Understanding The Different Types Of Roof Trusses & Their Uses

Construction involves an extensive amount of work and meticulous strategic planning. One crucial aspect that demands particular attention is the roofing system as they are crucial components that significantly contribute to the structural integrity and overall stability of a building’s roof.

Roof trusses come in a wide variety of types, each designed to cater to specific architectural and functional requirements. By exploring the unique features, advantages, and limitations of different types of roof trusses and designs, you can make informed decisions and ensure the optimal performance of your roofing system.

As a leading supplier of timber products, trusses and prefabricated products in Queensland, we take pride in our extensive knowledge and expertise in roof trusses and prefabricated products. In this comprehensive guide, we highlight the most common types of roof trusses, their differences and diverse applications.

example of the types of roof trusses in building construction

Roof Trusses Vs Rafters

There is often confusion when it comes to understanding the difference between rafters and roof trusses. While both serve essential purposes in supporting the roof, they differ significantly in their manufacturing process and overall design.

Rafters are typically cut and constructed on-site, making them a more traditional and labour-intensive method of roof construction. They are individually measured, cut, and installed to form the framework of the roof. This process requires skilled craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail, which can make them expensive.

On the other hand, roof trusses are pre-designed and manufactured structures. They are engineered in a factory or workshop setting, allowing for precision and efficiency in their production. Timber roof trusses are assembled using a combination of wooden members and specialised connectors. Once fabricated, they are transported to the construction site and lifted onto the roof for installation. This method saves time, money and labour compared to on-site rafter construction.

Why Choose Roof Trusses?

The primary function of a timber roof truss is to provide a robust and stable skeletal system for the roof. By distributing the weight of the roof evenly and efficiently, trusses ensure that the roof is not overly flimsy and can withstand various weather conditions, including strong winds. This makes them a popular choice amongst builders and homeowners alike.

  • Roof trusses are fabricated in a controlled environment.
  • They’re quick to install.
  • Roof trusses are cost-effective
  • Are a better option for large buildings.
  • Can be installed by a broader range of construction professionals
  • They’re an environmentally-friendly choice.
  • They allow for open floor plans.
  • Roof trusses are very strong.
  • Aesthetically pleasing

Read More: Trusses vs Rafters: Which to Use for Raked Ceilings

crane erecting one of the types of roof trusses available

Common Types Of Roof Trusses

Depending on the requirements, there are a number of different roof trusses. These include:

King Post Truss

The king post truss is one of the simplest and oldest types of trusses. It consists of a vertical post, called the king post, which supports the centre of the truss. The top and bottom chords are connected to the king post, forming a triangular shape on each side.

King post trusses are commonly used in small- to medium-sized spans such as garages, sheds, and residential roofs. They are also found in architectural designs where a traditional or rustic aesthetic is desired.

The main advantage of king post trusses is their simplicity, making them cost-effective and easy to construct. However, their limitations include reduced load-bearing capacity compared to other truss types and limited span capabilities.

Queen Post Truss

The queen post truss is similar to the king post truss but features two vertical posts, known as queen posts, instead of a single central post. The queen posts are connected to the top and bottom chords, forming triangular shapes on either side.

Queen post trusses are commonly used in residential and commercial construction. They are suitable for medium- to long-span applications such as garages, barns, and gable roofs.

Queen post trusses offer increased load-bearing capacity compared to king post trusses, making them suitable for larger spans. They also provide more design flexibility. However, they may require additional support if used in very large space.

Howe Truss

The Howe truss is a popular choice for longer spans and heavy loads. It features vertical members and diagonal members that alternate in their placement, creating a series of triangles within the truss.

Howe trusses are commonly used in industrial and commercial buildings, bridges, and large agricultural structures. They are ideal for applications where long spans and high load-bearing capacities are required.

Howe trusses offer excellent strength and stability, making them suitable for demanding applications. Their design allows for easy customization and modification to accommodate specific project requirements. However, their complex design may result in higher construction costs.

closeup for roof truss and connections

Scissor Truss

Scissor trusses are characterised by their unique shape, resembling that of open pair of scissors. They have sloping bottom chords (perimeter elements/ beams of the truss) that intersect near the centre, creating an appealing architectural feature.

Scissor trusses are often used in residential and commercial buildings to create vaulted ceilings or open living spaces. They provide an aesthetic appeal while maintaining structural integrity.

The primary advantage of scissor trusses is their ability to create spacious interiors with an open and airy feel. They eliminate the need for load-bearing walls, allowing for more design flexibility. However, scissor trusses require careful engineering and installation to ensure proper load distribution.

Gambrel Truss

The gambrel truss, also known as a barn truss, is commonly associated with barns and other agricultural buildings. It features two slopes on each side, with the upper slope being shallower than the lower slope.

Gambrel trusses are popular in residential construction for creating attic spaces or rooms with a unique architectural style. They are also widely used in barns, storage buildings, and commercial structures.

The gambrel truss provides increased headroom and usable space in the upper section of a building. Its design allows for the creation of distinctive architectural features. However, it may not be suitable for areas with high wind conditions.

Mono Truss

The mono truss, also known as a mono pitch or lean-to truss, is characterised by its single slope, much like half a truss. It consists of a sloping top chord and a horizontal bottom chord, providing a simple and efficient roof structure.

Mono trusses are cost-effective and easy to install due to their simplified design and are commonly used in home additions, porches, and small extensions. They offer flexibility in terms of roof pitch and can be integrated seamlessly with existing structures. However, they may have limited span capabilities compared to other truss types.

Fan Truss

The fan truss is an aesthetically appealing truss design known for its fan-like pattern of web members radiating from a central point.

Fan trusses are often used in architectural designs to create visually striking roof structures. They are found in auditoriums, sports arenas, convention centres, and other buildings where a unique and eye-catching design is desired.

The main advantage of fan trusses is their architectural appeal, making them a focal point of a building’s design. They offer design flexibility and can be customised to suit specific project requirements. However, their complex design may result in higher construction costs.

Wooden beams at construction a roof truss system

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Roof Truss

Choosing the right roof truss for your project is an important decision that can greatly impact the structural integrity and overall design of your building. To ensure a successful outcome, there are several key factors that should be carefully considered. These include:

Span Length:

One of the primary considerations when selecting a roof truss is the distance it needs to cover. Different truss designs have varying span capabilities, meaning they can effectively support different distances. By accurately determining the span length required for your project, you can narrow down your options and choose a truss design that can safely and efficiently bridge the required distance.

Load-Bearing Capacity

The load-bearing capacity of a roof truss is another crucial factor to take into account. It’s essential to consider the weight of the roof materials themselves, such as tiles or shingles, as well as any additional loads that the truss may need to bear. For instance, if your building requires the installation of heavy equipment on the roof, such as HVAC units, the truss must be able to withstand these additional loads.

Aesthetic Considerations

Beyond its functional aspects, the design and appearance of the roof truss can contribute significantly to the overall aesthetics of your building. It’s important to choose a truss design that complements the architectural style and desired visual appeal of your structure. Whether you’re going for a traditional, rustic look or a more modern and sleek design, there are various truss options available to suit different architectural styles. By selecting a truss that aligns with your vision, you can enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your building.


Cost is undeniably one of the most important considerations in any construction project. By carefully assessing the overall cost of the truss, you can ensure that it aligns with your budget and provides the best value for your investment.

Read More: What are Prefabricated Building Materials?

Types of roof trusses used in the building of a house

Choose The Right Truss With King Truss

Understanding the types of roof trusses you can use for your project can help make your building plan easier and more efficient. By understanding their features, characteristics, common applications, advantages, and limitations, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your specific project requirements.

However, we understand that choosing between the types of roof trusses can be a complex task. At King Truss we specialise in providing expert guidance and support to help you navigate this process with confidence. Our team of experienced professionals is well-versed in the intricacies of different types of roof trusses and can assist you in selecting the most suitable truss for your project.

Contact Us Directly for Your Timber & Building Supply Requirements

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