What's the Difference? Precise Terminology for the Home Inspector
What's the Difference? Precise Terminology for the Home Inspector October Home Inspections 866 628-1084
What’s the Diff? Series
Precise Terminology for the Home Inspector

by Arlene Puentes, October Home Inspections

What's the Difference Between a Ridge Beam and a Ridge Board?

Authoritative references (see the bibliography link, below) are about evenly divided on this one. Some say that the words mean the same thing along with the words ridgepole, ridge piece, ridgeplate and ridgetree.

Others, and I'm partial to this distinction, define a ridge beam as a structural member which is designed to support the roof load and a ridge board as a non-structural board used to connect the upper ends of rafters.

What you need to know: How to identify a structural ridge beam so that you know to carefully inspect for defects and inappropriate alterations to its supports. Rafters are placed on top of the ridge beam, or are hung by metal ridge hangers designed especially for that purpose, or are nailed to blocking which, in turn, is nailed to the ridge beam between rafters. The point is that the rafters are being held up by a structural member, a ridge beam. You'll often see a ridge beam in post and beam construction.

All text and photos © Arlene Puentes
Do not copy


More from the "What's the Diff" Series:

What's the Difference Between:

Cement And Concrete?
Mortar And Concrete?
Masonry And Concrete?
Cinder Blocks and Concrete Blocks?
A Pier and a Post and a Column?
An Adjustable Metal Column and a Lally Column?
A Check and a Crack in a Wood Framing Member?
Yankee Gutters and Built In Gutters?
A Joist and an I-joist?
Stucco and EIFS and Fiber Cement Siding?

Building Science Research and Information

How to Inspect Adjustable Steel Columns

Brick Lined Walls in Wood Framed Homes
co-written with Daniel Friedman.

Are You Being Asked to Agree to an Ineffective Mold Remediation Job?

Home Inspection Tool and Equipment Review

Rite in the Rain Rite in the Rain All-Weather Writing Paper  

Book Reviews

Just Add H2Oh Just Add H2Oh by Dan Holohan  

Spada The Home Inspection Book by Marcia Darvin Spada

Home Inspection Educational Video Review

Mapping a House Mapping A House by Jack Reilly