How To Cut Architectural Shingles For A Ridge Cap

Kellan Jansen
by Kellan Jansen

Your roof is one of the most noticeable parts of your home’s exterior. When it looks good, your home looks good. When it looks bad, chances are your home isn’t looking its best.

One way that homeowners make their roofs look better is with ridge caps. These can be an excellent addition to your home. However, cutting them from architectural shingles isn’t always easy.

To cut architectural shingles for ridge caps, the best tool is a big pair of snips. You can also use a utility knife, but doing so repeatedly will dull the blade and hurt your knuckles. Before cutting, make sure that you’ve measured carefully to ensure that the ridge caps will fit your roofing needs.

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What Are Architectural Shingles?

Architectural shingles are a type of shingle that combines high-functionality with an appealing look. This unique combination has made architectural shingles one of the go-to roofing materials for homeowners across the country.

These shingles can be made out of several different materials. However, they’re usually formed with a combination of:

  • Water-resistant asphalt
  • Heavy fiberglass mat base
  • Ceramic-coated mineral granules

Architectural shingles are commonly used to replace cedar and slate shingles. Cedar is vulnerable to both fire and water damage, while slate is very heavy and will place unnecessary stress on your roof.

Architectural shingles enable you to enjoy the appealing look of either of these materials without having to deal with their drawbacks. These features make architectural shingles an excellent choice for your roof.

What Are Ridge Caps?

As the name implies, ridge caps are specifically designed roofing materials that are meant to fit the ridges of roofs. Given their purpose, ridge caps are typically pre-bent and thicker than standard shingles.

Ridge caps also differ from standard shingles in the amount of adhesion they provide. They typically provide more than other roofing materials to make sticking them to ridges easier.

Finally, ridge caps also typically offer a thicker nailing area than regular shingles do. This is another feature that makes them easier to nail into the hard-to-reach crevices of your roof.

How To Cut Architecture Shingles For Ridge Cap

  • Gather the necessary materials. For this job, you won’t need much. In fact, all you need to gather is a big pair of snips or a utility knife and your architectural shingles.
  • Measure the shingles for your needs. Before cutting, you should know the specific measurements that you need your ridge caps to be.
  • Begin cutting. Once you’ve gathered your materials and made your measurements, you’re ready to start cutting your architectural shingles into ridge caps.

How To Install Ridge Caps Made From Architectural Shingles

You probably wouldn’t be cutting ridge caps unless you planned on installing them. If you have a bit of roofing experience, you should find this project fairly straightforward. To do so, you’ll first need to gather a few materials:

  • Hand-cut ridge cap shingles
  • Hammer
  • Plastic cap roofing nails
  • Utility knife
  • Roof cement

Ridge Cap Installation

  • Start by cutting as many sheets of architectural shingles as needed lengthwise in half. You can do this with a utility or box knife.
  • Apply the newly-cut ridge caps across the length of the roof.
  • Nail the ridge caps in place with roofing nails. Install these on either side of the ridge cap and about every 7 or 8 inches.
  • Continue this until you’ve reached the end of your roof.
  • Start working on the second layer by cutting shingle sheets to about 10.5-inch lengths.
  • Cut these in half and peel off the plastic.
  • Apply roofing cement in a C-shape all along the top and edge of the ridge cap.
  • Place these over the first layer and nail them on either side once every 7 or 8 inches.
  • Continue with this until you’ve reached the end of your roof.

What Other Materials Can Be Used For Ridge Caps?

DIYers can certainly make architectural shingles work for their ridge cap needs. However, this isn’t necessarily the ideal material to use on your next project.

Ridge caps are usually made out of standard asphalt shingles. However, some builders prefer to use pre-fabricated roof caps. These can be made out of aluminum, copper, or even plastic.

Ultimately, any of these materials can be used for ridge caps without many issues. Picking your best option could be as easy as selecting the material that you can purchase for the least.

That being said, ridge caps made from each of these materials will look different. However, there are ways to paint or process the ridge caps to make them match the rest of your roof. This means there really isn’t a wrong answer to the question of what you should make your ridge caps out of.

How Much Does It Cost To Install Ridge Caps?

Your costs for installing ridge caps can vary considerably based on several factors. The most important factor is whether you decide to install ridge caps yourself or hire a professional roofer to do it for you. Hiring a roofer could add as much as $1,000 to your overall price.

If you plan on doing the work yourself, all you’ll have to pay for is the materials needed to get the job done. Generally, you shouldn’t have to pay more than $200 to $300 for the actual shingles unless your roof is exceptionally long.

Don’t Forget Roofing Cement And Nails

After purchasing the shingles, the only other things you’ll need to buy are roofing cement and roofing nails, and maybe a new knife or pair of snips if you don’t have a good cutting tool.

All in, you should anticipate paying around $500 to install ridge caps on your own. As mentioned above, that price could rise to about $1,500 if you plan on hiring someone to do the work for you.

Do You Need Ridge Caps?

Some homeowners may question whether they actually need to install ridge caps on their roofs at all. However, it’s very important that you do so.

Whenever two roof planes come together at an angle, they create a peak or a valley. A large amount of the water that your roof receives will flow through your roof’s valleys. Ridge caps protect those valleys from leaking and damaging your home to a degree that standard shingles can’t match.

Ridge caps also protect the peaks on your roof. These can get excessive sun and wind exposure, which standard shingles won’t usually prevent from damaging your home.

Make Sure Moisture Doesn’t Sneak In Your Ridge Caps

While ridges don’t necessarily get more rain than other parts of your roof, there is still a very real danger of moisture sneaking in through them. Once again, ridge caps can be used to prevent this from happening.

Given all of these benefits, it’s easy to see why your roof needs ridge caps. Make sure to keep yours up-to-date to protect your home.

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Related Questions

Are there different grades of architectural shingles?

Yes, there are several different grades of architectural shingles that you can choose from. You’ll find lower-priced economy shingles, moderately-priced options, and high-end products. The difference typically comes down to how much protection the shingles offer through their thickness.

Are architectural shingles better than 3-Tab?

Yes, most roofing professionals would say that architectural shingles are better than 3-Tab ones. This is because they offer more protection than 3-Tab shingles do. At the same time, architectural shingles are also generally thought to look better than their 3-Tab counterparts. This makes them an ideal choice for your roof.

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Kellan Jansen
Kellan Jansen

Kellan is a content writer who specializes in everything DIY. When he's not behind the keyboard, he enjoys spending time with his pets, playing music, and geeking out about basketball. He hopes to make your home improvement projects a little bit easier to accomplish.

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