Rafters Vs Trusses For A Shed

Erin Browne

Rafters are often used to construct shed roofs because they are strong and easy to install.

However, they can require skilled labor. Trusses are used to build sheds because they are faster than rafters.

Trusses are stronger than rafters, but they’re also harder to make – they’re usually done in a factory.

Rafters are easy to build if you know how, but they aren’t as precisely built as trusses.

They can still be a fantastic choice, however! This guide will help you make the choice!

What Are Rafters?

A rafter is a wooden beam used to support an upper structure such as a roof or ceiling.

Rafters are short beams, usually made out of wood. Rafters are often used to support ceilings. Rafters are also used to create more space inside a house.

Rafter Advantages

Rafters are ideal for creating a dramatic vaulted ceiling. They’re also easy to transport.

You can bring them into your house using a pickup truck or boat. They can even be flown into remote areas. They’re pricey, but you’ll save money over other options.

Rafters are used when you want something quick and easy. You can use them for small projects.

This is because rafters can be built in situ as and when required. Trusses are manufactured with precise measurements, which takes a lot more time.

Rafters are a great way to increase head height in the attic without blocking off the entire roof.

Rafter construction is very useful when you need to build something high up on a mountain or other hard to reach location. Rafters can be easily transported by boat, helicopter, or truck.

Rafter Disadvantages

Rafters can take a lot longer to build, and can need more skilled labor. Workers with the skills to build rafters are increasingly hard to come by.

With the walls up, and the rafters built, you can expect a lengthy process to finish the building. Adverse weather could make this process even longer.

A licensed builder who struggles to get measurements and angles right would be unable to produce 20 or more identical rafters.

Rafters are used for specialty projects. Trusses are used for most projects.

Rafter roofs require a lot of planning and precision. You need to determine the angle of each rafter, and then cut them precisely. This is done by using a saw or jigsaw.

You should make sure you do your homework before starting a project. Birdsmouth cuts allow the roof to sit flat without being too high or low.

Getting this cut and your ridge cuts executed properly, so both joint connections make a flush connection to the ridge board and shed walls is crucial.

You need to do this for every rafter you use, making rafter construction time-consuming and somewhat tedious.


Rafters are very useful when building a house because they allow for extra space in the attic area, and they also provide an opportunity to create cathedral ceilings.

Sheds can use rafters as well, but they need to be built differently than houses.

Rafter roofs are made up of planks or wooden boards that are held together with nails. This allows them to be easily assembled and disassembled.

Customization is possible because you can choose what type of wood you use and how much you need.


Rafters are usually made by cutting pieces of wood into smaller pieces. People who make rafters need to know how to cut them correctly.

This is because if you cut them wrong, then your house won’t have a stable structure.

Rafters should be calculated based on the size of the roof. You may use any type of wood as long as it meets the requirements of the building code.

What Are Trusses?

Trusses are simple structures made out of wood. They are used to support roofs or walls.

They are easy to install because they are pre-built. You can buy them ready to go.

A truss is made using many individual pieces of wood called truss rods. These rods are connected together by other wooden parts called truss plates.

Trusses are strong because they use lots of different types of wood.

A truss web is a triangular piece of wood used as a support beam or roof ridge.

Trusses are usually constructed by laying out the pieces of lumber on the ground and connecting them together using nails.

Top chords are horizontal beams that support the roof. Bottom chords are vertical beams that support the top chords at their bases.

Trusses are used to make a roof stronger. A truss web is made up of pieces of wood that are connected together.

The truss web provides more strength than a collar tie because it goes from the center of the base of the kingpost to the center of each peak.

Metal gussets are used to join the boards together. Gussets are used to connect the boards together. Trusses are prefabbed in a warehouse and then sent to a job site for assembly.

Sheds are usually built with trusses, but some people make them without trusses. Trusses are used to support roofs and ceilings.

They are often attached to walls and floors. Some people use trusses to create an open ceiling. Shed kits can be constructed with trusses or without trusses.

Sheds can be designed as open-ceilinged or closed.

Trusses are made by connecting multiple pieces of wood together. This means that you might well need to do less work to fit them yourself, depending on your skill level.

You could save money by using trusses instead of hiring professionals to do this work.


Trusses are prefabricated pieces of wood that are used to support roofs or walls.

They are sometimes cheaper than building them on-site because they are already manufactured, which can save on labor time for bigger projects.

They are more accurate than building them on-location because they are designed by computer.

Roofs need to be protected from weather damage. Trusses should be installed quickly. Shingles should go on quickly as well.

Framing needs to be done carefully, and it shouldn’t be exposed to weather for too long.

Trusses are great for building bridges or supporting roofs. Their webbed design makes them very strong.

Truss spans can reach up to 60 feet. According to the American Wood Council, the maximum span for rafters is around 30 feet, and that’s with a relatively light load of 20 lbs per square foot.

As load increases, the span length decreases for snow in northern climates, or for heavy roofing materials like tile.

DIY friendly construction means you might not need to hire professionals to do your work. You get everything you need to complete the job yourself.

Instructions are included for installing trusses. There are trusses of different types, and they are numbered for easy identification.


Trusses are great if you want to build something really tall. But they’re heavy and expensive.

And they take time to assemble. So why use trusses? Because they’re strong and easy to install.

Roof trusses limit what you can do with your ceiling. Flat ceilings make it hard to install an attic ceiling.

You won’t be able to use your attic space as much as you’d like because trusses make attic conversions impossible. They also limit the use of an attic as storage.

Trusses are interdependent and can’t be modified or removed after fabrication. Drilling holes into them can cause damage to the structure.

Trusses are large and strong, but heavy too. They need several people to carry them. The trusses must be delivered by forklift.


Trusses are made in a factory using precise measurement and cutting machines. These machines ensure that the trusses are built correctly.

Building trusses takes less time than building them by hand. Trusses are more precise than rafters because they are made in a factory with computers.

Roof trusses are strong enough to hold up heavy loads, such as snow or rain. They are also easy to install. Prefabrication allows them to be shipped easily.

Trusses are used to make roofs sturdy and weatherproof.

Prefabricated trusses are more expensive than building them yourself. Building them yourself takes less time because you’re doing everything by hand.

You can use a jig or other tools to make sure that the trusses are built correctly. 

There’s no waste from cutting lumber. But, prefabricated trusses can be more expensive depending on the circumstances.


There are some notable cons to roof trusses. Roof trusses are heavy and need to be installed by at least two people.

A shed may not require a crane for installing trusses, but the trusses themselves are still heavy and bulky enough to require more than one person.

You need strong beams to support heavy loads. Your roof needs to be sturdy enough to withstand the weight of snow and ice.

What Are Trusses Made From?

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Trusses are strong structures typically made out of wood beams. These beams are usually glued together to form a stronger structure.

Sometimes, the trusses are reinforced with thin pieces of wood.

Metal roofs are often used instead of timber. However, they aren’t always better. Wood is more durable in some climates and insulates better, and it requires less maintenance.

Metal roofs tend to rust easily in some climates, and as such they don’t always last as long as timber.

Fir is the most commonly used type of wood for making roof trusses because it is easy to work with and available in large quantities.

However, it requires gluing to reinforce the beams. Yellow pine is often used when there is no available fir. Red cedar is also used, but it costs more than other types of wood.

For decking, planed wooden boards are used. These boards are placed side-by-side to intersect each other on rafters.

The roof rafters are then fastened securely with nails. Most roof rafters are made of either cedar or pine.

But there are also laminated veneer planks that are up to five times longer than wood rafters.

Making Your Own Trusses

If you’re very skilled with wood, you can build your own trusses. Building your own trusses takes time.

You should plan ahead and make sure you have enough space for storing your trusses. Trusses can warp if they get wet, so make sure they’re covered up.

Installing Trusses

Roofs should be built with steel beams (trusses) to support the weight of heavy objects.

Trusses are attached to the walls by clips. Trusses are lifted to the roof by machinery because of their weight. 

Temporary cross-braces will be needed to hold the trusses together while the sheathing is being applied.

After the sheathing is in place, temporary cross-braces will hold the trusses in position as well.

Rafter Construction

Rafters are large pieces of wood used to support roofs. They are often used in conjunction with other materials such as concrete or metal.

Pre-cut rafter boards make the job easier because they are uniform and width. They are also lighter than whole logs.

Because they are cut into smaller parts, they are more manageable. This makes them easy to carry up to the roof.

A ceiling joist is an important part of a building structure. It holds up the roof and supports the floors below. In this case, the ceiling joist is attached by means of a collar tie.

This type of connection is not always used. There are many different types of connections that could be used instead.

The collar tie is a simple method for attaching two pieces of wood together. Truss clips are used to attach trusses to walls. They are also used to attach rafters to the wall.

Which Are Better For Building Sheds?

Trusses are used when building houses or buildings because they’re strong and sturdy. They can span large distances and hold up heavy loads.

Rafters are used when building roofs because they are easy to install and maintain. They are also more flexible and easier to use than trusses.

Trusses are very strong structures that provide stability. They’re often used to make roofs stronger and more secure.

Roof trusses are used to cover large spaces, such as barns and warehouses. Rafters are usually used to create vaulted ceilings.

They are made of wood planks that connect together. A traditional roof consists of two rows of rafters. These are placed perpendicular to each other and span the width of the building.

Trusses are more popular now than rafters because they’re easier to make. But truss makers can use scraps to make them stronger.

Trusses are stronger than rafters, because they are more efficient. Rafters are heavier, but trusses use up less wood.

Rafters are stronger than trusses, but trusses are more cost-effective. Trusses are also easier to install than rafters.

Trusses should be considered when building a lean-to style shed. They’re needed for larger sheds with this type of roofing.

Roofs with trusses are strong enough to support wide spans. A roof with trusses can hold up a larger roof than a roof without trusses.

Octagonal and pyramid shaped roofs can only be made with rafters. Hip and ridge beam roofs can be supported by rafters or trusses.

There are significant cost differences when comparing a truss-style roof to a rafter style roof.

A truss style roof requires less material and fewer cuts. This means that it  can cost less money. 

However, there are some drawbacks to this type of roof.

First, truss style roofs can require more work because you must cut each piece individually sometimes if you’re doing custom work.

Second, truss style roofs are harder to install. Third, truss style roofs often leak. Fourth, truss style roofs can be difficult to repair.

Ultimately, the choice has to come down to your personal needs. Both are valid choices.


Roof trusses and rafters are both strong and functional. Both require some skill and experience to install properly.

Rafters Vs Trusses For A Shed

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