Roof Trusses – A carpenter’s & designer’s perspective

roof trusses

Roof truss systems very from home to home. Through the years of being in business I have had the opportunity to frame a lot of homes and additions. One of the more complex aspects of the framing project can be the roof system, because the roof system is the culmination of how accurate the previous
framing steps were executed.


This blog has some general highlights for the pros and cons of a truss roof system
over a traditionally framed system. Honestly, I prefer stick framing roofs over trussed
roofs, but truss roof systems are a good option for some projects.

The Pros of this system can offer a carpenter/homeowner & designer:

  1. Identically sized trusses which eliminate the variable of the roof system
    from variation and are constructed in a quality-controlled factory.
  2. If a skilled and capable crew installs a truss roof system; this project can
    be installed accurately, quickly, and safely.
  3. The spans of the roof truss can be vast without any bearing walls, which
    can make a this option more attractive to a customer & designers.
  4. A truss roof system can always be reinforced, which is attractive in high
    wind regions.
  5. Other trades such as HVAC, Electrical. & plumbing love unoccupied attics
    and webbed trusses for their duties.
  6. In terms of energy code, there can be less thermal bridging if insulated on
    the rake, and I would argue a better insulation project could be
    accomplished over stick framing.

The Cons of this system can include:

  1. If the building has any significant issues such as not being level, out of
    plumb, and the building is out-of-square; Trusses can telegraph these
    mistakes and it can be challenging to hide.
  2. If you don’t have a competent crew installing roof trusses this endeavor
    can become extremely dangerous for the installation and the trusses could
    lack the correct permanent bracing.
  3. Trusses cannot be altered from the factory, which includes tails. Therefore,
    the roof truss cannot have any field alterations without an engineer’s letter.
  4. The order time for trusses can be long and delay the start date of a project.
  5. Buildings that contain trusses are susceptible to collapse from fire
    exposure in a very short period of time.
  6. You can receive a damaged truss, which can delay your project.
  7. Most roof trusses are installed with 2’ O/C which doesn’t stack with 16
    O/C wall studs. However, every 4’ the stud and truss will align.

Check out this article for signs of roof failures

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