What are Roof Trusses?

Roof Trusses Save Time and Money and can support Elaborate Roof Designs

By Mark J. Donovan

Roof trusses are pre-fabricated triangular structural frames that are used in roof construction. They effectively constitute the roof structure and support roof sheathing. Typically roof trusses used in residential building are made out of lumber and are fastened together with nailing plates. Normally lower cost 2×4 lumber is used to construct the triangle networks that constitute the structural design of roof trusses, whereas in stick building a roof much larger and more expensive dimensional lumber is used.

Roof trusses are faster to install than stick building a roof, and often are structurally stronger than a stick built roof.

They are fabricated at a factory and can be designed and engineered to meet the unique requirements of a custom roof design, as well as the national and local building codes for the specific job site. Typically all that is required to design and fabricate a roof truss is the roof span and pitch, and any unique features associated with the roof.

Due to their numerous advantages, builders are increasingly using roof trusses. Roof trusses save them time and money and allow more elaborate roof designs to be constructed. Many of today’s modern new home designs have complicated roof lines and roof trusses enable these homes to come to fruition.

Roof trusses are commonly installed with the help of a crane. Though the use of a crane is expensive to have on a job site, typically an entire roof can be installed in a single day. Consequently the crane rental cost is a fraction of the material and labor costs associated with stick building a roof.

Here is a roof truss.

Roof trusses are specifically engineered for the particular roof design called out in a home’s blueprints.

If a cathedral roof design is required, for example, roof trusses are engineered and manufactured at the factory to support the requirement.

Consequently, a roof truss should never need to be cut or should be cut at the job site, nor after the home is built. Cutting even a single small member of a roof truss can dramatically weaken the roof truss and lead to catastrophic failure of the roof. Never cut a roof truss without first getting input from a structural engineer.

So if you have home construction plans that involve a new roof consider using roof trusses. They can speed up the project and provide a stronger roof, at a fraction of the cost of stick building a roof.

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Related Information

Additional Framing Resources from Amazon.com

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