Attaching rafters with rafter ties...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by accio! chickens, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. accio! chickens

    accio! chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 28, 2009
    Okay, after seeing another chicken coop on here where the person used rafter ties to attach their rafters to their chicken house (they were 2x4 rafters) I decided to buy some for mine. My rafters are 2x6, and I can't for the life of me knotch out the rafters (LOL you should have seen my goat house, ohhh my, I have to replace the roof on this it's so bad lol). I didn't take into account the fact that I bought rough cut 2x6's which are actually like 2 1/2" wide. I'm returning the rafter ties to Home Depot, so I was thinking about buying hurricane ties, which are like the rafter ties.

    These are the hurricane ties...


    Would I need to knotch my rafters or no?

    For the record, my building is a 10x10, 10ft high at the front, 8 ft at the back.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2009
  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Rafters have to be notched no matter what you make them out of, UNLESS youre building a shed roof and angle the top plates on the walls
  3. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    They should be notched to transfer the load to the walls. That connector won't do it, it will bend and allow the rafters to spread. Simpson makes some that will work:

    Or just keep practicing your layout, I referenced one of those little books that came with a speed square.
  4. geosheets

    geosheets Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2009
    I agree with with the others... ties are only meant to hold down the rafter and rafters must bear on the top plate to properly distribute the load. If you are having trouble laying out the birds mouth cut, try using a framing square with stair gauges attached to it. When I am raftering something, I always set my stair gauges up on my square as it is a lot quicker and all my angles are there. The birds mouth cut is directly related to the plumb cut/ridge angle. To get the birds mouth angle, slide the square down the rafter and mark the blade of the square and you will have the correct angle. You might try a google search of 'cutting rafters framing square', there are lots of good web sites that explain it in simple terms and pictures. A lot of people(even carpenters) are overwhelmed with cutting rafter angles and make it a lot more difficult than it is.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  5. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    We used our on the run with vinyl roofing overhead, so the load is less to begin with- no notching. You can see them half-way down on the run page, linked below. They're been through monster snow storms and two hurricanes and one tropical storm- working great. But the coop itself? Probably the kind that allow you to notch would give a more stable structure. Our run is attached to a very sturdy barn with a concrete foundation and the run supports are on concrete stanchions.
  6. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    If your coop is only 10 x 10 why do you need to use 2 x6's? Unless you are doing a single pitch roof you could use 2 x 4's very nicely and they are easier to work with. I think you could use the ties just fine. I was reading in "Build Hour Own Shed Manual" that I got off the shelf at Lowes and it talks about using rafter ties to avoid having to make the notched cut. It would probably be easiest on you to use 2 x 4 rafter material, the proper connectors AND, if you are still concerned about weight transfer, cut wedges from 2 x 4 scrap that can be pushed in the open angle between your rafter and top plate. I thnk your idea is very workable.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    IMO, it's like this.

    For a small shed, unoccupied by humans, where if the roof blows off or the whole thing collapses you will utter some naughty words but be able to cope with the consequences, then sure, if you really really want to skip cutting birdsmouth notches, you can rely on just the rafter ties and prayer, with some reasonable chance it will last for a good while.

    OTOH, it is more likely to sag unevenly as time passes, and if you get a heavy snow, a hard wind, or the material starts to get old and a bit rotty in spots, or if you space out and use non-galvanized nails, then you do have a greater chance of structural failure.

    It is really not hard to learn to do those notches, they take about 2 minutes apiece to cut once you have figured out how to mark them, they should only be notched in the width of the top of the wall so it is not like they are very laborious to saw, I would personally not skip them since they are not much of an investment of energy and do make the structure more robust.

    Good luck, have fun,

  8. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    (Blushes) Pat you are probably right. The book was talking about sheds and not housing for the chicken children. My DH would probably collapse in spasms if he thought our projected coop was going to be raftered with ties alone. I stand duly corrected. [​IMG]
  9. tenderkat

    tenderkat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh my, I hope I'm not the one that gave you the idea NOT to notch your rafters!!! I hate to hijack your post, but when you do figure it out, can you please post pics? Also, if anyone has any advice on 'fixing' an already built structure that was tied in without notching, please email me!! My coop was my first structure ever built, and I really piecemealed it together. It has stood since July, and survived a couple few feet of heavy snow storms, and it seems solid. But, I'd hate to have some unexpected freak failure or colapse resulting from my poor carpentry skills!!
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:You know what -- if it is a smallish coop, and built otherwise-sturdily, I would not sweat it. What's done is done, prolly it'll be ok for your purposes.

    If there is ANY weebliness in the rest of its construction, though, I would shore that up as much as you can -- in particular, make sure the walls have all got sturdy diagonal bracing of some kind (either diagonal lumber or strapping, or large pieces of 5/8"+ plywood as sheathing); add collar ties between the rafters if you haven't already (and if you've *got* rafters -- if it's trusses, you're fine already there); and confirm that you used the fat little galvanized nails that you are supposed to use with the hurricane ties, rather than common nails which will rust. Those are weak points that could someday combine with slipping rafters to cause collapse.

    Especially for a small structure without a wide span or major wind exposure, it is not a *huge* deal not to have notches. It's just that it's better to do it that way in the future, you know? [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,


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