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What Is the Function of a Roof Truss?

Having a roof over one’s head is a basic human need, one in which we’ve improved upon through centuries of architectural ingenuity.  The roofing system has undergone a dramatic transformation since its early days of thatched roofs comprised of straw and reeds.  Now, we’re talking about a roof truss, a complex architectural element integral to the support of a roofing system.

Roof trusses are ubiquitous in building structures.  Even if you’re unfamiliar with a roof truss by its name, it’s highly likely you’ve spotted them before tucked away in everyday architecture.  A truss is a triangular structure integrated into a roof to support a load.  Aside from lending support and strength to a roof’s frame, they also bridge the space above rooms.

Roof Truss

The Anatomy of a Roof Truss

Getting down to the nitty-gritty of a roof truss, you’ll discover that it’s built of three components: top chords, bottom chords, and web bracing.  The truss’s framework is comprised of three elements too: posts, struts, and rafters.  The components of a roof truss are determined ultimately by things like load weight and spacing, as the entire framework is placed under tension and not meant to bend as a result.

Because of its purpose to aid in the support and reinforcement of the roof, a roof truss must be built from equally stable and strong material.  Typically, a roof truss is constructed from wood or metal, providing strength as well as the ability to be customized and moved with relative ease.

By the same token, a roof truss must be lightweight.  A modern roof truss is built of several individual lightweight pieces, designed to bear the weight of heavy load, yet isn’t too heavy where it cannot be transported easily.  Fundamentally, this makes the actual reality of constructing a roof truss a daunting task, one that’s labor-intensive and demanding of connecting these devices together to form the framework.  However, despite its immersive construction, a roof truss is more economical in the long run as it ensures the longevity of the roof itself.

Roof Truss

Types of Roof Trusses

You might be surprised to learn that there are dozens of types of roof trusses.  For example, there’s a north light roof truss, perhaps the oldest and most economical of the bunch.  It consists of an intricate set of lattice girders with support posts, spanning around 20-30 meters and typically used in industrial or large infrastructures.

Mentioned earlier was the sheer complexity of a roof truss’ construction, which one can behold in the form of a quadrangular roof truss.  This roof truss is one of the more complicated truss designs and can be found in vast spaces like auditoriums and railways buildings.  Structures like churches and cathedrals often require scissor roof trusses for the support of their vaulted ceilings.  These scissor roof trusses have bottom chord posts that cross one another, connecting at the top chords at an angle, giving it an appearance of a pair of scissors.

Benefits of a Roof Truss

A roof truss is a functional element of a roofing system that gives way to multiple benefits for a homeowner.  A strong roof supported by a roof truss is a healthy, functional roof, and with that comes the ability for the roofing system to properly deflect harmful UV rays, preventing UV radiation from penetrating the home. This means the roof will perform optimally during months of intense weather, hot or cold, working to regulate the internal temperature of the house to achieve a comfortable living environment.

The different types of roof trusses offer varying advantages to a building’s structure.  For example, a parallel chord roof truss, created from two chords parallel to one another with supports in between, creates an optimal vapor barrier that chases away condensation and mold.  A pratt roof truss, only spanning about 6-10 meters, offers builders an economical option for a roof truss, and a raised heel roof truss is useful for energy efficiency, insulation, and attic ventilation.

frame of a roof

The Multi-Functional Roof Truss

As far as construction purposes go, a roof truss is an economical, labor-reducing time-saver.  Rafters were once the traditional means of supporting a roof, built on-site and installed by a professional carpenter, but with a roof truss, it’s portable, lightweight, and pre-constructed.

A truss system has multiple functions:

  • Supports and strengthens the roof framework
  • Promote energy efficiency
  • Reduce/prevent condensation and occurrence of mold
  • Cost-effective and more environmentally friendly to construct
  • Prevents damage to an exposed roof
  • Offers cover and protection from outdoor elements
  • Prevents UV radiation from penetrating the home

Because of its functionality, a roof truss is essential to the integrity of the building and its roof system.  Roofs themselves are a crucial protector of the home, and a truss is there to offer a slew of advantages as it strengthens and supports it.

Complete Your Roof with Feldco Roofing

Now that you know all about what goes into the anatomy of a roof, you know what to look for when the time comes for a replacement. If the shingles of your roof look old, worn out or damaged, you need to replace your roof as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

In such a case, Feldco Roofing has you covered with the best roof replacement in the Chicago-land area. Get a free quote now to start your roofing project with us.

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