Everyone knows that a roof is the uppermost part of a building, a row house, bungalow, etc. that is constructed in the form of a framework to give protection to the property against rain, wind, snow, and dust. However, a strong roof must have an equally strong skeleton to be based on.
Roofs come in various sizes and shapes such as Shed, Hip, Flat, Gable, Gambrel, to name a few.
Overwhelmingly popular, Roof Rafters (shown on the left image above) were used in most houses in the past. However, with advanced technology, new construction techniques have started using trusses (shown on the right image above).
Trusses were earlier seen only on huge constructions like Churches, and large structures. Roof rafters and trusses are not the same and there are some unique pros and cons for each one of them. Both the rafters and trusses provide support to the roof and are triangular however.
Containing two main outer beams, rafters support the roof structure. However, trusses consist of multiple beams that provide additional support to the roof structure.
Developed in the middle age, trusses have now become common among the Americans. 4 out of 5 people in the USA prefer trusses over rafters as they are stronger.
Rafters are roof beams that slope from the ridge beam to the top of the wall and have been used since traditional times. Roof rafters are lengthy planks that support the roof sheathing. From the quality point of view, both rafters, as well as trusses, are equally good.
There is no difference in the quality of roofing provided by both. Rafters give a wonderful feeling of open space and look significantly beautiful as an open ceiling. Trusses, on the other hand, give a vaulted ceiling look and do not create a feeling of an open ceiling.
The primary difference between roof rafters and trusses is the method of construction. Trusses are manufactured in the factory within a controlled environment to ensure great quality output. Most trusses plants are automated which means they are built in no time.
Rafters, on the other hand, take a good amount of time as they are built and assembled on-site, one piece at a time. Available at a cheaper cost, roof rafters can be customized at the construction site according to the property’s specifications.
Roof trusses, on the other hand, are engineered and manufactured at the factory and take less time to be installed at the construction site.
However, installing trusses requires exact site specifications as they are pre-assembled and manufactured at the plant unit. Rafters, unlike trusses, do not require advance planning as they are built and installed on-site, where the specifications are available.
As trusses are prefabricated, they may be costlier than rafters, however, the installation and labor cost involved in roof rafters is comparatively higher than trusses.
Rafters could take an entire week to be installed, whereas trusses could be installed in a day, which means trusses could save a lot of time.
However, in case the construction site is located at a remote place where over-sized trucks are not easily accessible, then delivering the finished trusses could be a problem. Since rafters are cut and assembled on-site, the transportation is not something to worry about.
However, installing rafters would be an expensive affair if the cost of lumber is too high. Also, installing a rafter requires a lot of skill. On the other hand, truss comes with a detailed installation manual that does not require any specific skill set.
To choose between Roof rafters and Trusses, the size of the property needs to be taken into consideration. For example, if the house is relevantly small, it is viable to opt for rafters.
Trusses, on the other hand, are suitable for larger structures, as installing trusses on small construction may be a difficult task. Also, installing trusses would require a crane as a pre-built truss is heavy to transport and difficult to lift into place.
One advantage of using rafters is that framing the roof is flexible and can be altered without compromising the structure. However, trusses cannot be altered easily after they have been installed.
Drilling a hole for electricity or even cutting any part of the webbing could undermine the integrity of the structure. For alterations in case of truss roof, a professional engineer’s consultation would be required.
Therefore, it is important to explore the options and get the opinion of a few carpenters, lumber suppliers and truss companies to arrive at a sensible and cost-effective solution.
So, both roof rafters and trusses come with their set of advantages and disadvantages. We cannot tell you which one is the best for you as that is something you need to analyze according to your need. Hence, we have explained you the pros and cons of both rafters and trusses.
So, what have you decided?
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