so I bought a REO house and about to redo the roof above the garage.
I've noticed that I need to replace some rafters.
However - I'm seeing that rafter are 2x4...

enter image description here

Is that code-legal?

p.s. by 13 ft - I also count the length it protrudes to the outside of the wall.

  • Code is based on when the structure is built or substantially renovated... so are you asking if it's legal as is right now, or if it would be legal if it were built today? Also there is some additional information needed like the spacing and the roof snow load. But 2x4s seem likely undersized by current standards.
    – Hank
    Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 15:43
  • The tables I've seen say 2x4's are good for buildings 0-10 feet wide.
    – Tester101
    Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 15:54
  • After searching for garage building codes, it seems that lots of areas seem to have specific requirements. Your best bet might be to contact your local building department, and find out the requirements in your area.
    – Tester101
    Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 17:53

1 Answer 1


Certainly not by current building standards. I'm not familiar with the snow load factor that is used in Connecticut, but if it's the 40 PSF that I suspect you would need 2x6s, possibly 2x8s. Note that the span measurement goes from the peak of the roof to the wall parallel to the ground, not along the slope of the roof, so I can't give you an exact answer without a better measurement.

Side note: The more immediate concern is that it doesn't look like there are any rafter or collar ties at all visible in the photo you posted. Unless the roof ridge is structural (i.e. a beam sized for a cathederal ceiling the size of the garage and posted to the foundation), the roof is going to have a strong tendency to pancake and put outward thrust on the tops of the walls.

You can address both problems by installing rafter and collar ties, and then adding purlins starting about half way down the roof deck. Basically what you would be doing is converting the existing roof framing into trusses. That said, it would likely be a lot easier (and likely cheaper if the roof deck also needs to be replaced) to reframe it.

  • I think the codes are different between homes, and sheds/garages. I'm assuming the charts you're looking at are for homes, not sheds/garages.
    – Tester101
    Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 16:28
  • @Tester101 - They are (which is likely why they don't go below 2x6), but that doesn't change the amount of deflection that a foot of snow will create. Locally there isn't a distinction in framing requirements between inhabited spaces and outbuildings, but that would depend on the jurisdiction.
    – Comintern
    Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 16:35
  • If you go to the local home improvement store and pick up a shed kit, I doubt they use 2x6 rafters.
    – Tester101
    Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 16:47
  • @Tester101 - The OP is obviously not asking about a shed, but I edited out the reference to the span tables that I use as not relevant to the question.
    – Comintern
    Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 16:57
  • I agree they are not talking about a shed. However, a small detached garage has more in common with a shed, than with a house. And I believe using house building codes for a garage, might be a bit off base.
    – Tester101
    Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 17:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.