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What The Rake Of A Roof Is & How It Keeps Your Roof Together

Posted on : October 31, 2023

What The Rake Of A Roof Is & How It Keeps Your Roof Together

The rake of a roof plays an important part in keeping your roof intact and protected. Understanding the parts, purpose and uses of the rake is vital for homeowners and exterior professionals. At McClellands Contracting and Roofing LLC, we’re here with a guide on all you need to know about roof rakes. 

Let’s begin with the basics of a roof rake.

What Is A Rake Of A Roof?

A rake on a roof is the area where the edge of the roof along the gable ends, slope upwards toward the ridge. It is not merely a decorative element. The rake also helps to protect and maintain the structural integrity of your roof. It is the protective border of the roof, with the primary function of preventing water, snow, and debris from seeping into the roof and attic.

Let’s understand the important role that a roof rake plays in the entire roofing system.  

Understanding The Functions Of A Roof Rake

By understanding the functions of a roof rake, you can make informed decisions concerning your roof's repairs, design, maintenance, and value.

#1 Diverting Water and Preventing Damage

The roof rake plays an essential role in preventing water damage and keeping everything intact. With its sloping edges, a rake diverts water away from the gable and ridge ends. This area is prone to damage and leaks during storms, heavy rain, and wind-driven rain. A watertight rake design fortifies this leak-prone part by avoiding damage to the roofing materials.

When rain or snow falls on a roof, a sturdy rake can also channel the downpour and melted snow toward the gutters or drip edges. 

#2 Distributing Weight for Structural Strength

When it comes to maintaining a strong and sturdy roofing structure, it’s important to evenly distribute the weight of the roofing materials and the elements. The rake of a roof plays a significant role in creating this balance. By providing the right amount of slope, roofers make sure the rake handles all the weight evenly along its surface. This is important for several reasons.

👉 First, distributing weight evenly helps prevent any concentrated stress points on the roof. If the weight of the roof is not properly distributed, it can lead to weak spots or potential areas of damage.

👉 Second, proper water diversion helps reduce the extra strain on the roof when it’s raining. A shallow incline or uneven roofing materials can cause damage to a specific area.

#3 Aesthetic Appeal

Rakes also contribute to the beauty and style of your home. Your chosen shape and design for the rake greatly impact your architectural taste and the curb appeal of your home. There are various materials and designs available to style the rake on a roof.

To understand how to style a roof’s rake, it’s crucial to be informed about its parts.

Parts Of A Roof Rake

Here are the parts of a roof that make up a rake:

Parts Of A Roof Rake

1. Rake Board

A rake board resembles a fascia board, but it exclusively covers the exposed area of the rake. It’s attached to the ends of the rafters, covering it completely from the front. You can choose a stunning, high-contrast color, like black, a traditional wooden look, or modern metal panels for the rake boards.

2. Eaves

The eaves are the edges of the roof that extend beyond the home's exterior walls. The roof rake connects the gable ends of the home to the outer eaves on either side. You can add architectural details and natural features to the eaves to beautify the area. For example, installing lights, hanging plants, and much more!

3. Drip Edge

A drip edge is a flashing strip that covers the roof’s edges. It is also installed at the rake, and overlaps the rake board by an inch or two. This overlap is needed to provide full protection against water infiltration. You should choose a sturdy metal, like aluminum and galvanized steel, and an efficient design.

4. Starter Shingles

starter shingle

A starter course is the first set of shingles installed around the roof’s perimeter, which also includes the rake. It’s larger and plain, and is used to create a secure base for subsequent rows of shingles. The main role of these shingles is to ensure a uniform line for proper and even shingle installation.

When it comes to installing and repairing a roof, you must pay attention to the details. Only a well-planned structure and design will offer the right protection and desired look. On the other hand, mistakes in the process can lead to expensive damage.

Installation, Repair & Styling Tips For Roof Rakes

Whether you're installing a new roof, repairing the rake, or revamping the style of your home, here are five tips for each aspect:

Installation Considerations

Professional Installation

If you need someone to handle the installation of a roof and therefore, the rake, you should hire a reliable roofing contractor. They have the expertise to ensure proper alignment and secure attachment. They can also aid you in styling your roof.

Material Selection

Choose your roofing materials wisely. Consider your local climate and the style of your home. Materials like cedar and vinyl are excellent for areas with high humidity, while aluminum offers a modern and glossy finish. You can also choose copper for a luxurious, classic look.


When installing a rake on a roof, ensure it doesn't obstruct your roof's ventilation system. Proper airflow is essential for preventing moisture buildup and maintaining a healthy attic. 

Aesthetics and Harmony

The rake of a roof should complement your home's architectural style. Match the chosen rake style, material, and decorative elements to the overall design. Ensure the design and color fits well with your home’s siding, trim, columns, and other exterior elements.

Repair Tips

Address Damage Swiftly

Schedule routine roof inspections to find and fix any kind of damage promptly. Look for signs of rot, rust, loose components, or missing parts. This step will prevent more extensive and costly repairs.

Repainting And Refinishing

If you have wooden rake boards, periodic coatings are necessary to protect them from weathering and losing their appeal. For vinyl, regular cleanings may be necessary to maintain its look and spot any damage. 

Cleaning and Maintenance

For metal or vinyl rakes, regular cleaning is essential to prevent the buildup of dirt, grime, and oxidation. Use mild detergents and a soft brush or cloth to clean the surface. Periodic maintenance keeps your rake looking its best.

Styling Tips

Architectural Details

Enhance your roof rake's appearance with intricate details, like brackets and frieze boards. These elements can make your home stand out in the neighborhood and enhance its value.

Lighting and Greenery

Consider adding outdoor lighting fixtures strategically to highlight your rake's contours during the evening, adding both functionality and ambiance. Additionally, hanging plants or window boxes can give a natural feel to your home's exterior.

Color Selection

Choose a color for your rake that complements your home's exterior. Whether you want it to blend in or stand out as a focal point, color selection can make a significant impact on the final results.


Balance your budget with your desired aesthetics. While you might want a stylish roof rake, it's essential to make choices that are financially viable for your home. A professional contractor can help you achieve both your creative goals and budget considerations.

The rake of a roof is far more than just a decorative element; it plays a vital role in protecting your home. By diverting water, distributing weight, aiding in ventilation and insulation, and enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your property, the roof's rake is a key component in maintaining the structural integrity and curb appeal of your home. Whether you're considering professional installation, repair, or styling, it's crucial to pay attention to the details and ensure long-lasting protection and style. 

If you are looking for a roofing service in Pittsburgh, our team is here to provide expert guidance and services at every step, ensuring your roof is designed and maintained to meet the highest standards.

Discuss Your Roofing Project With Pennsylvania’s Best Experts

At McClellands Contracting and Roofing LLC, we upgrade roofs with the best materials and stunning designs! If you are looking to revamp your roof rake or gable, or need a full roof replacement service in Pittsburgh, PA, call us at (412) 353-5660. We’ll help you get started on your project with a free consultation and estimate. Let us help you build the perfect roof for your home!

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