The Builders’ Basic of Building a Pitched Roof

The Builders’ Basic of Building a Pitched Roof
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Unfortunately in the course of their working life, our professionals have seen a lot of bodged jobs in South Wales!

It seems that some construction companies operating in the Swansea area do not even know the basics. To assist, we put together a glossary and guide to pitched roofs.


Did you know that almost a third of all heat created by central heating escapes through pitched roofs?

This is why it is vital for building contractors everywhere to understand the basics of thermal efficiency when planning or working on a pitched roof .

Insulation is key to the overall warmth retention in a home. Builders should be aware of the risks of condensation and poor ventilation within a pitched roof. This is because warm air can escape easily through the large beams which run along the structure of the roof.


BATTENS – these are the pieces of wood nailed to the rafters, which support the covering of the roof.

CEILING HANGERS – these support the ceiling joists.

COLLAR TIE – this is normally in the top third of the roof and situated in the middle of opposing rafters. It is meant to help stabilize a roof in heavy winds.

COMMON RAFTERS – these go from the eaves of the roof to the ridge and must be spaced 30-45 centimetres.

EAVES BOARD – this is the wooden board on which the lower roof materials lean on.

POST PLATES – these are there to support the rafters and are parallel to the wall face.

PURLINES – these are either steel or wood parts by the truss or wall. They help to support the rafters of the roof.

TRUSS – the truss is the frame which supports the top of the roof. It is made from triangular shapes. 

RAFTER TIE – not to be confused with a collar tie, a rafter tie is in the bottom third of the opposite gable rafters. It is there to help the rafters when there’s a heavy load.

RIDGE – this is the very top of the roof which is made by the inclined edges at the pinnacle of the slope.

VALLEY – this is where the two sloping edges converge and has an exterior angle of under 180 degrees.


VERGE – this is the edge of the roof, which is between the eaves and ridges.

FINALLY: whether you are a construction company or a sole trader builder in Swansea, it is important to know how to deal with a pitched roof.

Quite often existing roofs on clients’ houses will be in a poor condition and prone to leaks or worse.

It is vital to pay attention to the condition of the pitched roof, in all your undertakings.