Done correctly, both rafters (also known as stick framing) and trusses are excellent roof support systems for homes. While rafters are the conventional means of supporting a residential roof, they're less and less used these days due to the increasing popularity of truss systems.
In roof construction, a truss refers to a type of roof support that's made by joining straight structural members together in a triangular shape. The ends of these members are connected by welding or bolting. Roof truss systems are favoured over traditional stick framing for a variety of reasons. Check out some of the unique advantages of supporting your residential roof with roof trusses.
1. Lightweight Construction
Because fewer pieces of structural material are used in their construction, trusses are generally lighter compared to the weight of equivalent traditional stick framing systems. This makes them easier and faster to install, resulting in money saved on labour costs. Builders can then speed up the building time enough to construct more houses annually.
2. Quality Control
One of the major downsides of traditional rafters is that they're assembled in an environment where external factors such as rain, heat, cold and wind can affect the quality of the installation process. Unlike traditional rafters, trusses are made at an off-site facility in a controlled environment where achieving high integrity and dimensional accuracy is possible. The prefabrication of trusses delivers products that are designed and engineered for your specific project.
3. Longer Spans
Compared to rafters, truss systems can span greater distances without requiring structural support. The increased strength of trusses leads to requiring fewer interior load-bearing walls, allowing for a more open floor plan in a home.
4. Less Construction Waste
Because trusses are delivered to the construction site ready for final assembly and installation, less waste is produced on-site. This reduces the cost of removing waste from the site after the project is complete.
5. Preserving Natural Resources
Because smaller amounts of material are used to make them, trusses help preserve planet Earth's limited supply of timber and steel — the two main materials used to make trusses. This helps to reduce the environmental impact associated with the manufacture of structural elements used in the construction of roof support systems.
While roof trusses are a great choice for your home, there are situations when it may be best to use traditional rafters. Before you choose trusses, make sure you talk to a roofing contractor about your needs.