How to Notch the Rafters for a New Roof

Notching your own rafters is a great way to save money and to custom fit your rafters. Rafters are the wood beams that support your roof. The rafters have to be cut to match the wall stud under them. You must also cut the rafters so that they align with the ridge board that runs down the center top of the ceiling.

Pick strong wood for your rafters as they will be supporting the weight of the roof.
  1. Determine the angle of the roof that you want. From that angle, mark the angle that you need to cut off the end of the rafter. The rafter needs to align with the ridge board. The ridge board is the board that runs down the center of the roof. Put on your safety goggles before going to the next step.

  2. Cut off the angle marked on the end of the rafter with a power saw placed on a pair of sawhorses. Hold the freshly cut rafter up to the ridge board and mark where it intersects with the wall studs. Use a stud finder to locate the wall studs. Mark the notch to be cut out of the rafter. Cut off the notch of wood with a power saw placed on a pair of sawhorses. Hold the rafter up again and see if it conforms to the ridge board and wall stud, if not, then adjust accordingly.

  3. Use the first rafter cut as a template for the other rafters. Place the rafter on the other 2- by- 4 boards and trace with a marker. Cut the other rafters on a saw horse and place them onto the roof. Place the rafters on the roof by lifting them by hand and placing them on top of the ridge board and wall stud. The spacing of rafters is subject to many factors.

About the Author

Harvey Birdman has been writing since 2000 for academic assignments. He has trained in the use of LexisNexus, Westlaw and Psychnotes. He holds a Juris Doctor and a Master of Business Administration from the Chicago Kent School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in both political science and psychology from the University of Missouri at Columbia.