Getting A New Roof Installed? Don't Forget The Ridge Caps

You're getting a new roof installed. That's great, but don't forget about those all-important ridge lines and caps. Considered a finishing touch both cosmetically and practically, ridge caps help keep your home snug, warm and dry. Though these caps are one of the sturdiest parts of a roof, time and weather eventually take their toll, making it necessary to repair or replace them. Knowing the basics about ridge lines and caps can help you communicate more effectively with your professional roofing contractor, someone like Trinity Contracting & Construction.  Of course, your roofer will most likely be the one to bring up the subject.

Ridge Lines Explained

Ridge lines are formed where the tops of sloping roofs meet. Most roofs have at least one. One exception is flat-topped roofs, which are all one section. In the case of more exotic roofs, like on Victorian homes, you may have several ridge lines to contend with. Each dormer window has a peaked roof, creating a ridge line. Some turret roofs are made up of individual triangle-shaped pieces. You could end up with half-a-dozen ridge lines to deal with on each turret. As an example, if you fold a piece of paper in half, open the ends and stand it up on the two open "legs," like a tent, the center fold becomes the ridge line. Fold a second piece of paper and stand it up at a 90 degree angle to the first "tent" and you've created a structure with a second ridge line.

About Those Ridge Caps

Ridge caps are specially formed shingles or fixtures that fit over the ridge lines on a roof. The simplest ridge caps are typically made with asphalt shingles. Once the roofer works up the sides of the roof to the top, the shingles meet at the ridge line and usually overlap. The installer then puts a row of trimmed asphalt shingles over the ridge cap to give the roof a finished look and added protection against wind, rain and snow. An open space is left along the length of each ridge cap.  The ends of the ridge line are covered with slatted covers or screens. Together these two features help provide attic ventilation.

Modern Day Ridge Capping Options

Factory shaped ridge caps are also available, sometimes made of aluminum, copper or plastic in addition to the asphalt. The more modern ridge capping materials tend to be lighter but are often more efficient than their predecessors. Custom designed pre-fabricated roof caps insure an exact fit, making the ridge line more leak resistant. Their lengthwise vents, or baffling, is also more uniform, increasing efficiency. A pre-fabricated plastic or metal ridge cap vent, which is shaped like an inverted "V," is nailed over the ridge line. These sit slightly above the ridge line with the edges pointing downward. The baffling allows air to escape along the ridge line without the risk of rain and snow creeping in. Mesh screens are sometimes added to help keep bugs out.