Roof Trusses versus Roof Rafters and Ceiling Joists

Roof Trusses – An Alternative Trend in Roof Framing

By Mark J. Donovan

An increasing alternative to stick built roofs consisting of roof rafters and ceiling joists are prefabricated roof trusses. Roof trusses offer many advantages, but in particular they save time and money.

In addition, with homeowner tastes becoming more sophisticated, builders are responding by developing homes with increasingly complex rooflines. Building complex rooflines however, requires highly skilled carpenters, which adds immensely to construction costs. To build complex rooflines and keep labor costs low, builders are more frequently turning to prefabricated roof trusses.

Roof trusses offer extensive flexibility in roof design, require zero field cutting, are lightweight and thus easy to install, and have consistent quality.

Prefabricated roof trusses enable builders to design complex roof designs, with longer spans, and install them quickly and easily. With the use of a crane, an entire home’s roof system can be installed in less than a day. If the roof trusses are small enough to manually handle, 2 or 3 carpenters can install an entire roof within one or two days.

Roof trusses are designed and engineered at the factory. All that is required from the homebuilder are the required specifications for the roof pitch, the roof span and any unique features such as a request for a cathedral ceiling.

Roof trusses are commonly used today in residential roof construction.

Roof trusses can quickly be engineered and specified to meet the requirements of the job site and local and national code requirements.

Likewise, roof trusses can be quickly manufactured in a factory where they can be built at ground level in an enclosed area where they are unexposed to a host of elements that could affect their quality. Prefabricated roof trusses are typically secured together with metal truss plates that provide stronger joints than traditional nailed joints.

So when planning your new custom home, talk to your architect and builder about using roof trusses. You maybe able to create larger open rooms and save yourself some time and money.

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