Ridge beam sizing


Old 07-14-14, 10:54 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: NZ
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Ridge beam sizing

Hi Guys,

I am designing a small strawbale cottage with a sleeping loft in it. Here's a sketchup model of the building as it stands so far. The ridge of the roof would span 5.5m (18 foot) and the loft spans approximately half of the building - so 2.75m (9 foot).Name:  Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 5.51.45 PM.jpg
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I'm a little bit stuck on what to do with the roof... i haven't done much roof building before.

I've been thinking about putting a ridge beam in there to get maximum height in the loft. But I wasn't sure what size ridge beam would I use for this span. There are no snow loads or anything like that to deal with.

I was also thinking that perhaps it would be more of a ridge board (ie: non-structural) because the loft joists tie the building together and stop the walls from spreading. If this is the case then I could use anything, like a 2 by 4 as the ridge board perhaps. Is my thinking correct on this?

Any feedback on the above would be awesome.
Thanks guys.
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Old 08-09-14, 02:46 PM
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 8
Are you building a gable roof? If so and you're using 2 x 6 rafters, you would use a 1 x 6 as your ridge board. If you're using 2 x 8 rafters, use a 1 x 8 ridge board, etc.
Old 08-10-14, 11:34 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
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If you have a steep roof pitch you may want to consider a wider ridge beam to get full contact with the mitred rafter top cut.
Old 08-10-14, 11:42 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 9,996
The question I have is the open area not above the loft. The loft joists as I read it will not be over some open area. That open area may be subject to spreading. In that case the ridge beam (at least over the open area) should be substantial and supported well on each end.

Old 08-10-14, 09:21 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 3,196
A few well-placed collar ties on alternating pairs of rafters should adequately address the walls' spreading. Along with providing handy locations for suspending light fixtures and/or ceiling fans.

But I have to ask--why use a wall material that's prone to burning and being eaten by critters, when rammed earth would be just as economical without having the foregoing drawbacks?

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