I am building a 24 by 30 cottage with 2 x 4 exterior walls, 8' high. I want to have a clerestory style roof with the front 1/2 of the house having a roof pitch of 3/12, and the back roof 6/12, which will leave space for clerestory windows facing the front. How should I construct the center wall, which will be holding both roofs? It will be 14' high in total. Can I build this wall with 2 x 4 or should I use 2 x 6? Can I build a 10' wall first, topped with 2 2x12's to support an opening of 12' in the wall, and then put an additional 3' high section on top to complete the height for my tallest roof?

  • 1
    I can imagine the framing experts saying that if you intend to divide the interior space along the line of the clerestory windows, the best design is to make that interior wall a load bearing wall. Aug 17, 2018 at 12:19
  • 2
    I’d caution you on using 2x4 exterior walls. Not because of the structural concerns, but because of the energy concerns. Most codes require a certain R-value for the exterior “envelope” and it’s extremely difficult to get it with 2x4 walls. Also, just from a practical issue, the energy savings will easily pay for the extra cost for 2x6 studs in the first year or so.
    – Lee Sam
    Aug 17, 2018 at 16:23
  • @JimStewart Seems like it would be difficult to enjoy the clerestory windows without a load bearing interior wall. I guess trusses doubled up at 4’ o.c. would work and still give a vaulted appearance. Or some kind of “rigid frame” steel construction would work, but difficult.
    – Lee Sam
    Aug 17, 2018 at 16:29
  • @Lee Sam, I presume 2x4's would be sufficient for the clerestory wall, but if there was a lot of plumbing in that wall would it be better for it to be 2x6s? The downside would be that the doors through that wall would have to have the larger jambs for 2x6 framing. Aug 17, 2018 at 17:55
  • I would agree that using 2x6 would be the way to go with today's 2x4s the wood is not as old as in years past and is not as strong a grader told me the boards only have to have 4 swirls per inch that's not much where in years past that would have been chip wood.+ on energy and code lee sam
    – Ed Beal
    Aug 17, 2018 at 21:34

1 Answer 1


There are of course lots of ways to accomplish this. Since the ends of the rafters from both roofs (rooves?) need support, at different levels, it's a bit of a challenge.

It would be easy to construct the center load bearing wall with balloon framing methods. (Actually the whole structure is very well suited to balloon framing.) However since balloon framing is seldom used these days, not many people know how to do it, and it can be difficult to get permits / approvals etc. But it's very well suited to multi level challenges like this.

The picture below shows a pretty straightforward way to frame it with familiar, standard platform framing. If you look closely you can see that there are really two built up columns in the center. Inside, you could have a double wall - one side built to support the front roof, one side built to support the back roof. That is probably the simplest, most straightforward way to go.

If you wanted the interior wide open, you could also have the built up columns supporting beams, one to support the front roof and one to support the back roof. The beams would have to be carefully sized to support the roof load across the span, and buying / building them and getting them in place would be a big job.

Clerestory Roof Wall Framing

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.