What is a Ridge Board?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Ridge boards are boards that serve as part of the support system for roofs on many types of buildings. Specifically, the ridge board is a section of solid timber or metal that is positioned horizontally along the line of the ridge of the roof. The rafters and trusses that are part of the overall roof structure are connected along the body of the ridge board, helping to create a durable framework that protects the rooms of the structure underneath.

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

Positioned along the peak or ridge of the roof, the ridge board must be composed of strong materials that can aid in balancing the stress on the rafters that are connected on either side of the board as it runs horizontally along the top of the house or other building. The pitch or angle of the ridge depends on the length of the rafters that run from the building proper up to the position of the ridge board. Trimming the rafters to size makes it possible to create a very high peak, or one that is relatively short.

While the main function of the ridge board is to connect the rafters into a cohesive framework that is capable of supporting a roof, the dimensions of the board can also aid in creating a certain degree of visual interest in the roofline of the home. A basic board would be narrow enough to allow the roof to come to a perfect peak, while a board that is somewhat broader would make it possible to create a flat area at the very top of the roofline. This in turn would make it possible to include a feature known as a crow’s nest on the very top of the structure while still making it possible to enjoy the advantages of an angled roof structure.

Along with the rafters, a ridge board is generally not left exposed. Once the panels used to create the roof are secured in place, shingles or other roofing materials are used to cover the area, up to and including the peak. Even when a flat board is used in the roof design, shingles are often used to cover the area immediately around the board, then some type of waterproof materials are put in place to protect the board from constant exposure to the elements.

In the past, the ridge board was normally composed of hard wood that had been cured to resist deterioration. Today, the board may actually be composed of metals, with the trusses or rafters connected with the use of rivets rather than nails. With either application, the board continues to be a basic element in the creation of an angled roofline, and the determination of the degree of pitch that is incorporated into that design.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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