Rafters vs Trusses

April 2, 2018

Considering building a new home? Wondering which is better, rafters or roof trusses? Is there a significant difference between the two? There certainly are. Like many things in life, there seems to be a time and a place for both. Let’s discuss the pros and cons so you can get a better feel for which fits your new home.

Traditional Rafters

All homes used to be built with traditional rafters. This is a type of building structure system that uses dimensional lumber to support the roof of your home. Today, traditional rafters aren’t used nearly as often in new construction projects because they tend to be more costly then roof trusses. Roof trusses have wood members that are designed to supply a similar holding strength without the expensive real wood. Trusses are built in a manufacturing plant within a controlled environment to ensure the highest quality output in product. Most trusses plants are automated, meaning they can, believe it or not, actually build trusses in less time than it takes to completely install rafters on a site.

Time Crunch?

In a hurry? Rafters can take a good deal of time to install compared to roof trusses. While rafter take as much as a week to install, an experienced team of carpenters could install roof trusses on an average home in the UK in about a day. On the other hand, trusses have a longer lead time than rafters. Roof truss systems require drawing, engineering and creating. This process can take several weeks.

Going for Looks?

Rafters, on the other hand, create a wonderful feeling of open space and look marvelous as an open ceiling. While trusses can be used to achieve the vaulted ceiling look, they aren’t as efficient at creating an open feel in your space as traditional rafters would be. One advantage of this open space is their storage capabilities.

Small Projects

If your working on a small project, like adding an additional to your home or a small garage, rafters may be your only viable option. In cases like these, it may not be economical to go through the hassle of creating a roof truss design and layout.

Which is right for me? 

Good news is there isn’t a big difference rafters and roof trusses as far as the quality of the product is concerned! If your goal is an exposed look, rafters might be your best option. Be sure to price out your options to a few different carpenters, lumber supplier and truss companies. That’s always a great place to start when deciding which route to take!

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