What is a roof truss

Understanding Roof Trusses and How to Install Them: A Comprehensive Guide

Roof trusses play a pivotal role in the construction of a stable and structurally sound roof. Whether you're embarking on a new home construction project or renovating an existing one, understanding the essence of roof trusses and mastering the art of their installation is imperative. 

This comprehensive guide will help you in understanding more about roof trusses. We will explore the various types, decipher the critical distinctions between trusses and rafters, and provide a detailed, step-by-step installation process.

What Are Roof Trusses?

At its core, a roof truss is a pre-fabricated, engineered component that constitutes the framework of a roof's structure. These components typically take the form of triangular-shaped units, constructed from materials such including timber and steel. Their primary purpose is to distribute the weight of the roof evenly across the supporting walls. Roof trusses are crafted with precision and accuracy off-site, ensuring consistency and unparalleled strength. The advantages of using roof trusses in your construction project are manifold:

Strength and Durability: Roof trusses are engineered to withstand substantial loads, making them an ideal choice for a roofing design.

Efficiency: They enable longer spans between load-bearing walls, thus creating more open and flexible living spaces beneath.

Speed of Installation: Trusses can be installed rapidly, significantly reducing construction time and labour costs.


Types of Roof Trusses

The versatility of roof trusses shines through in the array of types available, each catering to specific architectural and structural requirements. Let's explore some of the most common varieties:

King Post Truss: Distinguished by a central vertical post, the king post truss excels at providing support for shorter spans, offering a solution that balances both form and function.

Queen Post Truss: Featuring two vertical posts, the queen post truss is the go-to choice for medium-sized spans, delivering a harmonious blend of stability and aesthetics.

Scissor Truss: This unique truss design creates a visually appealing, vaulted ceiling while maintaining structural integrity, often used to add a touch of grandeur to interior spaces.

Attic Truss: If your project aims to maximise usable space within the roof, attic trusses are the answer. These trusses feature a raised bottom chord, allowing for the creation of additional living or storage space within the roof structure.

Trusses vs. Rafters: Understanding the Differences

It's important to know the distinct differences between roof trusses and rafters, as they serve different roles in roof construction:

Roof Trusses: As previously mentioned, trusses are prefabricated, engineered units that offer a potent combination of strength and efficiency. Modern construction often leans towards trusses due to their unparalleled load-bearing capacity and ease of installation.

Rafters: Rafters, on the other hand, are individual, sloping beams that extend from the ridge of the roof to the eaves. While rafters provide greater design flexibility, they necessitate more labour and materials. They are commonly found in older homes where the emphasis is on traditional aesthetics.

How to Install Roof Trusses: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now, let's delve into the intricacies of installing roof trusses. Please bear in mind that this guide offers a simplified overview, and it is imperative to consult with a professional and adhere to local building codes that apply to your specific project. You can obtain a deisgn and quote from out team for your roof truss project by getting in touch: hts@harlowts.co.uk

Step 1: Preparation of the Work Area

Start by ensuring that your work area is clean, level, and clear of any debris. Lay out the trusses meticulously on the ground, paying careful attention to proper spacing and orientation.

Step 2: Setting the First Truss

Commence your installation journey at one end of the structure. Position the first truss atop the wall's top plate, aligning it carefully with the layout marks. Temporarily secure it in place with braces.

Step 3: Installing the Remaining Trusses

Continue with setting the trusses along the roofline, ensuring that they maintain proper spacing and alignment. The use of temporary braces to hold them in place is crucial until all trusses are installed.

Step 4: Securing the Trusses

Utilise suitable fasteners to nail the trusses securely to the top plate. Adequate anchoring is indispensable to provide structural stability and integrity to your roofing system.

Step 5: Incorporating Bracing

The addition of diagonal bracing between trusses further enhances rigidity and prevents lateral movement, bolstering the overall stability of the roof structure.

Step 6: Completion of Roof Sheathing

With all trusses securely in place, you can progress to the installation of roof sheathing, insulation, and roofing materials, culminating in a weatherproof and aesthetically pleasing roof.

Installing roof trusses is a specialist job, and we would always advise employing a professional expert contractor to ensure that your truss project meets regulations and is installed securely and safely.

To see our range of trusses & get in contact to discuss a design & quotation consiltation visit us here: 

Harlow Roof Trusses


In summary, roof trusses stand as the backbone of any roofing project, delivering strength, efficiency, and design versatility. A firm grasp of their types and distinctions from rafters equips you with the knowledge to embark on successful construction endeavours. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can confidently proceed with the installation of roof trusses in your project, ensuring a safe and enduring roof structure. If you're in search of top-quality roof trusses, please explore our selection HERE, where you'll discover the perfect fit for your unique needs.