Roofers say, roof trusses are used in a variety of construction projects where strength and stability are essential to the roof and the overall structure being built. A roof truss is comprised of straight beams formed into triangles, which provide stability and allows for a variety of options when it comes to the expanse you want to cover.

A common mistake is to confuse trusses with rafters, but they’re different. Rafters are most commonly found in older homes, however, most newer homes are made using roof trusses because they’re often cheaper and are installed more quickly, which saves on labor costs.

Also, most trusses are produced in plants with tightly controlled specifications, which means they’re usually higher quality than what you might find with rafters. Lastly, it might take workers a week or so to install rafters, while trusses can be installed in a day on the average house.

There are a wide variety of trusses you can use in the construction of your home, and we’re going to take a look at them and their benefits in this article.

King Post

The King Post truss is perfect for when you have a smaller span to cover such as a garage or small room. The King Post truss utilizes a central vertical post (the king post) and works with tension to support a beam underneath. The advantage of the King Post truss is that it’s able to support a heavy load and can make for a stunning visual when visible.

Queen Post

The Queen Post truss differs from the King Post in that it utilizes two wooden verticals rather than one. Also, the Queen Posts are the tension supports and ensure that the tie beam won’t sag. The advantage to using a Queen Post truss is that it’s more suitable for longer spans, which can be up to 32 feet — double than that of the King Post.

Parallel Chord

This truss is ideal for when you don’t have a lot of money to spend and don’t want to rely on a beam or bearing wall for support. This truss is easy to install, which means lower labor costs, and they look great when used with cathedral ceilings. The major downside is that they’re not ideal if you have a lengthy span, but for smaller applications, you should be quite happy with the result.

Dropped Chord

This type of truss is comprised of two sections: a conventional truss and an additional truss suspended below. This design is ideal for those who want to insulate their attics fully, however, the downside to this is that it can be pricey to install.

Scissor Truss

The Scissor Truss is another type of truss commonly used in cathedral ceilings and is one of the most common types of trusses found in newer residential homes. Because of their practicality, these trusses are relatively inexpensive to install, maintain and repair. However, because of their design, there’s often not a lot of space left for insulation in the attic.

Raised Heel Truss

Another popular type of truss found in today’s houses is the Raised Heel Roof truss. This truss is popular because it allows for ample insulation and offers superior support. However, the main downside to this is that you might find that you need to add additional materials to this truss to get it to work with your particular setup, which means that installation can become expensive. On the other hand, this truss is extremely versatile and easy to customize and can be fitted to virtually any home design.

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Pratt Truss

The Pratt Truss is one of the most widely used steel roof trusses because it offers superior support and is relatively inexpensive to install. What stands out about this truss is that the verticals create the tension and the diagonals create compression. The Pratt Truss is mostly used for medium sized expanses.

Howe Truss

The Howe Truss uses both steel and wood for its materials, which makes for a visually stunning and classic design when used in the right context. Because the Howe truss incorporates steel into the design, it’s incredibly stable and long-lasting, plus it’s able to hold a heavy load. Another advantage to this truss is that it can be used in wide spans of nearly 60 feet. And, because it offers so much stability, and can be used for small, medium and large spans, it’s one of the most versatile trusses you can use.

Which Is Best For Your Home

As mentioned, most older homes were built using rafters, and some houses are still made that way today. However, if you’re building a new home and you want a unique look, you should opt for some type of truss. The kind of truss you use will depend on how large of a span you have to cover and your budget.

Roof trusses will save you money on labor costs because they go in more quickly and are easier to install.

However, if you’re looking for a large, open-air space in your attic, then you still might want to choose rafters, because while there are roof trusses that allow for larger areas, none allow for the amount of space that rafters provide. Also, if you have a small project, like a garage, shed or small addition to your home, rafters are probably the better choice because you can usually complete the project more quickly; trusses generally have to be designed according to your specifications, which can take several weeks to complete.

Both rafters and trusses can provide a unique and visually appealing look for your home if you go for an exposed look, although trusses tend to look a bit more stylish, which is something to keep in mind.

Before you make your choice, it’s advised that you discuss prices and options with a few different roofing contractors to see what cost you’re looking at for both systems, and which is most recommended for your home.