Is a ridge beam necessary for a small shed roof?


A ridge board isn't a "beam", per se. It's often just a nice way to bring the rafters together. A proper beam would have a supporting post at each end.

You don't need a ridge beam, but you do need a way to keep the walls from spreading. This can be accomplished with "collar ties", boards spanning the shed at ceiling height, or with large gussets further up the rafter slope. One collar tie would be enough in your case.

I built my 12x10 shed by using 4' by ~18" OSB gussets at the peak of each 2x4 rafter set, essentially resulting in a truss, which proved very solid:


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I assume from your description that your are stick framing (ie not using trusses, and not with any ceiling joists.

The short answer to your question is "maybe", but probably not. The answer to the question depends on the expected wind and snow loads in your area, the species of the wood you plan on using, whether it's normal dimensional lumber, or a laminated beam.

My best advice is to find the permitting authority for your area (typically either the city or building department), and go in and talk with an inspector. They can give you a much more definitive answer than you can get from us, and you can be more confident in it. If you are in an area where that is difficult, the best answer I can give you is that a single 2x10 may work if you have very light loading, but I would be more comfortable with a doubled 2x10 instead. I tend towards overbuilding in cases like this, and the cost of a doubled 2x10 in cost and effort it minimal.

Note that with a ridge beam,...

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How can i access date from on click of Done button in my action sheet of a DatePicker:

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Member # Posted: 3 Dec 2013 06:00

My daughter is asking me to build her a 12x16 cabin with a sleeping loft over a porch on the gable end.............old western style cabin.

My experieince is limted to having built an 8x12 chcken coop using roof trusses that I built on site. I have no experieince with ridge beam construction.

Four questions:

-is this too complex for a 72 year old novice w an 18 year old helper?

- are rafters connected to ridge beam w metal Simson connectors? Rafters and wall studs will be 16" OC

- I am thinking of T&G pine planks for aesthetic reasons insead of plywood for the roof which will be covered with asphalt shingle. Strong enough?

- Do I need to use 2x6 rafters or will 2x4 suffice. To be constructed in a no snow area in Los gatos California

Your suggestions appreciated

Member # Posted: 3 Dec 2013 07:19 - Edited by: VTweekender

I would...

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Framing in a ridge beam in shed roof construction is not hard. Here's a picture of a gable style shed using a ridge beam.

Now if you have done any looking around this site, you'll quickly see that I am not a fan of using a ridge beam in shed construction. I always, always build trusses. Its the way I was trained to build sheds.

I am not saying it's the best way, I just know how to build sheds better by using trusses for my shed roof construction.

By the way, if you would like to see how I build shed roofs with trusses, check out the following link: How to Build a shed roof.

I can't ever recall seeing a saltbox shed built with a ridge beam, or even a gambrel roof shed for that matter. Come to think of it, the only style shed I can see that would be easy to use a ridge beam is the gable style shed.

Leave ridge beam for shed construction page.

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How to build a roof? Well it is quite easy if you follow a few simple basic rules of good construction techniques and safety. Depending upon what you are roofing, the steps can be quite different Let’s start with a small shed project. A very quick roof can be installed using sheets of fiberglass panels. These panels vary in width but the most common sizes are twenty-four and thirty inch wide panels. Thirty six inch panels are available at some retailers as well. Lengths are generally twelve feet but eight foot and ten foot long sheets are also available.

Standard framing will consist of multiple rafters and a ridge beam. A much quicker frame is to use a shed style framing system especially when you are just learning how to build a roof. This requires no ridge beam, can be installed by one person and with no ridge is less costly as well. It is desirable to obtain a four on twelve slope for your roof. That means the roof will drop from the high side to the low side by four...

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It's nice, but anything over 200 sq ft and I have to pull a permit and put it on a foundation....$$$

This started out as me wanting a $200 steel garden shed, then I upped it to a wooden shed kit...then I was going to have a guy build the thing...
Eventually it turned into a concrete slab with electrical conduit, 40 amp service, and me building the thing myself
When it's all said and done, I think I will have 5 grand into it between the materials, contractor pouring a slab and the electrical work...

I live in a high desert and am lucky to get an inch of snow in the winter...and not much rain in the sumer...
Go 30 miles north and a few thousand feet in elevation and that all changes...

I am leaning towards doing a ridge beam two 12 ft lengths of 2X8 but spliced together with a 2 ft long piece of 1" plywood on both sides.
2x6's for the rafters, 24" on center, 4/12 pitch...use 2x4's for the joists...
I put a grapevine request out for a...

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When a deck builder first starts building porch enclosures, most of the details are already familiar. Porch floors are framed just like decks, with perhaps a little additional structural reinforcement; most "walls" are essentially vertical columns with trim and sometimes screen or glass enclosures for bug and weather protection. Porch roofs, however, are quite different from what deck builders normally encounter, and roof types, structural aspects, and framing details can vary widely with each porch project.

My company builds about 25 porches a year, and in this article I'll describe how we approach the design and construction of their roofs. We primarily build gable or shed roofs, as they are easier to construct with the vaulted interior finishes that our clients prefer. We reserve hip roofs for detached porch structures, where they make more structural and aesthetic sense.

Limiting Factors

I start by looking at the house from the side that the porch will...

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It's time to build the roof of your tiny house! Follow these simple, illustrated instructions.

October 2014

By the Editors of Skills Institute Press

Good things do come in small packages. Just ask internationally recognized small living expert, Jay Shafer. Ranging in size from 100 to 120 square feet, Jay Shafer's DIY Book of Backyard Sheds & Tiny Houses (Skills Institute Press LLC, 2013) features beautiful small houses can be used as guest cottages, art or writing studios, home offices, craft workshops, vacation retreats or a full-time residence. Whatever your building goal, this book will teach you how to plan and build your structure from the ground up. The following excerpts from chapter four, "How to Build a Tiny House," walks you through building the roof of your tiny house.

You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: Jay Shafer’s DIY Book of Backyard Sheds & Tiny Houses.

Looking for other steps? Check them out in How to Build a Tiny...

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Add 2x8's to each existing rafter, sistered from wall to ridge beam and nailed 2 nails every 12". If the ceiling is open this should be a pretty easy fix.
If you really want to toughen it up you could then add one 2x8 rafter between the two like you mention to bring the spacing down to 12" on center.

What about the other side of the cottage ? If your going to replace the shingles that would be a great time to do the same on that side just from the exterior.

Just for info. sake 2x4's with a snow load of 30 are allowed to span 5'7" on 24" centers, not even close to your 10'
2x8's with same loading are allowed up to a max. span of 11' 6"

It would work out much cheaper, quicker and easier to add 2x8's rather than cutting 3/4" ply, gluing and...

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In theory the ridge will be supporting half the roof, say 16 by 40, which is 540 square feet, times oh, 40 lbs/foot snow-wind loading, which is coincidentally 540 pounds per lineal foot of beam loading. I haven't really considered the pitch of the roof, since I am a rank amateur.

I suspect that you may have excellent access to extension service literature on things such as panel-lumber beams built of dimensional lumber and plywood.

The reall challenge is that 40 foot freespan in combination with the 540 pounds lineal load. Don't take my word on that 540 figure, since I don't have access to what your local authorities like as wind/snow loadings.

I have tables of panel-lumber beams and 540 over that distance will be a challenge for any material easily transported. I myself have spent little time looking at warehouse ceilings, but ridge beam and rafter constructs have limits. Perhaps best to consider a shed roof with rafters and purlins.


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