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Roof framing is a critical aspect of building construction, affecting the overall stability and appearance of the structure. By understanding the different types of roof framing systems, materials, and techniques, you can make informed decisions when planning and constructing a roof.

Types of Roof Framing Systems

Gable Roof Framing

A gable roof is the most common and simplest type of roof framing. It features two sloping sides that meet at a ridge, forming a triangle.

Hip Roof Framing

A hip roof has four sloping sides that meet at a single point. It offers more stability than a gable roof, making it suitable for areas with high winds or heavy snowfall.

Gambrel Roof Framing

A gambrel roof features two slopes on each side, with a steeper slope near the eaves and a shallower slope near the ridge. This style provides more interior space and is often used for barns and storage buildings.

Shed Roof Framing

A shed roof has a single slope, with one side higher than the other. It is a simple and cost-effective option, commonly used for additions and smaller structures.

Roof Framing Materials


Wood is the traditional material for roof framing, offering a combination of strength, flexibility, and affordability. Common wood types used include:

  • Dimensional lumber (e.g., 2x4s, 2x6s)
  • Engineered wood products (e.g., laminated veneer lumber, wood I-joists)


Metal roof framing is becoming increasingly popular due to its durability and resistance to pests and decay. Common metal materials include:

  • Light-gauge steel (for residential and commercial buildings)
  • Structural steel (for larger commercial and industrial buildings)

Engineered Roof Systems

Engineered roof systems, such as trusses, offer a prefabricated alternative to traditional framing. They provide increased design flexibility and can reduce construction time and labor costs.

Roof Framing Techniques

Stick Framing

Stick framing, or “cut and stack” framing, involves cutting and assembling individual framing members on-site. This method offers flexibility in design but can be labor-intensive and time-consuming.

Truss Framing

Truss framing utilizes prefabricated trusses, which are triangular frames made from wood or metal. Trusses are designed and manufactured off-site, then delivered and installed on-site, reducing labor and time.

Key Components of Roof Framing


Rafters are the main structural members that support the roof sheathing and transfer loads to the walls. They run from the ridge to the eaves and are typically spaced 16 or 24 inches on center.

Ridge Beam

The ridge beam is the horizontal member at the peak of the roof, where rafters meet. It supports the rafters and helps distribute loads evenly.

Collar Ties

Collar ties are horizontal members that connect opposing rafters, providing additional support and preventing the roof from spreading.

Ceiling Joists

Ceiling joists are horizontal members that support the weight of the ceiling and help transfer loads to the walls.