Rafters vs Trusses – 9 Critical Points to Look

Rafters vs Trusses?

If you are looking to construct a new building or house. One of the major concerns is, what sort of roof you’re going to add to your house. Until you are going with the flat roof structure, you need to be very clear that whether you want the rafters or trusses for your roof farming.

We often see that rafters are used in old homes, whereas the trusses are increasing rapidly in replacement of conventional rafters, especially in the newly built residential homes.

But again, these two methods hold advantages as well as disadvantages, if you just scroll down, you will find the in-depth details about it.

Let’s define what are rafters and trusses and what are the key differences between them.

What Is A Rafter ?

Rafters vs Trusses

As we said in the above lines, rafters are long back established roof farming method. In short, It is formed of long lumber, generally paired from the center ridge beam and connects with the exterior walls.

If you are using the rafters to construct a roof, they also call stick farming. It means that one single rafter is constructed on-site pairing with lumber. In terms of measurement, cutting, they pay attention to every single lumber piece in order to get the perfect shape of the rafter. Rafters are the prime parts of the roof as they play a major role in terms of holding the roof and roof decking.

What is A Trusses ?

Rafters vs Trusses

Trusses are usually pre-built. You will see, most of the trusses are made with wood pieces. Generally, these are installed in triangle webbing shapes to give maximum strength to the roof. Trusses are the most vital parts as they help the tying to the outer walls.

Building the classic roof construction in residential houses, it is made up of dual trusses placed from one side of the floor to the other end side of the house. In terms of installation, traditional rafters are built on the spot whereas the trusses are built in the factory and moved to the worksite via transport and installed.

Key Differences Between Rafters vs Trusses

You cannot say that it’s all about the construction and fabrication are the only difference between the trusses and rafters. There is a lot to see as both the roof farming will give you different looks. You will see the drastic difference between these two roofing systems.

We already said to you that trusses are pre-built for roof construction and they are generally positioned in a symmetrical way. The trusses are crafted automatically in the back factory with the utmost attention. When it comes to the installation process, you will find a significant difference between these two roofing systems – rafters and trusses.

The loads and parts of the trusses, as well as rafters, are quite similar. Even the sloping boards and bottom joists look the one and the same. One big difference you will find in this roofing system is the board dimension of the trusses is narrow. Due to this, they are considered to be stronger than rafters. Although, you have the option to compensate by adding more materials instead of wide boards. Moving towards the rafters, they have two powerful outer beams to protect the roof farming.

You can customize the trusses in whatever shape you want to. Just be sure that it fits your construction. Moreover, you can save some cash if you go with the trusses over rafters as they are pre-built. So you don’t need to spend the money on labor to install on-site.

A Quick Guide :

  • You will find that the planks shape of the rafters and trusses are in traingle. Trusses has extra webs under the main frame
  • Rafters are devoloped on-site while the trusses are pre-built in the backend.
  • Installation charges are very less as compared to the raffters due to excessive labour work.
  • Rafters comes with tow power-full beams to protect the roofs whereas the trusses holds multiple beams to give maximum strength to the roofs.
  • More number of people are opting for trusses over rafters due their authentic looks.

Rafters vs Trusses : Advantages of Rafters

More head height in the attic

You have the attic space and if you want, you can build an extra room from that space or you can also use that space for storage purposes. Thus, rafters are definitely worth adding as they provide you with the attic ceiling space to get the utmost natural light.

Can be used anywhere

Rafters being built on-site means that they can easily be disassembled and flexibly moved to difficult-to-reach locations. They are extremely easy to take apart and put back together, unlike trusses, which tend to be difficult due to their complex, prebuilt nature. You can use a boat, truck, helicopter to transfer from one place to another.

Ideal for small construction projects

With rafters, you can build various projects like a cabin, shed, and more. No need to wait for the trusses which is again a time-consuming task. You don’t have to be an expert to create the design of the roof truss for tiny projects likewise garages and sheds. Just craft the rafters in whatever shape and size you need and place them on the roof.

Reduced lead time

Rafters are a lot easier to plan than trusses, due to their simple, stick-built nature. Trusses, on the other hand, require precise planning in a building that too in the factory with proper dimensions and sizes early ahead.

Rafters vs Trusses : Drawbacks of Rafters

More time-consuming

While planning out is quick and simple for the rafters but the actual build time for rafters is a lot longer. Of course, it requires more labor. Building a residential roofing house could take up to seven days to complete the full construction.


In terms of labor work rate and desired materials, we can say that rafters are the most expensive ones than trusses.

Skilled workers required

Rafters are simple to make, but the style of rafters is a bit outdated. You need to get a professional expert for the installation which is now becoming more and more difficult to get as these geeks are becoming old and almost getting retired from the work.

Slower pace of building

Completion of the wall and the hand-building of every single rafter resume, one hundred percent it takes time as it’s a time-consuming process. If the weather is not good to work, it can go even further to start the work.

Rafters vs Trusses : Advantages of Trusses

Less expensive

The roof truss comes with tiny wood planks which are built with the same power as a super fine wood is built. But when it comes to pricing, they are cost-effective than the rafters. On the side, trusses are prebuilt, which means they are developed in the factory under a well-mannered atmosphere with super quality machines. As the crafting work of the trusses is fully automatic, the installation charges are pretty low compared to rafters.

More accuracy

Very rare you will find mistakes while fabricating the roof trusses over rafters. As we already spoke about this fact that they are built in a professionally trained expert environment. They take utmost care in terms of specification and load the right data into the machines. Parts of the trusses are measured digitally for the cutting process. They assure that they won’t do any sort of mistakes.

Quicker construction

Once manufactured, trusses can easily be lifted by a couple of people and installed as needed. Usually, you don’t need more than two or three days. This, once again, reduces the chance of elemental damage to the structure, as it is exposed for a lot less of a time.

Greater strength

All the credit goes to the interior webbing of these roof parts, they can easily hold the weight of entire roof without any problem. Moreover, the triangle shape comes with cheap planks wood and has a shorter size.

DIY friendly

If you are a DIY freak, it will be very easy for you to install the truss. Installing the trusses is pretty much complex work than constructing the rafters at one time. Nowadays you also have the option to choose the complete truss package, to build your own roofing farm without any hassle. You will get a user manual step-by-step guide regarding the installation process. Every single point related to trusses installation is covered in detail.

Rafters vs Trusses : Drawbacks of Trusses

Limitations in ceiling design

The roof trusses have structured webbing, due to this, you cannot go out of the limitations. Typically, all the homes with roof trusses hold flat-shaped ceilings. They won’t come in a curved shape as rafters do. So don’t expect that extra space for your head height for the trussed attic to convert into a room.

No future alterations possible

Because of their complex, ready-made nature, trusses cannot be altered once they have been installed. This means that in the long run, if some part of the trusses requires replacement, you won’t be able to replace it without taking down practically the entire roof. Even if you want to do something as simple as drilling a hole for a cable, you’ll likely risk damaging the structure.

No room for storage or conversion

Once again, you are limiting the attic space by using trusses, because of their bulky nature.

What Type of Material Is Used for Roof Trusses and Rafters

Rafters vs Trusses

It totally depends upon the availability of the wood stock to build the trusses. Sometimes the type of wood you are looking to use may not be available for you. Typically, you have the 3 generic types of woods to construct the roof trusses – Yellow pine, red cedar, fir. To give the proper shape to these woods, you need to apply the glue or laminate the small glue pieces to get the strong beams for the truss support.

Apart from this, wood is not the single option you have, you can also use the metal roof trusses for residential buildings. But to be honest, these types of trusses are not a good choice to replace the wooden ones. As the price is very high compared to the wooden ones, you also need to spend a lot on maintenance. You won’t get a qualified person to install such types of trusses.

Metal is also bad at insulating heat and it rusts quickly. So considering everything wood is a much better option for trusses.

For the usage of decking, planks built from the super-qualified wood are being used. The planks have been positioned side by side to connect the different boards on rafters. To make the work fast, they use nails. Rafters are often built with pine or cedar wood, the option does not end here, you can also go with the veneer plank which is going to be 5x long than the wood rafters.

Rafters vs Trusses : Which is Best ?

Rafters vs Trusses

As with most things, there isn’t something ‘better’ or ‘worse’. It depends on your requirements. If you want to quickly complete a project, and time is of the essence, then go with the trusses. You can be set up in less than a day. in most cases are your best shot, because rafters take a long time to install, and you’re going to need skilled roofers to do it.

Even then, if the exact trusses you need for your building aren’t yet manufactured, that can take a very long time, depending on the company, your requirements, and a whole lot of other factors. It also depends on the type of lumber you intend to use, what quality you want, etc.

Trusses are also a lot more stable and less bouncy, due to the triangular webbing, which naturally gives the roof a lot stronger support.

However, if you’re looking for simplicity and space, go for rafters. If you need to store a lot of things in your attic, rafters are a better option, as you’ll be saving a lot of space if you use them. Also, consider whether you’ll need to modify the roof structure in the future – rafters are a good idea in that case.

Check the Size of Your Project

For small projects, like a garage or small addition to an already built house, rafters are a great idea, because you will maximize your space in the already small project. Trusses are also a lot of a hassle, and they may just not be worth it for a small project like a garage. Take all of this into consideration before making your final decision.

Rafters vs Trusses : Conclusion

Building a house is a serious thing, and it requires lots and lots of thought. Decisions you make will last a long time – so you want to see to it that everything is perfect. With the information herein, you should be able to make a proper, informed decision based on your requirements and resources.

Think it out – the size and complexity of your project, the manpower you have at your disposal, what the purpose of the project is, what your plans for the project in the future are. Think it through and make your decision based on what you’ve read. Check out Thehubhaus.com for More info.

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