How to Make Ridge Caps for Cedar Shingles

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Resistant to harsh weather, from hurricanes to heavy rains and snowstorms, cedar wood roofs provide a beautiful cap to a home. They are energy efficient and provide better natural insulation over their flat and common asphalt counterparts. Premade ridge caps are readily available on the market. They are also easy and inexpensive to make on your own using remnants of the shingles you used on the roof.

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How a Roof Is Constructed

The roof has a deck, usually made of ½-inch plywood, that makes the foundation and the structure of the roof. This is also the nail bed where the shingles will be applied. The roof edge is created by the edge of the shingles or eaves.

The attic under the roof structure provides ventilation that prevents the roofing from expanding because of too much heat in the summer, as well as releasing moist air in the winter that gathers from the heat that collects inside the house and rises. Vents in the roof structure allow the attic to be effective in its ventilation.

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The saddle is the areas around chimneys or other roof protrusions that keeps water from getting inside the roof or house. The horizontal line at the top of the roof is called the ridge and the valley is the angle that runs along the junction of a roof with two slopes. An underlay membrane made of synthetic fabric or a saturated felt protects the shingles from the decking. Shingles offer character and a final layer of protection.

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Best Time to Do Roof Projects

The best time to replace a roof is during the warm spring and summer months. The heat from the sun assists the shingles in bonding together rather than shrinking from the effects of cold weather. Adhesives prefer warm weather, as well, although roof repairs can be done all year long with weather considerations. Any time of year, make sure you have a steady ladder and secure place to install shingles or ridge caps when working on a roof. Gloves and protective eyewear are also highly recommended for keeping injuries to a minimum when working on a roof.

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Installing a Ridge Cap on a Cedar Shingle Roof

To create the ridge cap, you need to cut a sufficient number of shakes to cover the ridge into 4-inch squares and nail them together to form a series of V-shapes that will fit over the ridge.That means beveling the edges of half of them to the same angle as the roof pitch, placing the other half flush on the bevels and nailing them together with galvanized finish nails.

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Overlap these on the ridge starting on the side opposite the direction of the prevailing wind. Nail the first one in place with 4 roofing nails, then place the second one so it overlaps the pair of nails farthest from the end of the roof and nail it in place. Lay the entire ridge like this, then cover all exposed nail heads with roofing tar.

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