The Basics of Roof Framing: A Complete Guide to Understanding Types of Roofs

Roof framing refers to the construction and arrangement of structural elements that support the roof of a building. There are several common types of roof framing systems used in construction:

1. Conventional Roof Framing

Conventional roof framing, also known as stick framing, is the most traditional and widely used method. It involves individual rafters or trusses that span from the ridge board at the peak to the top plate of the walls. The rafters are spaced evenly and attached to the ridge board and top plate with appropriate hardware. Conventional roof framing allows for design flexibility and is commonly used in residential construction.

2. Truss Roof Framing

Truss roof framing involves pre-engineered trusses that are manufactured off-site and then lifted and installed on the construction site. Trusses consist of a triangular arrangement of members connected with metal plates. They are designed to efficiently transfer the roof loads to the walls and can span long distances without the need for intermediate supports. Truss roof framing is cost-effective, quick to install, and commonly used in both residential and commercial construction.

3. Hip Roof Framing

Hip roof framing is a type of roof design characterized by sloping sides and a pyramid-like shape. It involves a combination of common rafters and hip rafters. The common rafters extend from the wall plate to the ridge, while the hip rafters connect the corners of the building to the ridge. Hip roof framing provides a pleasing aesthetic and is commonly used in residential construction.

4. Gambrel Roof Framing

Gambrel roof framing features a distinctive barn-like shape with two slopes on each side of the roof. The lower slope is steeper than the upper slope. Gambrel roofs typically use a combination of trusses and rafters. The trusses support the upper portion of the roof, while the rafters provide the lower slope. Gambrel roof framing allows for increased interior space and is commonly seen in residential and agricultural buildings.

5. Mansard Roof Framing

Mansard roof framing is characterized by a nearly vertical lower slope and a steeper upper slope. It creates additional living space within the roof area, often used for attic rooms or living quarters. Mansard roofs can be constructed using a combination of trusses and rafters or using pre-fabricated roof panels. Mansard roof framing is commonly seen in architectural styles such as Second Empire and French Renaissance.

These are just a few examples of the types of roof framing systems used in construction. The specific type of roof framing chosen depends on factors such as the architectural design, span requirements, load considerations, and budget constraints. Consulting with a structural engineer or an experienced contractor can help determine the most suitable roof framing system for your specific project.