Rafters vs Trusses – Difference Between Rafter and Truss

Rafters and trusses are not same and there are many differences between these two. As there are confusions on rafters and trusses, we decided to cover this topic in this post.

Rafters

The quality of Rafters is the same as the quality of Trusses unless you have decided to opt for an exposed rafter look, otherwise the results are the same in terms of quality if you go for Rafters or Trusses. The only difference is in the cost of having the Rafters or Trusses installed, and it is up to you to get a quote for each. When using Rafters, you are using dimensional lumber to hold up the roof. Rafters are often built one piece at a time, and it is often done on-site.

Trusses

Using Trusses allows you to create a vaulted ceiling. They are not as efficient at opening up space as Rafters may be, but in all they create the same space. The only difference is that it is not done as efficiently. Trusses need engineering and drawing in order to complete the project, which means they do tend to take longer to install than Rafters. It seems that new homes are made more with Trusses rather than rafters. Trusses are built in factories and shipped, which means they may be expensive to buy, but they are quicker to install. If the cost of installing Rafters is higher because of the skilled-staff hours involved, then it may be better to go for Trusses.


example of truss

Rafter vs Truss

It may be difficult to choose if you want Rafters or Trusses, so here is a table of rafter vs truss showing and comparing the features and elements of both. Also see the images below for proper understanding.

Truss vs Rafter

Rafter

Truss

  • The quality of Rafters is very good.
  • The quality of Trusses is also very good.
  • Rafters have shorter lead times.
  • Trusses take longer to install but require less staff members to do it.
  • Rafters tend to be built on-site in pieces
  • Trusses can be built in a factory and shipped to the location.
  • Rafters are better for smaller constructions such as smaller houses, sheds and garages.
  • Trusses are better for larger structures, as they may be too difficult to install on smaller buildings.
  • Rafters take longer to install on-site.
  • Trusses take less time to install, but often cost more than Rafters.
  • More staff hours are needed to install Rafters, but they do not need a crane in order to install them.
  • A crane must often be used to install Trusses. You can see this post about the types of cranes available.
  • The lumber for Rafters is cheap compared to Trusses, but require a lot of skill to install.
  • Prefabricated Trusses are often expensive, but do come with very detailed installation instructions and require less skill to install.

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