Collar tie

Inspected a house, 85yrs. young yesterday and when I inspected the attic, this is what I found. There is no ridge rafter and no collar ties. The joint where the two rafters connect are good. Not sure if I should call this out. Again, this home is 85 yrs. young and no problems as of yet.

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Generally I would not call out the need to add collar ties unless you observed dipping or bowing in the roof plane.

From your photo the roof framing looks fairly straight (without significantly noticeable bows in the structural framing).

Looks to be typical for a home of that age. If there are no signs of sagging or any other defect in regards to support, I wouldn’t bother with it being in my report.

But I have on occasion inserted an illustration to explain the dynamics behind a collar tie.

I agree with both.

If there are no obvious issues with bowing or sagging of the rafters or exterior studded walls after all these years, then there’s no need to upgrade.

Thanks to all. That was my thought also.

My step-dad’s garage stood for about 90 years with no collar ties and only two 12’ joists holding 24’ long walls together. The roof caved in about a month ago with a foot of wet snow on it. The end of one of the joists was rotten and the nails finally let go. :mad:

John Kogel

I think I would still point out their absence and say the construction technique doesn’t conform to current standards but may have been typical when the house was built. Say that there is no visible sagging and you see no reason to upgrade, but that they can get a 2nd opinion if they desire. Would not put it in the Summary as a significant issue.

Y’all that talked about sagging might want to read a bit more about the difference in location and purpose of collar ties versus rafter ties.

In short, RAFTER TIES help prevent sagging. COLLAR TIES are there to prevent uplift.

The picture shown is typical for the age of the home. Rafter opposing rafter with the ceiling joists acting as rafter ties.

Erby is correct.

I simply ask myself this…“does the issue adversely effect the home in any manner of which would reasonably be of interest to my client?”

Construction and installation methods are going to change to some degree however how are they effecting the home now.



Absolutely NOT.

Report what you see and you’re job is done.

Good reference guide for construction terminology

Collar tie
A horizontal member used to tie a pair of opposing rafters together. May be high to hold the upper joint together or may be low to serve as a ceiling joist. Also called a collar beam.

Hi David,

I respectfully disagree… while inspectors are “generalists” many inspectors have extensive knowledge in various fields…if a licensed electrician can make a call in regards to an area of his expertise then so be it…clients (and agents) find it annoying for an inspector to constantly be referring the client to a specialist.

I have 30 years in construction, in particular with framing as well as several other disciplines / phases of residential construction…which is why agents love to hire me…I seldom refer them to other trade specialist if I know the answer…that is what I am getting at.

Sorry if I failed to make my self clear on that.

Let me also say that our state standards of practice clearly states that we are to report on any “systems or components so inspected which do not function as intended, allowing for normal wear and tear, and/or adversely affect the habitability of the dwelling…”



PS. Also, if it has not already been stated; many of these style homes, typically built (thrown together) after WWII for the many veterans coming home…taking into consideration that many counties didn’t even have building inspections on this units, it was pretty much up to the contractor to ensure that such dwelling was safe. Like others have said, unless that roof is sagging…if its been doing well for 50 years then I wouldn’t write it up…at least not in our “summary page” which is specially for items that are deficient or require further investigation.

Local nomenclature aside, that’s simply a bad definition.
I’ve never heard the term “collar beam” used by anyone who was qualified in either log homes or conventional homes.
Collar ties go in the upper third of the roof and prevent uplift.
Rafter ties go low in the roof and tie the bottoms of opposing rafters together to keep the tops of the walls from spreading and the ridge from sagging.

Framing without a ridge was standard practice for many years. Lack of a ridge in a home from that era is only a defect if the ridgeline sags due to a missing ridge. I’ve never seen a ridgeline sag because no ridge was installed. It’s pretty much always because of the lack of rafter ties or severely undersized and sagging rafters. Almost always the former.

How about this one:

You’re disagreeing with me but then you state


So which is it, you either disagree with me or agree? You can’t do both.

Appears to be an engineering paper on testing methods of roof components.

[FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]For the frame tested singly [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]it [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]was also necessary [/size][/FONT][size=4][FONT=Times New Roman]to prevent buckling of the collar tie when the frame strength increased beyond approximately 50 [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]psf.[/size][/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman][size=4][/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]This [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]is [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]further evidence that the collar tie should [/size][/FONT][size=4][FONT=Times New Roman]in fact be called a collar strut. [/size][/FONT]**As **[FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]**the collar **[/size][/FONT][size=4][FONT=Times New Roman]**tie always buckled in the same direction because **[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]**of **[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]**its **[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]**eccentric connection to the rafters, it was **[/size][/FONT][size=4][FONT=Times New Roman]necessary to brace it in one direction only. [/size][/FONT]
[size=4][FONT=Times New Roman][/size][/FONT] [size=4][FONT=Times New Roman]This was done by inserting a strut between the collar tie and the loading rig. Because the frames tested in pairs failed at less than 50 [/size][/FONT]psf, [FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]it [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]was not [/size][/FONT][size=4][FONT=Times New Roman]necessary to brace their collar ties.

[FONT=Times New Roman]Strength of Collar-Rafter Joint[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]Some information was also gained on the collar "tie " and [size=4][FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]its [/size][/size][/FONT]connection to the rafters. As in the tests carried out previously on similar frames, [size=4][FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]it [/size][/size][/FONT]was found that except at loads near failure when large deformations had occurred, the collar did not act as a tie but as a strut, thus making [FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]it i[/size][/FONT]able to buckling. This was to be expected with 2- by 4-in. rafters and [FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]it [/size][/FONT]was not surprising that unbraced 2- by 4-in. collars buckled at approximately 50 psf.

On the other hand 2- by 4-in. collars which were braced at their mid-points did not buckle under loads of up t o 120 psf. When failure did occur in the collar, [FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]it [/size][/FONT]was at the collar - rafter connection. Only a few failures occurred at this joint, however, and as a result no general conclusions can be drawn; [FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]it [/size][/FONT]can be said, however, that three through nails provide an adequate joint in frames with four or fewer through nails at the heel joint. Similarly [FONT=Times New Roman][size=4]it [/size][/FONT]appears that five nails are adequate when seven are used at the heel.

Greetings David,

There is no contradiction in my statements…you may be reading more into them however this type of framing was prevalent, being that IF the roof is not sagging and other other adverse events are attributed to the lack of collar ties, than why write it up.

If this particular design is structurally sound for 50 years, explain to me why you want to write it up…because they no longer frame like that today…or better put, it does not meet code requirements today.

If it makes you feel better than certainly write it up but in my opinion which is based upon my experience of these type of homes as well as 30 years of construction / framing experience, I personally would not write it up.

As with any inspector, if I can back up my position to lets say our state board, then I am in the clear…doesn’t mean they have to agree with my position, I just have to be able to back it up…which again comes down to my training and experience.



I never stated “write it up”.

If you read my post #4… I stated

In post #11… I stated

That means, report on type of attic construction, rafter sizes, floor joist sizes, etc.

Please read into posts before making yourself look bad.