What Are Ridge Cap Shingles
I was helping a relative shingle his shed roof last summer, but he wasnt sure how to use his shingles on the ridge of his shed. He didnt know that there are ridge cap shingles that are specifically used only for roofing a ridge.
Ridge cap shingles are shingles specially designed to fit over the ridge of a roof. They are often pre-bent and thicker than regular roof shingles. Ridge cap shingles resemble a single tab from a standard roof shingle and install by overlapping one another from one end of the ridge to the other.
Most shingle manufacturers make ridge cap shingles to go with their standard shingles. While these shingles are commonly found in asphalt roofing applications, they also exist for other types of roofing materials, such as metal, rubber, tile, and more.
In this article, well cover what ridge shingles do, where they go on a roof, and how they differ from standard shingles in terms of look and installation.
Can You Use Architectural Shingles For Ridge Cap
Architectural or dimensional shingles are highly resistant to weather elements and offer great protection to roof decks and ridge while enhancing the look and style. The ridge is a highly visible component of a buildings construction and should highlight the roof. Using the same type of shingles for the ridge cap as are on the rest of the roof deck blends and provides a uniform finished look to the roof.
Laminated architectural shingles are thicker than regular 3-tab shingles and more difficult to cut and form to the ridge. However, they can be shaped on-site to wrap the ridge, or special ridge shingles offered by most manufacturers can be used. The traditional method used with 3-tab shingles to form ridge shingles works for most dimensional shingles.
Some laminate shingles, such as Cambridge shingles are thicker and the tabs dont bend over hips and ridges easily and may crack or break. Depending on the slope of the roof decks, roofers may prefer to use more expensive pre-formed ridge shingles that match or use the thinner, non-tab part of the shingle to craft a matching ridge shingle.
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What Is A Ridge Cap
A ridge cap is used to cover and close the seam where two roof slopes meet to form a ridge or roof apex. It prevents moisture from leaking in and causing damage and helps prevent wind damage too. It is the last part of the roof covering to be completed and caps a gable or hip roof. Roofs that do not have two or more decks meeting to form a ridge or hip do not require a ridge cap.
Most shingle roofs have a ridge cap made of overlapping shingle tabs cut from roofing shingles. They wrap the ridge and cover nail heads holding the top course or row of shingles on both sides of the ridge. Roof peak shingles are also offered by some manufacturers as an alternative to those crafted onsite. The ridge cap may be made in sections on the ground and installed or formed shingle by shingle on the roof.
A ridge cap made of metal and colored to match roofing material is commonly used with metal roofing. Metal ridge caps frequently are 10-6 long sections that overlap 6 and span the length of the ridge to seal out the weather. They are formed to fit the ridge and roofing profile and are also available in vented formats.
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Installing Ridge Cap Shingles From 3 And 4
The installation of makeshift ridge cap shingles from a standard tab-type shingle is just the same as above, but the tricky part can be cutting the shingle to make a ridge shingle.
To cut a ridge cap shingle from a 3 or 4-tab shingle, youll use your shingle cutter a hook-shaped blade placed in your utility knife to cut apart each tab.
When cutting a tab, you dont want to make square or rectangular pieces. If you do, it will be difficult to hide the top part of the shingle when you begin to overlap them. Instead, when cutting the top not visible part of the shingle for your ridge cap, youll want to cut inward about 30 degrees or so to make tapered ends.
To make the tapered ends for a ridge cap shingle, lay a 3-tab shingle right side up flat on the ground with the tabs facing you. Between each tab, youll cut a letter V, with the point of the V at the beginning of the tab. Your cuts will go out and away from you. Youll also have to cut the ends in the same fashion, but since they are the ends theyll only need one cut.
A tapered end will ensure that the back ends of your DIY ridge cap shingles are hidden. Avoid cutting too great of an angle on your ridge shingles because the hidden portion of your ridge shingle anchors it securely with nails to the roof and the shingle behind it.
Three Tab Shingles Compared To Laminated Shingles
The process to install ridge cap shingles has changed because roofing market trends have favored a new type of shingle. Three-tab shingles are easy to cut into strips to create a ridge cap, but now roofers and homeowners largely prefer laminated shingles.
Rob Davidson, Vice-President of Residential Sales for IKO Canada, explains why: When I started with IKO over 20 years ago, three-tab shingles were the most common shingle installed. Since that time, laminated shingles have steadily grown in popularity and are now the dominant shingle style by far. Homeowners love their dimensional random appearance, and contractors like their ease of installation.
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How To Cut Architectural Shingles For A Ridge Cap
The traditional method of cutting 3-tab shingles along tab lines and using them to form 12×12 ridge shingles works for most dimensional shingles. The tabbed third is bent over the ridge to overlap the top course of shingles of opposing decks and nailed into place. Ridge shingles overlap like feathers with 5 to 6 of the colored tab portion exposed to match and blend with the roof.
Most laminated shingles can be cut into thirds like 3-tab shingles and are pliable enough to form over ridges and hips. If the shingles are 12 wide by 36 long there will be three 12 x12 ridge shingles, 13-1/4 by 39-3/8 produce three 13-1/4 x 13-1/8 sections, and 13-1/4 by 40-7/8 become 13-1/4 x 13-5/8 or 13-1/4 x 10 ridge shingles.
The exposed portion, like roof deck shingles, is still between 5 and 6. Some roofers trim or angle the non-tabbed portion which is hidden under successive layers to make a tighter seal with the next overlapping shingle.
Pre-formed or perforated architectural ridge cap shingles are manufactured in different sizes to match laminated shingle profiles and colors. Ranging from 9-3/4 to 13-1/8 widths with lengths of 12 to 13-1/4, the exposed ridge portion is also between 5 and 6. The ridge shingles are installed similarly to cut 3-tab thirds and attach to the roof deck on either side of the ridge, or to plastic or metal ridge vents.
Pro Note: Shingles are more pliable and easier to cut and bend when warm.
How To Install Ridge Cap Shingles
When ridge cap shingles are installed properly, they accentuate the roofline when done incorrectly, they detract from the roof. Below is an example of poorly installed capping. Note how the roofer neglected to trim the unexposed part of the shingle.
Combined with the apparent lack of chalk lines, this resulted in a messy-looking job. Using one of IKOs pretrimmed ridge cap products could have greatly improved this installation.
For a full review of hip and ridge shingle installation, visit the IKO Blueprint for Roofing video series, Part 13. If you want to learn more about choosing hip and ridge cap shingles, visit IKOs Design Center or use our Contractor Locator to find a contractor near you.
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Ridge & Hip Cap Shingle Nailing Defects Shingle Fall
We might expect cracking failures on ridge cap shingles bent over a very steep roof slope such as shown here in our photo above of a home in Port Jervis, NY.
But when you see a cap shingle hinged and falling as shown in the center of this ridge , I suspect that nailing was also inadequate.
So we may have a double fault: the shingle cracked at the apex of the ridge, and the shingle fell because of minimal nailing.
These low-slope roof ridge cap shingles have an easy time – on this very low slope hipped roof they are nearly flat – so I don’t expect a hip cap shingle cracking problem to occur.
And the shingles were well nailed – at least none have blown or fallen off of this roof.
But what about installing conventional 3-tab shingles on a very low slope roof, less than 4 in 12? Unless there were hidden precautions such as a continuous ice and water shield barrier below these shingles I expect this roof to have a short, leaky life.
As we explain at LOW SLOPE ROOFING, asphalt shingles can be installed on roof slopes of 2:12 to 4:12 if special procedures are followed for underlayment.
Types Of Ridge Cap Shingles
A ridge cap shingle is a square, or nearly square, piece of shingle that is the same material as the rest of your roofing. If you have asphalt shingles, then youll have asphalt ridge caps, and so on.
Other types of roofing materials beyond asphalt will have their own ridge caps of varying types, but in this article will be looking at asphalt shingles and asphalt ridge shingles.
Lets take a look at the different types of roof peak shingles available and the differences between each.
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Ridge Cap Shingles Installation
Architectural shingles can be used to shingle the ridge cap. Cut the shingles lengthways between the middle adhesive strip and where the dimensional portion of the shingles attach. Many installers use the cut off tab strip to narrow the gap between the last course or row and the ridge, fastening it with capped roofing nails in the prescribed pattern. A string or chalk line helps lay the shingles in a straight line.
The ridge itself is already protected by one or two layers of roofing felt or membrane. Use the 6 to 7 cut off non-tab strip of the dimensional shingle as the first ridge layer. The 36 to 40-7/8 strip is a single layer and will bend over the ridge.
Remove the cellophane that covers the adhesive strips on the back of the strips prior to installation. Butt the strips end-to-end without overlap and fasten with capped roofing nails 1 in from the ends and up from the edges, and every 6 to 8. The strip should tightly wrap the ridge and overlap the last row of shingles to cover their nail heads.
Cut other non-tab strips into uniform 10 to 12 lengths for the second layer of ridge shingles. Remove the cellophane strip from the adhesive strip at the edge that wont be nailed. Apply roofing cement in a C pattern along the ends and over the adhesive strip.
Overlap successive shingles so the nail heads are covered and so that the exposed ridge shingle width is consistent along the ridge.
Hip & Ridge Shingle Failures
How to Distinguish Among Ridge/Hip Cap Shingle Failure due to Cracking, Excessive Bending, Poor Nailing, Thermal Splitting, Wind Damage, or Other Wear
Glenn added about the premature ridge cap shingle failure photo shown above that a roofer suggested that this shingle failure at the ridge was due to cracks where the shingles were bent over the ridge, and more serious because the ridge cap shingles were laminates, thicker, more likely to crack when bent.
Certainly bending shingles, particularly cold shingles, over a steep slope ridge can stress and break the shingles. I was taught to leave my ridge cap shingles indoors on a radiator in cold weather, assuring thus that they would be warm and flexible enough to bend without cracking when brought outside to nail onto the ridge or hip of the roof.
But shingle cracking failure does not physically resemble the cupping and granule loss failure in the photo shown at page top. Cracking shingles show just that – cracks. Indeed once the shingle has cracked the shingle substrate absorbs increasing amounts of water and in a freezing climate the freeze-thaw cycle will accelerate wear of the shingle.
There are several types of shingle cracking that occur: defective product or thermal splitting, cracks due to cold or excessive bending at a hip or ridge, cracks due to excessive roof or structural movement, and cracking that appears as part of normal asphalt shingle wearing and age.
See details at CRACKS in FIBERGLASS SHINGLES
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What Are Architectural Shingles
Architectural shingles are also called dimensional or laminated shingles. They are a thicker, high-quality asphalt shingle with a heavy fiberglass base mat and ceramic-coated granules embedded into water-resistant asphalt. They are designed to enhance the roofs appearance and often look like cedar shakes or slate tiles without the weight or expense.
Laminated shingles are manufactured using two or more 3-tab shingles to form a multiple tab effect for a more creative roof finish. Although available in many colors, those fashioned to look like slate or cedar shakes have a limited more earthy pallet to mimic natural colors. The cut, coloring, and thickness provide a high-definition profile of depth and contour to individual shingles.
Like everything else, architectural shingles are divided into different categories that affect the price-point. Designer, premium, or luxury tend to top the price list, look truer in color and texture to slate or shakes, and often offer greater resistance to weather phenomena. Regardless of the category, architectural shingles offer a more varied finish than the standard brick look of 3-tab shingles.
How To End Ridge Cap Shingles
One of the biggest questions for DIY ridge cap installers is how to terminate a row of ridge cap shingles. Know that you will not be able to avoid having a few visible nail heads at the end of your row of roof peak shingles. But the good news is there will only be a few.
To end a row of ridge cap shingles, trim your last shingle to fit the roofline. Then cut a new ridge shingle to fit over the last one. Make sure you use only the part of the shingle that is meant to be visible. Nail and then cover nail heads with roofing cement.
The last shingle that you nail will be a ridge cap shingle without the tar strip. Some prefer to use four nails for the last roof peak shingle, which is a good idea as it is the most exposed shingle since there isnt another covering it.
That last shingle that you cut to fit on end will then be nailed twice. Cover the nail heads with dabs of roofing cement.
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Double Layer Asphalt Shingles: All You Need To Know
A roof is usually the first line of defense on any building It protects the buildingâs occupants and their treasures from natureâs elements such as rain, strong winds, heat as well as cold. Over time, roofs have evolved from just covers over peopleâs heads to aesthetic elements in a buildingâs design.
Today, our focus will be on laminated asphalt roofing shingles.
Asphalt Roofing shingles
Before asphalt shingles were invented, the most common type of roofing shingles was wooden shingles. This is because wooden shingles were readily available , they were light in weight and could also take varying roof angles. The main disadvantage of wooden shingles besides the quick deterioration following exposure to changing weather patterns was that they were quick to catch and spread the fire. These shortcomings, among others, led to the innovation of fireproof and water-resistant asphalt shingles.
The first asphalt shingle produced was a single ply roofing shingle with 3 tabs per ply meaning that each tab was separated by a slit from the next tab. With all their advantages, the asphalt shingles did not perform well for low-pitched roofs, as stagnating water on the roof could easily find its way into the roof structure. These asphalt shingles however performed well on high pitched roofs from 25 degrees and above. The roof pitch refers to the steepness of a roof and is always expressed in degrees.
Laminated Asphalt Shingles
Features of Laminated Asphalt Shingles
Where Do You Nail Ridge Cap Shingles
Ridge cap shingles have one nail per ridge face except the last, which has 2 per side. Nails are 5 to 6 in from the tab edge or end that will be exposed and an inch up from the widest part or edge of the tab cutout centerline. The distance depends on the amount of shingle left exposed. The nailing area usually has a dab of black asphalt on the back of the shingle. The next shingle overlaps to cover the nail heads.
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Choose A Ridge Cap Shingle Color
Usually, the hip and ridge shingles match the color blend used in the field of the roof although, in some markets, the hip and ridge shingles might be a contrasting color, which really frames the roof and accentuates the roof outline.
While IKO makes hip and ridge cap shingles to match their other shingle colors, there are more options. IKO Hip & Ridge 12 is now manufactured in innovative mid-tone color blends, to allow matching to a wider range of shingle styles and colors. Selecting the right color ridge cap shingle to match or contrast with your roof shingles can put the ideal finishing touch on a properly installed roof.