• Rainy Day Exteriors

Rafters and Trusses – What are They and Why are They Important?


The roof of your home in Gig Harbor, Tacoma, or Port Orchard is made up of several different components. This includes shingles, tar paper, and soffits. But what about the structural aspects of your roof, which included your roof’s trusses and rafters? Let’s better understand what these are, and why they are important to the health of your roof system.


First, let’s clarify the difference between a truss and rafter.


Rafters are built to fit your home and are assembled and installed on the job site to ensure they fit perfectly. Rafters come off the peak of the roof and are attached to the tops of the outside walls of your home and support your roof load.


Trusses are pre-engineered and build in a factory and carry the load of the roof to the outside walls. These are installed by crane after the walls have been framed. These are often made up of several smaller triangles to help increase the strength of each truss.


Fun fact, trusses can span 60 feet!


You don’t have to use both – in fact, it’s more common in newer homes to just have trusses.


So, let’s discuss the pros and cons of both:


Advantage of Rafters

One of the most significant advantages of rafters is that they allow for more ceiling height in your attic. And while you might not want to create a bedroom in your attic today, having the space available is a bonus.


And since rafters are built onsite, they are ideal for cabins or other secluded properties.


Disadvantages of Rafters

A major disadvantage with rafters is their price, and the time required to assemble and build them onsite.


Advantages of Trusses

Trusses have their advantages. The most significant advantages being their price and the accuracy of their construction. Because they are built in a factory, you are able to assemble them quickly and with far better accuracy than in the field.


Disadvantages of Trusses

Because they arrive already assemble, they are quite heavy and cumbersome to install. You will likely need a crane or lift to help with installation. And because they arrive already assembled, you can alter them.


They also take up a good amount of space in the attic, so there won’t be room for a finished attic down they road.


So, what does this have to do with roofing? Well, at Rainy Day Exteriors, we want you to be an informed consumer. Let’s say you want to eventually finish your attic, but realize you have trusses instead of rafters. You will be able to better understand the options you have with your home.

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