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Roof Framing Construction

Common Roof Framing Construction Methods

By Mark J. Donovan

The two most common roof framing construction methods are stick roof framing and truss roof framing. In most cases stick framed roofs are constructed on the job site, where as roof trusses are pre-manufactured and delivered to the job site.

Stick Framed Roofs

Stick roof framing construction involves the use of individual roof rafters. The roof rafters are attached above the ceiling joists, and between the top plate of exterior walls and the roof ridgeboard, to form a series of triangles along the length of the roof.


In many cases horizontal collar ties are fastened between opposite roof rafters to add strength to the roof. In addition, when there are long roof rafters involved, horizontal purlins and vertical struts are used to beef up and support the roof rafters. Roof rafters are typically spaced on either 16 or 24 inch centers, and are located directly over wall studs. For stronger roof construction, 16 inch center spacing should be used.

Stick framed roof construction is used on all types of homes, however it is most commonly used on homes with dormers and/or cathedral ceilings.

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Trussed Framed Roofs

Truss roof framing construction involves the use of pre-built triangular shaped trusses. Truss construction consists of several framing members that are tied together via gusset plates. The truss framing members include upper and lower chords, that are respectively similar to roof rafters and ceiling joists employed with stick roof framing construction.


In addition, interior web members are fastened in between the upper and lower chords to improve strength. Roof trusses typically are constructed out of lighter weight and smaller lumber material than stick framed roofs.

Truss framing is commonly used on gable and hip style roofs. Like stick framed roofs, roof trusses are typically spaced on 16 or 24 inch centers and are placed directly over wall studs. As with stick framed roofs, 16 inch spacing is better for creating a stronger roof.


A crane is commonly employed to lift and position roof trusses in place. Because they are specifically engineered for a certain roof strength, roof trusses should never be cut. Consequently, due to their interior web members and the fact that they cannot be cut, trusses severely limit attic space usage.

For a comprehensive new home construction checklist, see my New Home Construction Bid Sheet. The New Home Construction Bid Sheet provides a request for quote checklist section that you can provide to prospective building contractors. It also includes a comprehensive new home construction cost breakdown table, in Microsoft Excel format, that allows the contractor to include his projected new home construction costs for every phase of the project.


How to Finance your New Home Construction Project -  can help provide funds for your new home improvement project if financing is required.


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