AskDefine | Define rafter

Dictionary Definition



1 one of several parallel sloping beams that support a roof [syn: balk, baulk]
2 someone who travels by raft [syn: raftsman, raftman] v : provide (a ceiling) with rafters

User Contributed Dictionary



Old English ræfter. Cognate with "raft".


  • (UK) IPA: /rɑːftə/ before consonants, /rɑːftər/ before vowels


  1. one of the sloping beams that support a pitched roof



Extensive Definition

For the tennis player, see Patrick Rafter.
A rafter is a structural member, a type of beam, which supports the roof of a building. In home construction, rafters are typically made of wood. Exposed rafters are a feature of traditional roof styles.
In many buildings, rafters have been replaced by engineered trusses (trussed rafters), normally because of span limitations and/or roof load (weight from above).
Carpenters build rafters to frame the pitch of a roof. Roof pitch is measured as rise over span (a unitless fraction). In the United States slope is given in units of pitch for the ratio of inches (in) rise per 12 in of run or inches of rise per 1 foot (ft) of run. For example, "4:12 pitch" would mean 4 in of rise over 12 in of run and "4 pitch(es)" would mean 4 in of rise over 1 ft of run. In Australia, a roof pitch given in degrees (°) of inclination.
In sports arenas, rafters are used to drape championship banners.
rafter in Czech: Krokev
rafter in Danish: Spær
rafter in German: Sparren
rafter in Russian: Стропила

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

H beam, I beam, angle rafter, balk, batten, boom, box girder, breastsummer, corbel, crossbeam, crosstie, footing beam, girder, hammer beam, hip rafter, joist, lattice girder, lintel, plate girder, ridge strut, ridgepole, sill, sleeper, sprit, stringpiece, strut, stud, studding, summer, summertree, tie, tie beam, transom, transverse, trave, traverse, truss, truss beam
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