The #1 Best Rafter Style for Garages

Storage space is a high priority on every home owner’s list. Regardless of the amount of people in your home or your range of hobbies and interests, you will encounter the ever growing need for more storage space. There are obvious locations throughout the house where you can cram and contain your beloved items. But eventually space runs out, creative measures run thin, and you’re left searching for one more place to store your impressive collection of bagpipes. Well a garage happens to be a worthy option.

Before you picture all of your excess items being parallel parked on either side of the garage, think higher; there is potential for valuable storage space hiding in the attic! While the debate of “rafters vs. trusses” is as old as home building itself, garages today are typically built with strong, prefabricated timber trusses to support the roof. We will cover the two most basic garage trusses that people use.

What Roof Pitch Will You Need?

First, we need to figure out the pitch of the garage roof. In this blog, we will choose a garage that has a 7/12 roof pitch and is 24 feet long and 24 feet wide. Now we can discuss the two most common trusses used in a garage. The first kind is generally called a regular or common truss. It is composed of 2×4’s and 2×6’s and has a webbed design. Due to its basic design and relative simplicity, a 24 foot long common truss averages around $122 per truss. 

Regular trusses work great and meet the standard requirements for a garage roof. Their affordability makes them a popular choice among homeowners. They have structural value but do not offer any kind of space saving support.

How Much do Attic Trusses Cost?

Let’s review attic trusses. Unlike the regular truss, there is a large opening in the middle of the attic truss that essentially forms a “room” above your garage, which you can then finish out at a later date with a floor, and even walls and insulation if you like. Perfect for storing all those bulky items. Let’s look at the cost of a 24 x 24 two car garage with attic trusses. Each attic truss costs around $164 (compared to $122 each for the regular), and you’ll need 13 of them. So if you do the math the entire cost difference between building a 24 x 24 garage with attic trusses versus common ones is about $546, which is about the cost of a new set of tires for the family minivan.

Calculating How Much Space You’ll Gain

As you can see, it’s very affordable to upgrade your trusses, but how much storage room will you gain? Well, a 7/12 attic truss placed on a 24 foot wide garage gives you a usable storage space that is 7 feet wide by 24 feet long. This doesn’t sound like much, but at 168 square feet, this is more floor area than the average bedroom. Just think of all the Christmas decorations you could stuff up there!

Things get even more exciting when we consider attic trusses over a 3 car garage. Let’s say your 3 car garage is 34 feet wide by 24 feet deep. An attic truss over this garage gives you a whopping 15 foot wide by 24 foot deep storage room (360 SF!), which is bigger than most people’s entire living room. One thing to note about attic trusses over larger spans: if you’re planning on storing heavy items, you may want to consider a support beam and post in the garage below for extra support.

Alternatives to Attic Trusses

For the sake of argument, let’s consider NOT investing in attic trusses. Each building project presents its challenges and homeowners often have to pick and choose where to cut back in the building budget, so let’s look at another storage option: storage units.

The annual cost of a 10 x 10 storage unit is $150 a month, or $1,800 a year, every single year. Clearly, an upgrade to an attic truss pays off within just a few months. The combination of long term savings and having your items easily accessible, makes attic trusses a worthwhile investment.

Attic Trusses Are Your Best Option

Let’s review the best rafter style for your garage. An attic truss is a solid support structure that provides stability to your roof and the added bonus of significant storage space. This convenient space will save you thousands of dollars in traditional storage unit costs, and you’ll never have to give the keys back!

At Next Modular, we have tons of experience building garages, porches, decks, and more for our amazing customers. If you have questions about the best rafter for your garage, or about building a new modular home, click here to get in touch today! 

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