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Question DetailsAsked on 11/19/2014

How to repair gap between ridge board and rafter at the roof of my house?

I noticed that some of the rafters of my home are not joined properly to the ridge board/beam. I can see 1/4 to 1/2 inch gap between the ridge board and rafters. on some of rafters the bent nails are also visible through the gap. The gap formation between rafter and ridge board appear to be due to improperly cut length of rafter right from beginning. I have 11 such loose rafters to fix out of 50. My ridge board is single 2x6 wood. All rafters are also 2x6 wood.
I have received suggestions as to buy another 2x6 wood and attach to original rafter by nail and then attach this new rafter to ridge board (11 such loose rafters) by joist hanger and additonally attach joist hanger at all rafters(total 50 rafters) .
My worry is that the ridge board is a single 2x6 and additional nails in the ridge board at every rafter connectivity due to additional joist hanger might weaken the ridge board and it may break in future.

How can such repairs be done? Any Ideas?

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1 Answer


This might or might not be a serious problem, though it does sound like sloppy cutting - most likely with skil saw rather than mitre/chop saw. Or even hand saw if quite old.

I am not going to, sight unseen, advise whether I think this even needs anything done, much less how to remedy it, because the roof slope, roof loading, type of wood, etc all come into the picture - so I am going to advise you have a structural engineer look at it and give you a letter report (with sketch if needed) on what should be done - probably cost $250-500, most likely in lower half unless he sees soemthing that scares him. Other reasons for the structural engineer - will most likely need his design to get a building permit if this is done professionally, and willl be good for the record if you do it yourself, to prove to a home inspector during house sale that therepair was professionally designed and not just a hack job. That could prove quite important come sale time, to deflect a contingency requirement by the buyer that you geat it professionally repaired.

Now - given that I am NOT giving a specific recommendation, I will synopsize the common solutions for this type of issue.

There may not be an issue - because the rafter is (if nailed right) restrained at the top by the sheathing nails into the top of it, and hopefully by the nails into the ridge pole or beam. Because of the opposing forces from both sides, as long as the roof loads are the same on both sides of the ridge pole, there is little tendency of the rafters to come loose - they arem because of the A-frame effect, pushing hard against each other (through the ridge pole), and the resulting friction between the end of the rafter and the ridge pole restrains the rafters - so techincally,in many cases, they would stay in place (though not to be trusted in wind or quake) even without nails. What you want ot ensure is that they stay that way, and do not twist or buckle in place.

Ways to address this, IF considered bad enough to need repair:

1) one by one, use a sawzall and guide piece to trim the rafter ends to the correct angle, and re-toenail or bracket them to the ridge pole

2) use angle pieces or U-hangers with Teco nails to fasten them to the ridge pole - but as you say, with 2x6 ridge pole that does introduce a risk of splitting it a number of places due to all the nails coming into it from both sides. Checking the IRC I did not find this specifically addressed - I suspect it is in the AITC Timber Construction Manual but I do not have the time to dig that out and research it now - sorry. The rafters should be OK because the hangers are made to have the nails go into them from each side, but usually the hangers do not go into both sides of the transverse piece carrying the end - usually one-sided, like at fascia boards or deck ledgers or rim joists. Possibly OK, but I would not stick my neck out on this one. Angle clips/U hangers I am talking about look like these (note prices are per box, not each, before you drop dead) -

(this one is really the one built for your case - see little image showing 2 rafters coming together at ridge pole, below) -

3) use angle pieces or U hangers as above, but tack with removeable Teco nails for alignment only and then drill through for through-bolts holding the brackets on both sides together, so only pass through the ridge pole (and half as many holes per plate) and are not actually holding in the ridge plate.

4) sister up 2x6 pieces along both sides of the ridge pole, nailed or screwed per code throughout their length like for a splice BUT leaving ends of each 16 or 24" piece unnailed, then tying into that part with the angle pieces or U-hangers.

5) I don't remember what they are called, but around here they call them splayed hangers - they are joist hangers that go under the joist, but the legs sply off at about 45 degree angle to each side against the ridge pole or ledger board so the nails into that are away from the end of the joist - used where you have lag bolts though the ledger board where the joists come in and don't want additional fasteners in that area, which is basically your case. They have a rectangular bottom slot, so hold the bottom of the joist from moving either sideways or down, which is probably your primary worry. Here are a couple of very similar ones which would probably work fine, but not as wide a splayed upper legs as the ones I am talking about (which might not be Simpson Strong Tie products, come to think about it)-

The latter (#5) or the LRU212 in #2 is the way I would be leaning, assuming the other conditions are good and the ridge pole wood is in good shape, uysing slightly angled nailing so the nails/screws (which may be easier to install in this tight quarters case) from the two sides do not come together in the same place to slit the wood - combined with hardwood wedges to fit correctly into the gaps to eliminate them. This latter feature is because over time, since only the top tips of the rafters are currently touching the ridge pole and are carrying all the loading, the top of the rafters may start cracking away from the rest and split off, resulting in rafter failures.

Whatever you do, I would do the same thing to all 50 rafters for consistency, even if not strictly needed - will be less likely to catch the eye of an inspector and cause problems. I would say cheap insurance for the extra couple hundred dollars.

It might be a very good idea to contact Simpson Strong Tie about the issue of the nails/screws into the ridge pole and ask their advice, both about the too many fasteners splitting the wood issue,, and also about whether Teco nails or screws would be their recommendation. Remember, if you have ridge vents especially, this is a damp area so any fasteners should be hot dip galvanized at a minimum, if not higher grade like exterior deck fasteners.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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