ridge board smaller than rafters

Since this ridge spanned only about 8-9’ is it going too far in calling it out?



From those pictures, it looks to me that the ridge board is the same dimension timber as the rafters. The rafters were cut at an angle, not 90 degrees so there will be some “extra” hanging off. The hypotenuse of the angle will be a greater length than the with of the board. Of course if the pictures are missleading, then I don’t know the answer.

I’m thinking that the pics are misleading. I should have been clearer on my question as well. Do you think that such a short span (8-9’) is going to have any structural effect on the home?

The ridge should be the same size as the length of the rafter cut. Usually if the rater is 2X8 then a 2X10 is used for the ridge. I’ve seen building inspectors make builder rip some 2X stock down to fill the gap or add plywood gusset plates to connect the front rafter to the rear.

I would make a note of it in your report and let the client decide.

Richard, a simple fix would be to add colar ties but I would defer it to a qualified framing contractor.

You are talking code violations here…which we typically don’t do unless it adversely affects the home.

In regards to ridge boards, their thickness must at least be 3/4 of an inch…and the bottom of the ridge board should be equal or greater than the bottom cut of the rafter…you are probably lacking about 1 inch or so…would I call it out…nope. I look at things logically…sometimes building inspectors don’t.

Theoretically it helps with uplift but then again, that is what collar ties are for.

Again, its not an issue with me… I can find more nailing / fastening violations if I want to go that far.


Actually, depending on the pitch, a ridge board may not be a requirement at all. Sometimes, simple plywood is installed in place of a traditional ridge. Sometimes there’s no ridge.

Yes, that is correct when using a gusset plate…but in such cases one needs to pay attention to the fastening requirements. Also, pitch has nothing to do with it…as along as everything is properly tied together and braced.


Pitch has EVERYTHING to do with it, as low sloping roofs require the ridge beam to help carry the load of the timber. Fasteners have little to do with it.

I once thought as you did, and when I called the exact things out on an inspection, I received a call from a structural engineer who, rather abruptly, explained in no uncertain terms 1) that I was incorrect, 2) WHY I was incorrect, and 3) that I had neither the education or design-load experience to quantify my statements. He warned that, under NY State law, I was entering the arena of the unlicensed practice of professional engineering. He went on to say that my comments were the reason many engineers have a real problem with home inspectors.

You really need to speak to an architect or engineer about this. Like me at one time early in my career, your comments are unfounded and inaccurate.

Here’s an example: Please explain one of your earlier comments regarding a ridge beam playing a part in uplift.

A ridge beam and a ridge board are two different things.

2006 IRC.****
**- R802.3 Framing details. **
Rafters shall be framed to ridge board or to each other with a gusset plate as a tie. Ridge board shall be at least 1-inch (25 mm) nominal thickness and not less in depth than the cut end of the rafter. At all valleys and hips there shall be a valley or hip rafter not less than 2-inch (51 mm) nominal thickness and not less in depth than the cut end of the rafter. Hip and valley rafters shall be supported at the ridge by a brace to a bearing partition or be designed to carry and distribute the specific load at that point. Where the roof pitchis less than three units vertical in 12 units horizontal (25-percent slope), structural members that support rafters and ceiling joists, such as ridge beams, hips and valleys, shall be designed as beams.

I see no problem with the picture of that 12/12 pitched roof.
It is not going anywhere.
A ridge board is not required for stick built roofs. It does simplify installation and a minimum of a 1" board would be required.

The standard in the building industry today is as Peter Russel stated, a 2x that has enough vertical deminsion for the plumb cut of the rafter.
It has also been seen to off-set the rafters to allow face nailing in lieu of toenailing. All depends on the builder. :slight_smile:

This discussion is OLD.

Marcel was right then, and now.

No requirement.
Design professional makes the call.
AJH aproves or denies.
Period, end of support.

LAteral support comes from sheathing.
Uplift is poo-poo.

Do us a favor: STOP reading codes. STOP applying codes. We are home inspectors; NOT code officials.

You beat me to the punch…:wink:

Most people use the terms interchangeably…which they are not.
Ridge beam is a structural member…a ridge board is not.
Think post timber construction.

Rafters can be placed on top of a ridge beam…but can not be placed on top of a ridge board.

Gusset plates can be used in place of a ridge board but can not be used where a ridge beam is required…different type of tie (engineered) is required.

Joe, I don’t think I am wrong about the low pitch in regards to the use of ridge boards however I would be interested in any documentation you may be aware of. The sentence of 802.3 state that structural members…and then state ridge beam…not ridge board.

Either way, as I and others have pointed out, its beyond the scope of a home inspection.



On that point, we can clearly agree…

Some of us may be both.:mrgreen:

This question comes up on a fairly regular basis. On a roof like that shown, the ridge board is only a convenient way to nail rafters together. The opposing rafters support themselves. As usual, Marcel got it right.

You may be an AHJ, and you may be a home inspector. Holding dual roles, however, may carry a nasty bit of liability.