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Roofing Terminology

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Rafters

When a framing contractor constructs the roof system on the job site out of framing lumber, the components of the roof framing are called rafters. They are similar to trusses, but are usually built on the jobsite as the home is being framed rather than in a manufacturing facility. A damaged rafter can affect the structural integrity of your roof system and should be repaired as soon as possible.

Rafters and Your Roof System

The rafters create the shape and pitch of your roof and the roof sheathing and shingles are attached to them. Damage to your rafters can eventually cause sections of your roof to fail and may lead to water intrusion and interior restoration repairs. Your rafters should be inspected on a regular basis by you or a qualified roofing contractor. A rafter inspection should consist of looking for:

  • Breaks: A tree branch or other large objects falling on your roof can cause one or more of your home's rafters to break
  • Cracks or splitting: As wood ages it can sometimes split, and a severe split may compromise a roof rafter
  • Water damage: A constant roof leak can eventually lead to rafters with wood rot and weakened structural integrity

A roofing contractor can inspect your rafters for any damage that could cause future problems and in many cases when a potential issue is caught early. Often, the repair can be done by simply attaching framing lumber or plywood to the side of the damaged rafter. If the rafter is left uncorrected, the problem could escalate and you may end up with interior and exterior restoration costs.

Roofing Terms