Green Building Community

What are Outriggers, and Why Do We Need Them?

Rate It Green Team 0 Ratings 105 Discussions 6 Group posts

Posted by: Rate It Green Team


As Matt Hoots of Sawhorse, Inc. and Chris Laumer-Giddens of LG Squared, Inc. explain in this video, outriggers are rafters or trusses that extend beyond the roof of the building. Outriggers create an overhang to protect everything below, especially for the upper half of the building, including siding, and windows.  Outriggers can also help manage solar gain. 


With deep window reveals, the outriggers at the #1920sMakeoverATL deep energy retrofit project are a bit more aesthetic, as this is a historic renovation where one goal is to bring back th home’s original look and respect the history, but they also provide back up, or a “belt and suspenders” for protecting the walls.  


Outriggers with continuous insulation prevent penetrations in the sheathing, which helps reduce the risk of air leakage and thermal bridging, and avoids interruptions in the insulation.  The result is a “clean intersection” with encapsulated sheathing to and down the wall. Structural insulation is preferable to foam and sealant as foam can delaminate or separate with future building expansion and contraction.  Likewise, sealant also dries and cracks.  Continuous insulation maintains the same temperature throughout, which means expansion and contraction will take place at the same rate. 


The outrigger is a simpler way to achieve the air barrier and provides more control.  Meanwhile the outrigger is the same thickness as a regular overhang, so there’s no design compromise.  Basically, you get the same look and eliminate “transition risk,” which is where different materials come together, and also where there’s often the greatest risk for air, water, vapor, and energy leakage.  


Do you have questions for Matt and Chris? Do you have additional information to share about outriggers? Reply below and share your thoughts! 



Please be kind and respectful!

Please make sure to be respectful of the organizations and companies, and other Rate It Green members that make up our community. We welcome praise and advice and even criticism but all posted content and ratings should be constructive in nature. For guidance on what constitutes suitable content on the Rate It Green site, please refer to the User Agreement and Site Rules.

The opinions, comments, ratings and all content posted by member on the Rate It Green website are the comments and opinions of the individual members who posts them only and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies or policies of Rate It Green. Rate It Green Team Members will monitor posted content for unsuitable content, but we also ask for the participation of community members in helping to keep the site a comfortable and open public forum of ideas. Please email all questions and concerns to