Ridge Board....What's That?

It still can be found. I own several copies. It was my bible for the early days of my building career. I always preferred cut rafters to trusses. Problem nowadays is that very few carpenters know how to cut rafters, and to use the book which, by the way, is very easy to understand and use. There has never been a better rafter book written.

The supposed roof supports are actually only siding nailers. The gable end is non load bearing for all practical purposes. The only way you would support at the ends is with a structural ridge. Certainly not necessary in this situation.


I agree.

Marcel:) :slight_smile:

King post and gable end studs, not structural other than as you said, nailer’s for the sheathing and siding.

One of the first things my Grandfather taught me was how to read and use a rafter square. That knowledge has seen me through many a roof over the years. Most carpenters today do not even know that a rafter square exists.
I too learned how to cut a roof on the ground and pass the pieces up and have them fit. Marcel, I would like to get a copy of that guide and can’t find one up here in the great white north.


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**Full Length Roof Framer (Library Binding) **
by A. F. Riechers (Author) “First determine the pitch and then the span of the rafters…” (more)
**Key Phrases: **common rafter span, rafter seat cut, rafters overhang, Jack Rafters, Span Length Span Lgth, Under Span (more…)

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Larry, are you all set with what Roy sent you??

Did you ever see a wish list that long in Jargon before, ha. ha.

Marcel :slight_smile: :stuck_out_tongue: :wink:

I dont need that BOOK…I got you guys to ask…:slight_smile:

Ain’t the truth what a great BB and wonderfull help in all directions .
I am so glad to be a small part of this .
Roy Cooke

Just to clarify “Collar Ties” are smaller members installed up higher on the rafters (top 1/3 of the roof), usually every 2nd or 3rd rafter, and the only real purpose of these is to keep the rafters from lifting apart at the top in high winds. In older framing sometimes just plywood gusset plates were used where the rafters meet in lieu of collar ties.

“Collar Ties” are NOT very effective at preventing rafter spread, even if installed at every rafter and bolted. In fact this can actually cause excessive rafter bending, in addition to rafter spread, if rafters are not bumped up in size (see attached diagram).

True “Rafter Ties” to help prevent rafter spreading are larger members installed at every rafter down low (bottom 1/3 of the roof). Usually the ceiling joists act as the rafter ties, with fairly heavy nailing at both the rafter/joist and joist/joist splice connections (see attached diagram).

Even rafter ties in the bottom 1/3 can be problematic if not connected adequately (no … a handful of 10d nails doesn’t work). Actually current construction standards (e.g. IRC R802.3) require a structural ridge where there are no ceiling joist parallel to the rafters at the wall top plate level, with adequate connections.

Paul … If you see no rafter spread (sagging ridge, bowed outside walls, or rafter dishing near the middle) then maybe the ceiling joists are running parallel to the rafters and connected together … forms kind of like a large triangular truss.

However, it is considered good practice to also have either collar ties or gusset plates at the top to help prevent the top of the rafters from coming apart in high winds … especially if there is no ridge board with rafter toenails into the ridge plate. This becomes essential in higher wind areas.

JMO & 2-nickels … :wink:


David, don’t ceiling joists running parrallel to, and fastened to, the rafters effectively serve as collar ties? Collar ties are designed to prevent the spread of the rafters, and the joists serve that purpose if properly tied in. The collar tie is supposed to be in the bottom 1/3 of the rafter, and that’s exactly where the joist is. That’s my understanding of it.

If I did’t see any signs of sagging, separation, etc., I think I’d just recommend monitoring due to the lack of a ridge board, which is designed only to provide restraint. I’d hesitate to recommend modifications to a roof system where I didn’t see any problem.

Rafter Ties are different from Collar Ties (see my previous post).

If there are no collar ties or ridge board to toe nail rafters into, it is considered good practice to install gusset plates or top straps at the rafter butt connection (required in high wind areas).

JMO & 2-nickels … :wink:

Collar ties are usually placed in the upper third of the roof. Collar ties are not meant to prevent the horizontal spreading of the rafters or act like rafter ties.

They are intended to prevent uplift from wind and really nothing more.
Rafter ties, which can be ceiling joists are placed near the bottom of the rafter and help to prevent the horizontal spreading of the rafters .

I have always gone by the rule of thumb that the collar tie needs to be 1/3 the legnth of the rafter and that is short point to short point.

IE. if you have a 24 foot rafter on a 12 pitch the collar tie should be 8ft from the short point of the 45 degree angle.

I agree completely with both posts. And…the primary purpose of a ridge board (not to be confused with a structural ridge) is to provide something to nail the top of the rafter to. It has no structural significance.

Well… the ridge does support the top edges of the roof sheathing at the peak, between rafters. More important now that we use plywood instead of boards for sheathing. It also provides something solid to nail the top of the barge rafter or fascia to at the rake (gable).