate roof trusses support the edges of two columns of insulation panels. The panels edges in the final column of insulation panels are trimmed level with the outside edge of the last roof truss.

When the joins between panels span 4', the panels may not line up accurately (one may hang a little lower than its neighbor). You may find the insulation vendor has clips (typically small lengths of "H" section extruded metal or plastic) that may be used to ensure good alignment, similar to the clip used to align plywood roof deck panels.

Rigid insulation panels increase the roof thickness by the thickness of the panels. Consequently longer screws are required to attach the roof panels.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing can provide a good looking and durable roof and assembly is quick easy. Fascia trim is needed to support the ends of the roof panels at the eaves (and at the peak of a shed roof). Fascia trim at the rake finishes off the appearance and improves the ability to withstand high winds. Also metal siding can be used just for the upper extents of the barn walls or to cover the entire wall area.

Metal panels allow a wide choice of color. Except for special circumstances such as alternating color stripes, choices are restricted to three or fewer distinct colors, one for walls, one for trim and one for the roof. If there are no overriding aesthetic reasons to pick a specific roof color, we suggest picking one of the colors with the highest reflectivity to minimize heat gain in hot climates.


The first roof panels to be mounted are the eave trim, fascia or gutter panels at the bottom of each roof panel (and at the peak of a shed roof). They are installed first to support insulation (if used) and to support the bottom of the roof panels. They must go under the roof panels to make sure water cannot seep underneath them.

Depending on the brand of roofing you select and whether you will install gutters you may use one or more of the following:

  • Structural "L" or "U" channel (covers and spans the ends of the roof trusses, not normally used),
  • Additional special ordered purlins to provide roof panel supports on 2' centers and at the eaves (significantly increases the live load rating of the roof),
  • Simple fascia trim panel to span between roof trusses, or
  • Combined fascia trim and gutter to span between roof trusses (most common scheme),
  • Conventional drip edge molding (standard light weight hardware item to ensure the edge of the insulation stays dry, not normally used),
  • Trim just to cover the roof edge,
  • Separate gutters.

One of the first four items supports the roof panels, and can be secured with the same style of screw used for the roof panels. Follow any manufactures instructions for installation. Make sure each piece is supported by at least two roof trusses. When using combined fascia trim and gutter, be sure to follow instructions for sealing the joins and providing for downspouts.

Roof panels

Most roof panels are not symmetric; one edge is designed to fit over the other edge where the panels join. If there is a prevailing wind direction, start at the leeward or down wind edge of the roof. Then the wind will tend to push the overlap together rather than lift the top panel.

For most roofs, one metal panel will cover the full height of the roof. For larger roofs, place the lower panel first, followed by the corresponding upper panel. Work from one side of the roof to the other, placing insulation, if used, as you go. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, especially regarding any tape used to seal between panels, and the size, type and installation method for the screws securing the panels.

The roof panel manufacturer my offer a sealing strip to close off the variable width gaps under the ridges in the roof panels. If so, this is installed over the support for the edge of the roof. The actual roof panel should extend an inch or more beyond the sealing strip and support member so that water drips off the roof panel and does not run back to the sealing sealing strip.

If pre-drilling the panels is recommended for the screws, this may be accomplished on the ground. Be sure to remove all debris from drilling, as loose steel particles remaining on the roof may rust and stain the roof panels. Typically there will be one screw wherever a ridge in the roof crosses a purlin or the trim piece at the eave or ridge of the roof. Screws recommended by the manufacturer of the roofing are designed to be rust free and to seal out rain. The self-tapping screws do not leave bare steel exposed and rust around these screws should not be a problem.

For a typical roof, there will be screws on a 4' by 1' grid. Additional screws are required along the edges of the roof. Check the roofing manufacturer's instructions; these additional screws may be the same screws uses to attach the fascia trim. Also check the roofing manufacturer's instructions before installing screws at the top and bottom of roof panels; these screws ay be installed later as they also have to secure additional roof members such as fascia trim or ridge covers.

If there are openings in the roof panels for fixtures such as skylights or turbine vents, for example, check the instructions that come with the fitting to determine how best to install that fitting and any necessary flashing to ensure a leak proof installation.

Ridge cover, ridge vents, Cupola

Standard roof panels cannot cover the ridge where two panels meet. Separate ridge cover pieces are provided for this application. These are installed after all the regular roof panels, working from the leeward to the windward side of the roof.

If there are openings in the roof ridge cover panels for fixtures such as ridge vents, check the instructions that come with the fitting to determine how best to install that vent and any necessary flashing to ensure a leak proof installation.


The roofing manufacturer supplies fascia trim for use at the rake and may supply a trim piece for use at the peak of the gable (this piece matches the slope of the roof). Install according to the manufacturer's instructions. Make sure the outer edges of the roof panels are secured to the end roof trusses with at least one screw every 12".


Gutters are best purchased from the same vendor as the roof panels. One complex formed metal piece may form the gutter, fascia trim and support for the bottom edge of the roof panels. Alternatively, the gutter may be a separate component. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for sealing joins, installing downspouts and end caps. Remember that gutter full of rain can be heavy, and most add-on gutter cannot span safely the 12' between mounting locations.

Corrugated Roofing

There are several corrugated roofing panels available today that are suitable for installation directly over the Triton roof frame. Simply place the panels over the roof structure meeting the recommended overlaps and install with screws. Generally a matching ridge cap is available to cover the roof ridge.

Heavier corrugated panels are satisfactory with the bottom 2' or so cantilevered out from the bottom purlin. For lighter duty panels either special order the roof with purlins on 2' centers or add a suitable edge brace at the bottom edge of the roof.

The heavier corrugated panels may be the optimum choice for stalls that need to be moved from site to site, due to the minimum number of components used in structure and the relative ease of handling 8' or 12' plastic panels compared to metal roofing.

Alternative Roofing Installation

Triton Barns roof systems support virtually all traditional roof materials. Typically plywood or OSB panels are installed over our roof frame using countersunk self-tapping screws, covered with roofing felt, and the shingles or tiles are nailed in place.

If a fascia board is required, it may be attached with screws to the underside of the deck board which is placed with sufficient overhang of the roof structure. A typical wooden fascia structure might consist of a 2" by 4" dimensional lumber board under the deck and a 1" by 6" finish board covering the edge of the deck and the dimensional lumber board. Staggering the joins in two boards forms a stronger structure. Also cutting the finish boards with a 45 degree miter produces joins that are less conspicuous than square cut, butt joined boards.

Alternatively, fascia panels may be screwed to the outside edge of the roof trusses. At the eaves, there are two ways to attach fascia boards directly to the roof structure. One way is to cut blocks of wood (such a a pieces of 2" by 4" lumber trimmed to just under 4" long by 2" wide) to fit inside the ends of the roof trusses and secure them with screws through the metal of the roof trusses. The other way is to cut a length of wood long enough to extend past the first roof support post. Temporarily remove the bolt, insert the wood, drill a clearance hole in the wood, and replace the bolt.

Either way provides wood to which the fascia may be attached. Remember, the distance between the ends of two roof trusses is rather long for a 2" by 4" board to span without some droop, so larger boards may work better.


Triton Barns standard stalls and roof systems provide a safe and cost effective solution to equine housing. Depending on the finishing materials you select, you can have a simple installation suitable for easy disassembly and relocation or a fully finished and insulated bard. The roof can be installed either with the stalls or added later. Triton's roof structure supports an endless variety of roofing materials.



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