Unusual “rafter tie”

I was helping a friend out this evening and saw this as his ceiling joist/ rafter tie assembly.

The rafter is seated on top of the ceiling joist and there is a 2x4 plate running parallel to join them together.

He said it needed to be done this way

because the insulation needed to go over the top plate and have no compression. Does this make sense?

Has anyone seen something like this and is this a concern? I’m ignorant of the engineering of this and want to help him not have his roof fall down.

Any help or advice is greatly appreciated

Specified by the Truss Engineer.

That’s a stick built roof so the large ceiling rafters indicate a room is planned for that upper space. Placing the rafters on top of the ceiling joists raises the ceiling height may be a reason. Not much to go by based on one picture.

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In snow country, I’d be concerned with that configuration. That’s a hand framed rafter system and unconventional connection method between the rafter and the ceiling joist. The 2 x 4 tie between the ceiling joist and rafter appears weak and unable to resist outward thrust from the rafter. Yes, there is a need for a raised heel for insulation, but there is also a need for good structure. Evaluation by an engineer or experienced builder is warranted.

I agree with Mike…

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Modern trusses use (truss) gang nail plates for good reasons. We are likely talking about the shear strength of 80+ nails with two nail plates (both sides) versus about 10 total on average I see in the picture. I seriously doubt this roof was engineered. So, in a report I would recommend that it be evaluated by qualified professional. It it was a friend, I would tell them to order and install appropriately-sized gang nail plates (both sides, of course), along with appropriately-sized hurricane ties.


It’s a raised heel. If a ridge beam was installed, no problem. Otherwise, the 2x4 rafter/ceiling joist ties and their nailing schedule need to be approved by AHJ/SE.

Do you have any more pictures Matthew?

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I concur…