How to attach rafters to a ridge board

Updated March 23, 2017

A well-constructed roof system is essential to a structurally sound building. Roof rafters run from the ridge board that runs along the centre of the building to the top plates of the exterior walls. They support the roof decking and shingles and transfer the load down toward the foundation. Rafters vary in length based on the width of the house and the slope of the roof. Given the roof's importance to structural integrity, roof framing is best left to professional carpenters or experienced do-it-yourselfers.

Mark the required angle, using the carpenter's square, on the rafter end to be attached to the ridge board. The roof's slope determines the cut angle and can be found on the building plans.

Hold the end of the rafter against the ridge board. The acute end of the rafter should be even with the top edge of the ridge, and the bottom should be two inches above the bottom edge of the ridge.

Nail the rafter to the ridge with nails angled through the side of the rafter and into the ridge. Nail the opposite end of the rafter to the top plate of the exterior wall.

Things You'll Need

  • Carpenter's square
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • Circular saw
  • Nail gun
  • 16d framing nails
  • Safety goggles
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About the Author

Robert C. Young began writing professionally in 1989 as a copywriter for an advertising specialty company. From 2000 to 2007 he operated a real-estate development and construction company. His work has been published online at SFGate and various other websites. He graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in economics from Georgia State University.