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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Cumberland County 5A
Having built both, a shed roof style dormer is generally quicker/easier to build than a gable one. Plus a zillion for not running it out to the end of the existing roof, as mentioned above. You can cut out trusses to add a dormer, IF you or someone that can help, knows how to properly redo the original truss bracing to maintain integrity.
If, for example your original ceiling joists are 2x6s, there are ways to increase their strength to support a floor. Again, consult someone that knows how to do that correctly.
If you don't plan on using that new " second floor" space regularly (say maybe just for a week or less, during deer season) and don't want to lose the space on the first floor that a stairway needs, can always use a pull down for access. They come with their own set of issues and aren't practical if the new space is going to be used often.
If I was younger, I'd tear off most of the ridge/rafter roof on the original 12x20 part of our cabin and add more space. It wasn't supposed to be the permanent camp when built on piers in 1980, so it's a 4 pitch with not much insulation in the 7'6" ceiling. The newer and much bigger part of the shanty, has higher, open beam ceilings and is much nicer.
Some folks' learnin' curves just look like circles...3A Camp/also hunt 4B