Common Roof Framing MistakesDIY Home Repairs and Improvement Projects

Common Roof Framing MistakesDIY Home Repairs and Improvement Projects

If you plan to frame your own roof, the information in this article could save you time, effort, and money.  When the appropriate tools and materials are used, and the process completed right, this type of job is not overly complicated.  However, understanding common roof framing mistakes would allow you to avoid making them as you move forward in framing your own home.  While mistakes require extra time to fix, the types of mistakes done most often are actually very expensive.  Therefore, it makes perfect sense to learn all you can about both the dos and don’ts of framing a roof.

All roofs share common components and serve the same purpose but of course, framing is unique to each type of roof.  Because of this, you want to learn about common roof framing mistakes for your specific type of roof but for sake of example, we wanted to use a gable roof to show you some of the errors that people often make.  This particular type of roof has two faces that come together at a ridge running the entire length of the home.  Studs used for gable roofs are vertical, which must be placed between the main frame’s top plate and the rater.  For the collar, this runs horizontally a little ways from the lower part of the ridge board and the rafters.

With this structure understood, the following are some of the common roof framing mistakes that do-it-yourselfers tend to make.  Remember, if uncomfortable with framing your own roof, it would be wise to seek help from a friend or family member who understands the process or spend the money to hire a contractor for the entire job or to assist with the more complex processes.

•    Nails – Most people give little thought to the importance of nails used for framing a roof but keep in mind these small pieces of metal are responsible for holding flashing, shingles, rubber, and other materials securely in place.  Often, people use nails made of the wrong material, the wrong size, or nails designed for an entirely different purpose.  If the right roof framing nails are not used, they cannot sustain load.  With this, shingles, flashing, and other materials become loose at the corners, providing the perfect opening for moisture.

Common Roof Framing MistakesDIY Home Repairs and Improvement Projects

•    Rafter Line Length – Another one of the more common roof framing mistakes has to do with improper length.  For the line length, it must be the same as the rafters after being cut to size.  Because rafters are cut in a parallelogram shape prior to installation, it is imperative that the line length be measured from the top edge to the top edge on the opposite end.  Unless this measurement is precise, fit to the ridge board would be off, causing all types of issues.

•    Roof Pitch – Sometimes, trying to determine the roof pitch can be a challenge but this information is essential to know.  Remember, when talking about pitch, this could be in inches or in fractions.  Usually, people with little experience make mistakes specific to pitch measurement.  If the numbers are not calculated correctly, the entire framing project would be off.

•    Mouth Cut – Known as the “bird’s mouth cut”, this two-sided cut needs to be made so it goes toward the bottom end of the rafter.  If the cut were incorrect, the rafter would not fit securely in place on the top plate.  As another of the most common roof framing mistakes made, you want to make sure the cut’s angle is measured in connection to the ridge board’s height, as well as the rafter’s length.  If not, the entire piece of lumber would be wasted.


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