All roofs need support from a rafter or truss. Rafters are the traditional roof support structure, but most modern homes rely on lightweight trusses. These structures offer strong support without requiring interior walls. Chances are, your current roof is supported by a truss system.
A roof truss can be wood or metal. It lasts for years when installed correctly, but sometimes a severe storm or roof leak can require you to replace one or more of your trusses. This costs an average of $1.50–$4.50 per square foot for materials, plus $20–$75 per hour for labor.
This guide covers everything you need to know about replacing your roof truss, including the materials you’ll need, how much it costs to hire a contractor, and whether it’s a good project to do yourself.
Average Roof Truss Cost
A new set of roof trusses for a 2,000-square-foot house costs an average of $7,500–$12,000. Your costs may be higher if your roof or ceiling structure requires special adjustments. In fact, your total price tag depends on the following factors.
- Size: Like larger the truss, the more it will cost A 30-foot-span truss typically costs $3.25–$4.25 per foot, while a 26-foot-span truss costs $3–$4 per foot.
- Type: Roof trusses are pre-engineered at a factory and then shipped to your site, so they only come in predetermined types. These include attic truss, scissor truss, and queen and king post truss. Each type has a different price. For instance, scissor trusses can cost 15%–30% more than a queen post truss.
- Material: Trusses are most often made of wood, steel, or both. Steel trusses, which usually appear in commercial properties, cost about twice as much as wooden ones.
- Labor: Most laborers charge $20–$75 per hour to remove and install roof trusses. Labor costs are typically higher in urban areas, where the cost of living is higher. You may also be charged for disposal fees.
Cost by Size
Roof truss prices depend partly on the roof pitch and size. The more materials your truss job requires, the more expensive your project will be. Big roofs generally cost more than small ones, and steep roofs require more lumber than gently sloped or flat roofs. Add about 25% to the costs outlined in the table below for gable or end trusses.
Cost by Type
Your attic space, roof shape, and the kind of ceiling you have all determine which kind of truss you need. The most common trusses are gable trusses, sometimes called common trusses. You can also find attic trusses, scissor trusses, and hip trusses. It’s best to consult a professional before deciding which type to install, as they can assess your home’s needs and provide you with an accurate estimate. We’ll expand on roof truss types later on.
Cost by Material
The parts of a roof include joists and rafters that support the roof decking under the shingles. Depending on the type of roof framing you’re installing, you’ll need to buy wooden or metal roofing truss systems.
Most residential buildings use wooden trusses, which are made from reclaimed timber or softwood such as Douglas fir, cypress, or southern yellow pine. Larger facilities often use steel trusses crafted from galvanized or PVC-coated steel.
The cost of metal roof trusses depends partly on your project’s size and complexity, but they’re typically more expensive than wood trusses. Consider the following approximations:
- Steel Truss: $7–$9 per board foot
- Timber Truss: $3–$5 per board foot
Cost by Building Type
The cost to install roof trusses depends on the type of building you’re framing. The materials and labor needed to install roof trusses in a barn, for example, are different from those needed to install them in an office building. In general, trusses in residential buildings are less expensive than those installed in commercial buildings because they require less work.
Aside from building materials, labor rates have the biggest impact on roof truss cost. Installation typically costs $20–$75 per hour. Rates are generally higher in urban areas than less populated regions, and you’ll pay more for complex installations. For example, scissor trusses cost more to install than common trusses.
Roof construction also affects labor costs. You may need to hire more experienced—and therefore more expensive—roofing specialists if you have a gambrel roof or vaulted ceiling.
Additional Cost Considerations
Here are some additional expenses that may factor into your installation.
Installing a roof truss requires heavy equipment, such as a crane, to lift and position the truss onto the house frame. The equipment required depends on the situation and the size of the truss. You may also need to rent scaffolding or some sort of structure to stand on so that you can reach the desired height.
You may be able to use an access ladder and cherry-picker for small-scale jobs, but you’ll definitely need something to scale the walls and lift the heavy trusses. Whatever equipment you rent, your costs could vary depending where your rental company is and what they have available. Some places charge hourly rates while others charge per project. Do some research to find out how much it would cost to purchase all the necessary equipment before renting any of it. A crane typically costs $200–$700 per day, and scaffolding costs $15–$50 per day.
After the job is done, you’ll have to clean up. The cost to remove waste depends on the type and amount of material that needs to be hauled away. Your contractor should clean up the site and include the costs in their estimate. This usually includes their $50–$75 hourly rate plus whatever your local recycling facility charges, typically around $30 per yard of lumber waste.
If you decide to do your truss replacement yourself, expect a big cleanup job. You’ll first need to determine what can be recycled or reused. If it’s possible to recycle anything, set up a collection area and arrange for pickup by the appropriate service. Items that can’t be recycled or reused should be gathered into piles and sorted into manageable sizes before being taken away. The cost of removing waste will depend on how much material needs to be hauled away and where it goes afterwards.
Types of Trusses
A truss is classified by its exterior shape and interior shape, called the webbing. The main types include hip, attic, fink, mono, gable, scissor, king post, and queen post.
- Attic trusses: This specialized type of roof truss provides more attic space by using webbing on the top and each side of the truss.
- Fink trusses: Though originally conceived for bridges, fink trusses are now popular in residential homes. This type features multiple diagonal beams reaching from top to bottom.
- Gable trusses: Functioning as a roof’s endcaps, gable trusses have one bottom chord, two top chords, and several vertical posts.
- Hip trusses: Similar to a half truss, hip trusses form a roof’s hipline. They feature an extended top chord.
- King post trusses: This is the simplest truss, including a central vertical post and several beams.
- Mono trusses: Mono trusses are popular in commercial and agricultural buildings. They have a single pitch and a vertical piece over the opposite bearing from the pitched bearing.
- Queen post trusses: A queen post is similar to a king post truss, but the queen can span a longer opening.
- Scissor trusses: Scissor trusses have sloped bottom chords, making the perfect for sloped or vaulted roofs.
Professional vs. DIY
Replacing a truss is a major job that requires specialized knowledge, heavy equipment, and several pairs of strong hands. Unless you’re a seasoned builder familiar with heavy machinery and roofing work, it’s usually best to leave it to the professionals.
Professional Roof Truss Installation
Roof truss materials are heavy, the work is complex, and the margin for error is very slim. A professional roofer has the knowledge and tools to do the job right. Professionals also usually include a warranty or guarantee on their work, ensuring the truss will last, and any issues that arise will be repaired.
DIY Roof Truss Installation
Though it can save you money on labor costs, it’s almost never advisable to install roof trusses yourself unless you’re working on a shed or other small outbuilding.
How To Hire a Professional
It’s important to find a reputable roofing contractor who gets things done quickly and efficiently without taking shortcuts. Though you may want to save money, you don’t necessarily want to choose the cheapest bid. Consider these tips to find a professional:
- Only consider licensed and insured roofers.
- Read customer reviews online and check third-party sites such as the Better Business Bureau.
- Get at least three quotes to compare.
- Ask each contractor how long they’ve been in business.
- Ask how each contractor plans to protect your gutters and landscaping.
- Make sure you understand their plans for cleaning up.
- Inquire about their guarantees or warranties.
Top Roof Truss Companies
We’ve researched and vetted roofing companies across the country. Check our roundups for key cities below to kickstart your search for a pro.
How To Save on Roof Truss Installation
Though hiring a professional to replace a roof truss can be expensive, there are still ways to save money. Make sure you buy the right size trusses, and buy them close to home to save on delivery fees. Also, try to get roof trusses with deep energy heels. These will allow you to insulate your attic better and save on energy.
Like any major household project, installing or repairing a roof truss is a big investment. You’ll end up spending several thousand dollars regardless of the truss type and materials.
Roofing work is a big, complicated job, so we recommend hiring a contractor. It may cost more than if you were to do the project yourself, but the chances of serious error or injury are high. Talk to your contractor about buying locally and other ways to save if you’re concerned about your budget.
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