Which is Better: Roof Trusses or Stick Framing? Part 2

Which is Better: Roof Trusses or Stick Framing? Part 2

The question about which product is better has been posed many times over the years and sparked many debates. Full disclosure – I have posted a blog previously about the advantages of using trusses vs. stick framing. You can view it at the link below if you wish.

So, I do have a certain appreciation, if you will, for using trusses.

In this post, I want to focus on comparing the two methods from a strictly quality point of view. Do you receive a better quality product from one of these methods?

Qual·i·ty – a high level of value or excellence; how good or bad something is.

To answer this question I thought I would look at what goes into making a high quality stick framed and trussed roof and see how they compare. I wanted to try to see what similarities and differences there are between the two methods when striving to make a high quality product.

I will say that a high quality stick framed roof would be preferable to a low quality truss system and vice versa. But for the sake of this post I want to try to compare apples to apples as best I can.

I do think that both methods can produce high quality products, but are there aspects of the two methods that may tip the scale in one direction?


Similarities for a high quality stick framed or trussed roof:

  • Good quality lumber is used.
    • Straight
    • Relatively few knots
    • Small amount of wane and crook.
  • Connections between members are tight. Fastened correctly.
  • Members are sized correctly for the loads.
  • Members are cut consistently to produce a uniform structure.
  • Attention to detail when setting members in place.
    • Plumb and square.
  • Structure is braced properly.



  • Trusses built-in controlled environment.
  • Many truss plants operate within a quality control program and in some cases are inspected by a third-party organization.
  • Lumber moisture content/exposure to weather.
  • Automated saws cut members in truss plants.
  • Trusses built on tables with jigs.
  • Stick framing can allow for more field modifications to better match field conditions.

So we’ve looked at what some of the similarities and differences are to create a quality stick framed and trussed roof. What’s the verdict?

If I had to go one way or the other, I would give the nod to the trussed roof. For me, being able to build the trusses in a controlled environment that can produce consistent and accurate members is what pushed it over the top.  Additionally, the fact that trusses are an engineered product adds some additional weight to their case. The quality of stick framing is totally reliant upon the skill of the carpenter.

Let me know what you think on this topic. Stay tuned for more posts on the trusses vs. stick framing subject.

Click here to view my original article, or go to http://goulddesigninc.com/2012/12/31/advantages-of-using-trusses-over-stick-framing/.

A colleague of mine also wrote an article on this subject. Click here to view or go to http://goulddesigninc.com/2014/03/28/which-is-better-roof-trusses-or-stick-framing/.

Bill Hoover – Design Professional

Gould Design, Inc.

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