What are Collar Ties?

Collar Ties are Structural Members Used in Roof Designs

By Mark J. Donovan

Collar ties are used in construction framing and are used to strengthen roofs. If you look in your attic you may notice a series of horizontal structural members tying opposite roof rafters together. These horizontal structural members are known as collar ties. Collar ties are used for structural reinforcement and help to keep roof rafters from spreading out. Often collar ties serve two functions. Sometimes they double as ceiling joists, depending upon how high the ceiling is specified in the floor below the attic.

Typically collar ties are positioned mid span between the roof rafters, however in some cases they may be located nearer the roof ridge. Unexposed collar ties are commonly constructed out of 2x4s, 2x6s or 2x8s depending upon the span.

Exposed collar ties are often made out of large solid beams or sistered 2 by framing material that is then sheathed in finished wood material.

Because collar ties are used for structural reinforcement they should not be cut without first being inspected by a structural engineer, building inspector or architect. An architect or engineer can usually design an alternative solution to collar ties so that the attic space can be opened up and the structural roof integrity maintained.

If you are in the process of designing a new home or room addition with a cathedral ceiling, an architect can frequently design the roof using an engineered ridge beam and other methods of fastening the roof rafters so that collar ties are not required.

Collar ties

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Related Information

Additional Framing Resources from Amazon.com

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