Types of Roofing Rafters

You are well aware as a property owner of the essence of a roof.  It primarily protects your construction materials and the things inside your structure. A roof nonetheless also plays a crucial role in your property’s curb appeal and energy efficiency, among other aspects. Though the most visible element on the roof is its outermost material, a roof comprises several layers. Among the lowest layers is the rafters. These are essentially the bases or frames of your roof.

Some parts like metal roofing in Utah can be quite heavy, and you should have the right supports in place or their installation. Rafters will be often installed about 1-4 feet apart, depending on the weight of your roof. They also hang 1-2 feet over your property’s edges to create eaves. These eaves will protect the sides of your building and its foundation from the effects of excess sunlight, heavy rainfall, and melted snow. The following are the rafter types that can be used in your construction.

Common Rafters

These are the common ones in commercial and residential properties. They run your roof’s length right from the side of the walls, also called the plate to your structure’s apex. This apex is sometimes called the ridge. Common rafters generate the primary support for the optimal functioning and strength of your roof. They are also used to support other rafter designs.

Hip Rafters


These are located on your roof’s angular corners. They will run from the corners on the sides of your structure walls to the ridgeline. Hip rafters are, however, only positioned on the elevated sections of your roof and not its valleys. They are responsible for the triangular look of most roofs.

Valley Rafters

Most roofs comprise several planes. These often intersect at a valley instead of a pitch. A valley rafter is used to generate underlying support for the sections where the roof valleys are installed. They are not, however, used in all properties. If, for example, you have a simple four-sided roof, you will not need valleys in it. Valley rafters are generally installed at 45-degree angles to common rafters.

Jack Rafters

This is essentially a broad term for several secondary supportive rafter types. Hip jacks are, for example, unique support rafters for hip rafters and sit on the exterior walls. They run parallel to your common rafters up to the hip rafters. The valley jack, on the other hand, will run down to a valley rafter from your roof’s ridge. At first glance, a cripple jack resembles a common rafter. Even so, it is a unique rafter that will run from the hip to the valley rafter. It will neither touch the wall plate nor the ridge.

From the above rafter types, you now appreciate that your property’s roof is a complex system. Its construction and repair is thus not a task that can be handled by anyone with some tools under the guidance of DIY tutorials. Moreover, these rafters are made of steel or wood that might prove deadly without the right PPE and installation tools.

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