Traditionally, rafters were one of the only ways to construct a roof. However, trusses have recently become much more common practice thanks to their strong yet lightweight nature. In this blog we'll go through the difference between the two, along with the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Advantages of trusses
Self supporting: Trusses are designed in such a way that they can support themselves, rather than having to rely on bearings and other components. That being said, it's still advantageous to consider bearings when selecting your trusses as it'll provide a little more support. If you're designing more of an open plan home, opting for trusses means you'll require fewer (if any) supporting walls, giving you more design freedom.
Quick to install: Trusses are made offsite and are ready to be installed straight away upon delivery. Compare this to rafters that require assembling by skilled carpenters and you'll save a fair chunk of potential labour costs.
Greater span: Trusses will span greater distances than rafters, giving you more flexibility during the design stage of your build.
Cost: Although the initial cost of trusses might be higher, the end result can be up to 50% cheaper when you factor in the increased labour of constructing rafters.
Less environmental impact: Trusses require less timber to construct and, in our case, go through a specialised piece of equipment than minimises wastage by using offcuts for other jobs. We aim for under 5% waste for each job.
Disadvantages of trusses
Storage: Trusses are pretty big things and can't be stored easily. We'd recommend having your trusses delivered for the same day (or as near as possible) to the day of installation to avoid a) the trusses being left out in the elements or b) taking up too much space on site.
You might need a crane: As trusses are effectively one large piece, they can be fairly awkward to handle in larger sizes. Having a crane on site is a good idea to avoid potential headaches.
There's a good reason the vast majority of new homes use trusses—their advantages are great and disadvantages minimal. There are various types of trusses, too, including raised tie to increase living space, attic trusses to provide an additional floor of liveable space, and many more. You can shop all of our trusses here.