Roof Truss Basics

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You may already know that roof trusses are by far the most popular option for framing roofs on residential and commercial structures, but do you know how they are made and why they work so well? Understanding how roof trusses are made helps you understand why they consistently stand up to weather, wear and tear, and other stresses, and, most importantly, why they are a great choice for your next construction project!

Design of Roof Trusses

Roof trusses vary widely in their design. In many cases, standard truss shapes are popular because they are relatively inexpensive and easy to build.  For example, a standard gable roof truss usually has two bearing points on the outside. The design and construction of these types of trusses makes them very easy to produce quickly, as each side is a mirror image of the other.  However, roof trusses can also be built in almost any shape and size imaginable, including irregular or asymmetrical shapes.

Truss Components

The process of designing and building quality truss products follows a typical pattern, no matter what type of trusses are required for the job.  First, engineers and architects design the truss by carefully calculating the required dimensions, weight-bearing capacity, and load distribution. Once the design is finalized, specialized software is often used to generate a detailed plan. Then, the actual construction begins.

There are several components of a roof truss, which are usually present even in custom or special design trusses. The upper rafter is referred to as the top cord, while the lower rafter is called the bottom cord. These two pieces are the primary components of the truss and are built to particular sizes that are appropriate for the building’s specifications.  The parts in between are collectively known as webbing, although other components like king posts and heel posts may be present. Roof trusses are typically made with pre-cut lumber, such as 2x4s or 2×6, often from fir, pine or a combination of strong, light woods.

Metal connectors play a crucial role in securing the components of a roof truss together. These connectors, often referred to as truss connectors or mending plates, feature pointed ends that grip the wood.

Finally, the completed truss undergoes rigorous quality checks to ensure its structural integrity before being installed in the intended structure.

By using trusses, builders can create sturdy and durable structures that can withstand various forces and support a wide range of architectural designs.  Trusses can eliminate the need for interior footings, saving builders money and allowing them to create wide-open indoor spaces without supporting columns.

At Stone Truss, we have been providing the San Diego area with quality truss products for decades.  Give us a call to see how we can help you with your roof or floor truss needs!

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