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Outlooker detailing on cathedral roof

Joe Norm | Posted in General Questions on

Question concerns a vented cathedral roof.

Let’s say I have all the details right for proper venting in the main rafter bays.

What is common detailing at the overhang areas perpendicular to the rafters?
(Maybe you’d call this the gable end of the roof?)

I see this as a problem area, especially if you don’t want to lay outlookers flat like is common around here. 

Does anyone have any good solutions here or is the answer going to be “see articles on unvented roof assemblies?”

thanks in advance.

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  1. Expert Member
    Peter Yost | | #1

    HI Joe -

    see the attached images and let us know if this is what you are talking about/if it answers your question(s).

    Two different ways to add ladder-framed rake overhangs (on gable end walls.)


    1. Joe Norm | | #2

      Yes, this is what the question is about. I am used to the outlookers being attached to the first or second rafter inward of the building, then traveling out.

      The problem with the above method is that it disrupts the depth of rater bay and vent channel.

      The plus is that it will allow for a longer overhang than what you have pictured.


  2. Doug McEvers | | #3


    An idea came to mind in reading your post. If you want a longer overhang, more than 12" and want to attach it to the inward rafter you could do as follows. Attach the purlins to the inward rafter 1" or so lower than the top of the rafter to allow for the continuous vent from eave to ridge. Your gable end would have to be sized accordingly to allow for this modification. Fill the top of the gable end and purlins outside the gable end to flush with the top of the common rafters for a smooth application of roof decking.

  3. Expert Member
    Akos | | #4

    Another way is to extend your wall top plates and ridge beam past your wall. You can then just put another rafter for the overhang. Depending on the overhang you might need a corbel to support the ends but you can do much larger overhangs.

  4. Expert Member
    Malcolm Taylor | | #5

    For deeper overhangs than you might be comfortable with using Peter's methods, Doug and Akos have given good alternatives. Another is to use brackets, as are commonly seen on craftsman style houses.

  5. Andy S | | #6

    Another method, one of many, is to drop the height of the gable wall by 5 1/2", then use 2x6 for the outlookers attached to the next rafter from the gable.

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