my Old Workshop

Cantilevers – Where to use them

Last time, we gave you a sense of how cantilevers work. Here are some ways you can use them around your house — from simple, functional uses to elegant approaches.

You probably already have a few cantilevers already. Shelves are often built using the concept. You can take this to a larger scale in terms of storage. A cantilevered storage shelf for lumber or boxes frees up floor space down below.

Balconies are usually built using the cantilever principle. The beam extends beyond the wall of the house to a distance at which it can still support a load.

You can extend a bay or bow window out from your house without building a foundation below it, using either a cantilevered beam extended beyond the wall or a combination of cantilever and cantilever brackets.

Installing a small roof over a porch doesn’t necessarily require posts. A bracketed cantilever design eliminates them.

The “ladder” that creates the eaves at the end of gabled wall uses cantilevers. The lookouts which support the end rafter are anchored a couple of rafters back.

This — combined, perhaps, with the bracketed cantilever used in the door roof — can be used to extend a gabled roof’s eaves further than usual to create additional shelter or a dramatic effect.

As you may have guessed, the leverage required will vary depending on the load, and you’ll need to check the Code and possibly have an engineer spec out the particular job.