What are roof trusses? (with photos)

A roof truss provides support for a roof.

Roof trusses, which are structural components of homes or commercial buildings, support the weight of roof beams and coverings. They are typically constructed with pieces of wood or steel that are nailed, bolted, or secured together to form a strong, mutually supportive foundation for a roof. These trusses should never be removed or altered without the advice of a structural engineer. Unsanctioned changes to a truss can result in part – or even all – of the roof collapse.

Roof trusses are usually made from two-by-four stock.

Typically, roof trusses are used in residential and commercial construction as an alternative to the conventional stick roof structure. Using trusses instead of stick framing can provide builders with several advantages. For example, most of these trusses are designed by engineers, who have ensured that they meet the load and construction requirements of the roof. By using prefabricated trusses, builders can significantly reduce overall construction time.

Another important advantage of using trusses is cost. Roof trusses are usually made from two-by-four stock. This stock is significantly cheaper than the longer frame pieces used in the conventional stick roof frame. Additionally, trusses can often be installed by less experienced carpenters, allowing builders to save on labor costs.

When roofing a building or home, adhering to a proper roof truss design is critical. If one component of a truss is removed or weakened, the entire roof can cave in. The design must take into account the strength of the woods, if a wooden truss is used, or of steel, if a steel truss is used. Other factors that are important in roof truss design include distributing the load across the truss parts and connecting the parts.

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Roof trusses are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be customized to fit virtually any roof project. One of the most common types of truss systems is a sloped truss, also known as a common truss. Characterized by its triangular shape, a sloping truss is often used in homes and storage buildings. Slanted trusses include a number of truss-specific designs – from double fink, attic, bowstring and fan to scissor, double bobtail and inverted shapes.

Several factors can contribute to the weakening of the roof strands. Water leaks are one of the main sources of damage to roof trees, particularly in older buildings. On wooden roof trusses, water leaks can cause decay and insect attack, even if the wood has been treated. If an electrician or plumber makes notches or holes in the roof structure, this can also weaken the braids. Older roofs can be susceptible to joint failure if they are connected with mortise and tenon joints and wooden pegs.

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