Rafters vs. Trusses: Know The Difference

Rafters vs. Trusses

Building a home of your own is one of the most significant milestones that we strive to achieve in our lives. So it becomes essential that you build a solid home to remain worry-free. Today, we will be talking about one of the most important aspects of a home, roofing. To build a strong roof, you need to have a strong roof foundation, i.e., a strong frame. To build this frame, you have to decide between two popular choices, Rafters vs. Trusses. 

We will examine both these options and assist you in making the right decision for your home. Read on.


These roof rafters have been in use for quite some time now. Rafters are the vertical wooden posts that support a building’s roof. These are in the form of slopes installed in a series and connect to your exterior walls.

While there were many names for rafters, such as stick or collar, they all serve the same purpose, to spread the roof’s weight evenly over the walls and prevent them from getting crushed by the heavy load. Rafters are usually made of wood and can be customized to fit your needs.

What is the size of these rafters?

These rafters can come in multiple sizes, with the most popular sizes being 2″×10″ and 2″×12″.

Advantages Of Rafters

Even after being the most traditional frames, rafters are still the first choice of many people, thanks to their host of advantages. Some of them are as follows:

Allows More Room In The Attic

Most homeowners in Denver use the attic to store their belongings and thus prefer a bigger attic space. Rafters help leave a vast space in your attic. So, If you are also not a fan of cramped attic living and need more space for storing various items, constructing a rafter attic is a great solution. 

Add Style To Your Ceiling

Roof rafters also allow you to add to the visual appeal of your ceiling. If you want to add a ceiling accent such as a curved or vaulted ceiling, rafters leave attic space for the structure necessary to support the outer casing of your chosen style. 

Easier For Insulation

Attic insulation and other efficiency-related measures are easier to install in rafter construction homes. Since there is an open space under the roof, homeowners can easily access the area around their ceiling and make these changes without worrying about cutting through the roof or penetrating the attic floor.

No Lead Time

You do not need much planning if you want to install rafters. They don’t need to be made ahead of time. The professional framing contractors will build the rafters using wood on the site only. This removes the need for ordering in advance – you only pay for them when you need them. 

Disadvantages Of Rafters

Despite its advantages, the rafters have certain shortcomings as well. Let’s take a look at each of them:

  • Slower, Costlier System

The old way of building rafters on-site is a tedious process. It’s challenging to guarantee proper quality control with on-site labor because so many different people are working at once. This makes this process slow, labor-intensive, and difficult to scale. This can lead to a longer lead time for your project and higher costs associated with labor.

  • High Specialization Required

Not only more labor but highly specialized labor is required. There are so many different angles that need to be correct to build a roof properly – the rafter angle, the ridge angle, etc. It’s hard to get them right by eye, and many amateur builders end up with mistakes that can make or break a home.

We have gone through the rafters and their pros and cons. Now let’s move to the other side of the rafters vs. trusses debate. 


Roof trusses are an excellent alternative to traditional rafters. Over the years, these have almost replaced the rafters and are used by the majority of people for the framing of the roof. So what are Trusses? 

Trusses are the type of structures used for roof frames usually made from much larger pieces of lumber than rafters and feature support beams that are evenly spaced to help prevent twisting and bending during heavy winds. 

They can also make construction faster since they are typically factory-made and delivered on-site! They’re built from lightweight wood materials and come in the size of 2x8s or 2x10s.

Advantages Of Trusses

Trusses have overshadowed their counterpart’s rafters and find themselves in most homes because of their benefits. Some of these benefits are: 

Affordable Cost

The cost of prefabricated truss packages is dramatically lower than the cost of building rafters on site. This is because the overhead required to build materials, especially if they need to be transported over long distances, means that the cost of rafters will easily be more.

Factory-Rated Quality

Sub-par or faulty material can lead to easy damage. But this is not the case with trusses. These are created in factories, and the professionals control the level of quality because they can make sure that every piece fits together perfectly. With this level of precision, a robust roof design is possible — leading to better insulation and higher energy efficiency.


Trusses are easier to manage — and faster to install. These trusses are small enough to be manually lifted by two or three workers, which is the case for many residential projects — an entire roof can be trussed in just one or two days.

Limitations Of Trusses

Wood trusses are not perfect. They can make your house look great, but they also have a few drawbacks. Here are a few of them:

  1. Reduced Attic Space

If you plan to use the attic for storage or want to convert the attic into extra rooms in the future, a truss system is not appropriate. Although the attic space is open, it is segmented by the roof’s trusses and impossible to convert into living space. Because of this, attic storage becomes very difficult.

  1. Less Flexible

Roof trusses have no room to be modified, altered, or changed — unless you’re willing to compromise the roof structure. Once a roof truss is installed, it can’t be tweaked. Any changes made to a roof truss will be felt throughout the roof structure and may cause leaks or wind uplift issues.

  1. Up-Front Costs

Custom trusses are made to order, requiring additional time on a factory floor before they can be shipped. This means that the up-front cost of custom trusses will be higher than the raw materials needed to build conventional rafters. 

Looking For Roof Installation In Denver?

Now that you are familiar with both rafters and trusses, and their respective benefits and limitations, you can now decide. 

At Sol Vista Roofing, we can provide you with the best roof installation and other related services in Denver, Colorado. Our crew has a combined experience of more than 20 years in both commercial and residential roofing services. Be it shingle roofing or metal roofing, and we provide it all. Contact us now on (720) 712-3516.