Q&A / 

Valley Rafter Video

Hi, I am Tim Carter, from AsktheBuilder.com. I am on a new construction site in New Hampshire. I want to show you something that you rarely get to see from this vantage point.

I'm up on top of a second story wall, balancing myself so I can show you a valley rafter, as it is being constructed. Check this out. This is common roof framing that is being done. Not roof trusses. Look at this. What you see is the main ridge beam of this house. It goes the entire length of the house. Coming off this main beam is another ridge beam. The point is where these two ridge beams intersect, you have to have a valley rafter. In this case, there are actually two, doubled up.

Here's the valley rafter coming down from the ridge beam and rest on the wall. The reason for two rafters is because it is acting as a giant beam. Here is what valley rafters do. See the little rafters between the ridge beam and the valley rafter? They all connect to the valley rafter at a very unusual cut. It is a compound cut of that rafter. Not only is the cut at a vertical angle, but also a 45 degree cut the other direction. This is called a cheek cut on the rafter where it intersects the valley. In this case, it is a gorgeous cut. You can't even get a piece of paper in there. Since it is cut at two angles, it is called a compound cut.

The valley rafter takes all the weight from the two sides of the roof. Second side of the rafters have not been installed yet. So valley rafters are very, very important. They are a little tough to put in. Probably not something a do-it-yourselfer will get right the first time.


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