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Rafters vs. Trusses: Which is Best?

Roof rafters

Building a new home is an exciting process, but it also comes with a ton of questions. Homeowners often leave all the details to contractors, but it behooves you to pay attention to some areas of the home construction project – like the structure of your roof. Your Kansas City roofers will want to know whether you want rafters or trusses on your house. If you don’t know the difference, you could be in trouble.

What’s the Difference?

First, let’s define our terms.

A rafter is a traditional means of framing a roof and is built with stick framing. This means each rafter is built on-site during the construction process. Every piece is measured, cut, and fastened together by hand, making it labor-intensive.

A truss is a prefabricated triangular structure that’s built to support the roof above while tying the walls together below.

Here’s a quick way to remember this. Trusses arrive at the job site already assembled. Rafters have to be built at the job site. Both provide similar strength and support.

The Desired Look of Your Home

The choice between trusses and rafters can impact the overall look of your home, so this is something to consider as you map out how you want your house to look.

One of the major benefits of rafters is the openness they provide. If you like the look of vaulted ceilings, rafters are the definite choice. Rafters are also more effective than trusses in creating another living space. Homes built with rafters offer a viable space above the garage or in an attic that can later be built out into another bedroom or office space. 

While trusses are more commonly used and provide equal or greater strength than rafters, they don’t give homeowners as much versatility.

Cost Comparisons

The second thing to consider for your Kansas City roof is the price tag. Trusses are the less expensive option between the two. Mass-production brings the price down, making trusses a great choice for budget-minded homeowners. On the flip side, trusses are bulky and can be difficult to maneuver into tight building sites. If this is your situation, you may need to hire a crane to get them to the job site, incurring extra expense. Rafters may be a better option for you. While they cost more initially, you may come out about the same since you won’t need to rent pricey cranes and booms to have them delivered. 

The Timeline

Your timeline is also something to consider when it comes to your Kansas City roof. Since rafters are cut and built on the job site, they can be fabricated as the need arises, while trusses have to be ordered to specification ahead of time. Rafters take much longer to install (up to a week) overall, while trusses can often be installed in one day. But you have to plan ahead to get the order in so that the trusses are ready when your Kansas City roofers are ready for them. 

Our Kansas City Roofers Are Here to Help!

As with everything, there are pros and cons to both rafters and trusses. In short, it’s a matter of preference based on your unique circumstance. However, if you need further help sorting out the differences, give our team at Shamrock Roofing and Construction a call. When it comes to roofing in Kansas City, we have over 55 years of experience. We’re happy to consult with you on the best choice of structure for your new Kansas City roof. Give us a call today!