Rafters vs Trusses: What Is the Difference and How To Build Each
Roofs are one of the most important parts of any structure, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Two of the most popular types of roofs are the rafter and the truss, and it’s important to choose the right one for your structure. In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between rafters and trusses, the pros and cons of each, and how to build each type of roof.
Whether you’re building a shed, garage, or even an entire house, understanding the differences between these two types of roofs will help you choose the right one for your needs. Let’s dive in and explore the differences and similarities between rafters and trusses.
What are Rafters and Trusses
Rafters are beams that support the roof of a building. They typically run from the ridge board at the apex of the roof rafters down to the wall plates at either end of the building. Rafters get built on-site using lumber.
Trusses are pre-made frames designed to support the roof of a building. The truss frame consists of connected triangular pieces fastened with nails or bolts. Trusses are pre-manufactured off-site in a factory and brought to your construction site for installation.
Before you can begin building either type of roof frame, you must accurately calculate the sizes of all parts. With rafters, you will need to determine the size and spacing for each member that makes up the roof frame. When making your calculations, you will also need to account for factors such as pitch, spans, weather conditions, and wind loads.
With trusses, you will also need to calculate pitch, spans, weather conditions, and wind loads. However, since trusses are pre-manufactured in a factory, with most of these calculations will already be done for you. You will need to select the appropriate truss size based on your project specifications.
Once you have completed your calculations and determined what type of roof frame to use, you can obtain all the necessary construction materials. For rafters, you will need timber or lumber with appropriate lengths and sizes for making rafters according to your calculations. Additionally, you will need metal connectors such as joist hangers and tie plates to secure rafters into place, along with nails and screws for fastening them together.
For trusses, you will need nails or bolts for fastening them together when they arrive on-site and other roofing materials, such as sheathing boards and tiles or shingles, that will cover up the trusses once installed.
To build rafters onsite, lay out your lumber on a flat surface so that each piece is aligned properly according to size and length, as per your calculations from earlier. Cut each piece using a handsaw according to your specifications before assembly. Join each piece at its ends with metal connectors such as joist hangers or tie plates before hammering them into place using nails or screws with a cordless drill or impact driver for additional strength. Once you have joined all the pieces properly, lift them onto your walls so that they rest against the ridge board at either end before driving nails through them into place for extra stability.
Installing pre-made truss frames is much simpler than building rafters from scratch since all the necessary calculations and cutting have already been done in a factory beforehand. To install trusses onsite, start by laying them out according to their positions along your walls until all frames have been laid out properly in location before beginning installation with bolts or nails driven into their joints with a hammer or power drill for extra stability and strength before proceeding with sheathing boards and tiles or shingles over the top for additional insulation and protection from weather elements once they have been installed securely in place against your walls.
It’s important to understand the differences between rafters and trusses before starting your roofing project. Each type has its benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to research and decide which option is best for your needs. Proper planning and calculations allow you to choose the right roofing solution to complete your project successfully.