Parts of a Roof Truss Explained

A framed roof.

Before you can use roof truss on a roofing job, you’ll need to know a little bit about this essential construction piece. In simplest terms, a truss is the framed grouping of rafters under your house’s roof. It provides support, which allows for a far wider space between walls that provided by more traditional methods of framing. Additionally, trusses open up the possibility for many more shapes to be used when carrying out a roof design due to their inherent flexibility. It’s also worth noting that trusses are comprised of wood, a renewable resource, which is also a building method that is easier on the environment. Here is a guide to roof truss parts and terms.

Here are a roof truss’ basic parts and terms:

Top Chord

The primary segment of the roof truss that runs along the underside and supports its decking.


This is the roof’s steepness measurement. For instance, say your roof is 5” in 12”; it’s telling you the roof is raised four inches for each horizontal 12-inch run.


The pitch factor is necessary for figuring out the sorts of materials that can be utilized and how long the roof can stretch. Normally, a steeper roof (or, in other words, one higher pitched) will be more long-lasting because of its better drainage setup.


This is exactly what you might guess it is; the truss’ highest point.


This beam projects into space, and is anchored at one side.

Bottom Chord

In contrast to the top chord, this bottom chord runs between supports on the lower side.


This roof truss segment extends outside a building’s outside walls.

Knowing a little bit about what a roof truss is, and its different parts, should help you better grasp how to work with one when doing roofing work.