Roof Rafters vs Trusses

Deciding on whether to install roof rafters or trusses hinges on two important factors: design and installation. Each system has its benefits and drawbacks when it comes to these factors.


A traditional roof design utilizes a ridge beam in conjunction with individual roof rafters. Depending on the pitch, these individual rafters can either be constructed of 2x10s or 2x12s. This design allows for a single rafter to span from the ridge to the exterior wall, which creates the maximum amount of attic space.  A truss roof system does not use a ridge beam as the backbone of the roofing system. Trusses, on the other hand, are pre-engineered with internal webbing to support the span of the roof. These internal support members severely limit the amount of open attic space for storage. 


Installing a truss roof system requires less effort than installing a ridge beam and roof rafter system. Setting a ridge beam is a tough job that requires multiple men. Then there is the added time in cutting each rafter to size and notching the “birds mouth” for the eave. Trusses are fabricated at the factory so they arrive at the job site ready for installation. All that’s required to install this system is to lift the trusses and set them in place.