Before wall framing could start, our team installed the required lvl beams above the existing upper level windows. This freshly demolished roof is the starting point for building out the new shed dormer.

It’s all about the Engineering

Aiming to keep the newly designed upper level as open as possible, we needed to find a way to introduce a structural system that would take the roof loads to the foundation below without adding bulky columns throughout the plan. Our office coordinated with an engineer to develop the appropriate solution, which included a new ridge beam at the center of the roof, blocking just below, a new lvl beam (laminated veneer lumber) above the existing windows, additional posts situated under the lvl at the exterior wall, and a final LVL below to disperse the structural loads to the rest of the home and foundation below. Without bulking up the structural supports at the exterior walls, we would have needed a column in the center of the floor plan and a corresponding point load on the main level which would then require additional changes to the basement and foundation!

A crew of 4 worked to lift and install the new ridge beam. The ridge beam sits at the peak of the gable where all the rafters will be attached to form the basic structural makeup of the roof.
The engineer specified all aspects of the structural upgrades from the size of the Lvl to the strapping, posts, and hardware to make sure the new build will be sound and last for the lifecycle of the home.

Breaking Down the Construction Timeline from Exterior Framing to Roofing

With the major structural elements configured, here’s how we moved forward:

  1. Forming the Dormer walls: To ease framing on the second level, we actually pre-built and lifted framing along the exterior to form the framing for the entire North facing dormer wall. We then filled in the angled East/West exterior walls of the dormer with dimensional 2×6 lumber.
  2. Sheathing: For the sake of getting the upper level more watertight, we went ahead and added sheathing and waterproofing to the newly framed exterior.
  3. New Roofing: We tarped the roof and re-roofed the entire home to decrease the chances of damage from inclement weather.
  4. Interior Framing: Next up was interior framing which forms the new walls for our clients’ future bedrooms, bathroom, and family room.


Except for plumbing walls, the interior of the home is composed of dimensional 2x4 lumber, while the exterior is entirely composed of 2x6s to ensure the proper wall depth to properly insulate the home.
Like many other homes, the framing here is composed of vertical lumber screwed into a top and bottom plate at 16" on center. Framing for the skylights is done on the interior while the roof will be removed only when the skylights arrive.
Along the existing rafters, we've added some additional framing to ensure a few extra inches of insulation space. Though it doesn't seems like much, an extra inch or so will make a big difference in both retaining heat in winter and keeping the upper level cool during the summer months.
Stepping just inside the new shared bedroom, notice framing for the future closet and the open family room beyond.
With the North facing exterior wall lifted into place, framing for the future windows is ready for the upcoming window install.

The New Dormer is in

And the changes to the home are now evident. By keeping the dormer to the back of the home, homeowners retain the quaint cape cod aesthetic which transitions to a more modern composition along the sides and rear elevation. The new windows are further proof of the added space provided by removing the steeply sloping gable. Our next steps will be to rough-in important elements like lighting, mechanical, and plumbing and then insulate before the drywall encloses the walls for good.

Within only a couple of weeks, the new dormer and upper level remodel was framed, sheathed, and reroofed with new skylights. Along the back of the home, the added upper level space is hard to miss, with all new windows set to become an excellent source of natural light and welcome component of each new room.
Along the side of the house, the design shifts from cute Cape cod to modern dormer, the transition between eventually being marked with vertical siding and a trim band to be installed much later.

Up Next…Look inside as we finish rough-ins and insulation for the new dormer on this St. Paul Cape Cod home.


Roof Demolition


Rough Ins & Insulation