Roof Trusses or Roof Rafters - Which is better?

Building a new home involves a lot of decision making and can leave you pondering over certain decisions. A main point surrounding the construction of a property is the decision over deciding which will be a better fit regarding the roof. Rafters or trusses?

Traditional Rafters 

Traditionally, homes were built with traditional rafters, which are a series of sloped structural beams that extend from the ridge or hip to the wall plate. They are intended to support the roof deck and the loads that come as a part of it. The board at the peak of the rafters tie into the ridge board, with horizontal members running half way down their collar ties. These collar ties work to hold the rafters and roof planes.

Roof Trusses 

The next question is why are traditional rafters not used as much these days? Well, it’s primarily because roof trusses (the alternative) have replaced them as they are less expensive and serve the same purpose. Roof trusses have smaller wooden members that have been engineered to provide similar strength without all of the expensive wood. This basically means that roof trusses area more efficient with both labour and materials. Trusses built in a manufacturing plant provide a controlled environment to give the highest quality possible and in a controlled output manner. As the construction of roof trusses can now be automated, it is easier for trusses to be built rather than the lengthy time of producing and installing rafters. Roof rafters are considered to be pretty ‘big’ jobs to install in comparison to roof trusses. Experienced construction firms can install the roof trusses in a single day, whereas roof rafters can take up to a week to complete.

Open designs

Rafter so have a major benefit that encourages some people to go ahead and use them over trusses. Rafters can create loads of space, allowing an open area within the roof. Although trusses do open a vaulted space, they do not do it as well as rafters. These are also good for creating space for living areas as they open up the space to provide maximum storage and living area. Insulation goes in between rafters and drywalls are applied to each face of each member. Trusses do also do this, but again, not as effectively.

Lead times 

The lead times vary from structure to structure, but it is generally considered that roof trusses may take a little longer due to engineering and drawings. Rafters can get your started up quicker and initially seem to be the better prospect to those hoping to finish within a timescale. Many people believe that waiting for your custom roof trusses are the better option, whereas other disagree. It’s down to personal preference.

Rafters for small projects 

When someone is working on a relatively small job, it often makes sense o use rafters. For example, should you be make a small addition to your home, you may not need to go through the hassle of getting a roof truss design and layout. A new garage is an example of a project where someone may choose to use rafters rather than trusses. Again, it depends on the circumstances and preferences. ‘Out of the way’ projects Some people may have a project that is located remotely, or ‘out of the way’. It could be on an island, up a hill or within a mountain. This can make it difficult and expensive to get roof trusses to the location due to their bulk. Depending on the configuration of the roof, trusses can be long and wide, meaning they cold need a large lorry to transport it.


 Quality between trusses and rafters is pretty much nothing. Unless you are going for an exposed look, the end result will often be the same or very similar no matter which option you choose. Often the decision will come down to cost, which results in trusses being selected. You should be sure to research and price out both options to various contractors and get details of the service and procedure required. This should allow you to select the best option from the information you have gathered. Following this guide will give you a brief overview to roof trusses and rafters. Aber Roof Truss Ltd offer a specialist service to those after a cost effective, excellent quality, quick turnaround and successful project regarding the roof structure of a project. For more information visit their website.