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How to Apply Ridge Caps to a Roof

Apr. 25, 2022
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Applying or installing roof ridge caps to a roof is the common term for putting on a layer of asphalt or laminate shingles that cover the roof ridge. This is the last task completed on every roofing job, and it must be done correctly to prevent leaking. It is a straightforward process, but it does require working on the highest part of the roof. This can be a do it yourself process, but if you have any doubts about being in this position on a roof, call and let a professional do the job.

When installing a ridge vent, first apply ridge caps along the ridge, place the ridge vent in place and secure it to the roof, then put another layer of ridge cap shingles over the ridge vent using 3-inch nails to secure the ridge cap shingles in place, according to IKO Industries. You can make your own ridge cap shingles by cutting the tabs off of regular shingles. However, this leads to a large amount of shingle waste, and in many cases it is more cost effective and offers better time management when you include actual ridge cap shingles in the overall roofing scenario.


1. Put Safety First

Choose a day that will be dry, warm and have little wind. This is important for safety considerations, because you will be at the peak of the roof and you don't want to be blown off in a wind gust, but also because you need to bend the ridge caps over the top of the ridge and they become more flexible the warmer the temperature is.



In addition, get some safety gear like a harness, hard hat, work gloves, safety glasses and long pants, recommends Home Depot.


2. Determine the Ridge's Orientation

Determine which end of your ridge receives the least amount of wind. Generally on a north/south orientation, the south end of the ridge would be the place to start. On an east/west orientation, the east end will be the starting point. This is the point on the roof that you will attach the first ridge cap.


3. Place the First Ridge Cap

Cover the bottom of the first ridge cap with roofing cement and place it, centered, on the edge of the ridge at the end of the house. Bend it over so that it covers the entire ridge. Nail it in place roughly 5 1/2 inches from the ridge end and 1 inch up from the shingle edge.


4. Overlap the Next Ridge Cap

Overlap the next ridge cap shingle 5 inches from the end of the first one. This will effectively cover up the original nail that was put in place. Repeat the nailing pattern of 5 1/2 inches from the end and 1 inch up from the bottom.


5. Continue Nailing Ridge Cap Shingles

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Continue nailing ridge cap shingles in this fashion all the way along the ridge.


Things You Will Need

Pre-made ridge caps


Roofing cement




2-inch galvanized nails




Safety gear, including gloves, harness, safety glasses, tool belt



When using a ladder to gain access to a roof, always make sure the legs have clear, dry and level footing before you mount it.


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