How to Install a Ridge Cap

No new roof is complete without a new ridge cap. Installing a ridge cap is simple, and doing it yourself can save money. Follow these easy steps to complete your roof.

Tools and Materials

  • Ridge cap shingles
  • Hammer
  • Chalk box
  • Roofing nails
  • Roofing tar, cement or silicone caulk
  • Safety gear

Step 1: Preparation

Always remember to take safety precautions. Doing work on a roof can be very dangerous. First, you must be aware of your roof’s pitch and if it is steep be extremely careful. Also, wear safety gear and make sure not to stand on shingles that are not fastened to the roof.

Before installation, you need to make sure your placement will be correct and uniform. To do this, take two shingles and place one on each far end of your roof ridge. Make sure the shingle is centered so the same length falls on each side. Next, mark where the shingle ends. You should have a mark on each end of your roof. Then, make a line all the way across by snapping a chalk line. Now you have a guideline.

Step 2: Install Shingles

Now that you have your guideline, you can begin installing your ridge cap. Starting on one end of the roof, begin installing your shingles. The shingles should be flush with one another and should line up with your chalk line. As you install your shingles, nail them down in the same way you would regular roofing shingles, but place one nail on each side of the roof. Move along the ridge until you reach the other side. When installing a ridge cap, consider the prevailing wind direction. You do not want the wind to rip any of your shingles lose, so adjust your shingling plan accordingly.

Step 3: Shingling a Ridge with a Vent

If your ridge cap has a vent, the basics remain the same, but instead of working from one side to the other, you work from the ends inward. You still need to follow the chalk line and make sure the shingles are flush with one another. To avoid leaks, shingle at least 6 inches into the area where the vent will be. Once the ridge vent is installed, the shingling process is the same, but with longer nails to ensure the shingles are attached to the roof and not just the vent.

Step 4: Cover Nails

Because there are no shingles to cover your ridge, the nails will remain visible. You want to cover them thoroughly with a small amount of roofing tar. This is to protect against the weather. If you do not add the tar, your roof ridge life may be shortened and the roof can leak. Also, if you are not using roofing tar, you can use roofing cement or silicone caulk. For lighter colored shingles, try using clear exterior silicone caulk. Once all your nails are covered, make sure you clear any debris from the roof, so it doesn't interfere with water run off.