Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Modern Day Roof Truss

Many many moons ago, in the early day of building houses, the roofs were constructed flat. As you can probably imagine this was not practical, but people were none the wiser, and it was also the cheapest option.

Needless to say, these very unpractical roofs didn’t last long and started collapsing within no time. Fortunately time has moved, and now when building a house, a roof truss acts as the skeleton of the roof, holding it all in place.

Roof Trusses are essentially a frame that is joined together by steel nail plates to support the shape of the roof. They are generally bespoke products to suit the construction of every individual house. The measurements have to be exact to the size of the roof to eliminate any weak points. It has to be strong and sturdy to withstand the chosen roof covering and strong weather climates.

A Roof Truss consists of three main characteristics:
  • The timber needs to be strong but lightweight, this is achieved by using kiln dried and strength graded timber. 
  • The design has to be 100% accurate and any changes that occur throughout production needs to be clarified with the structural engineer to prevent collapsing. 
  • An engineer is also required to connect the timber as the slightest change within screws, bolts or pegs holding it together could diminish its strength resulting in the collapse of the roof. 

Roof trusses are extremely reliable, but like anything - things may go wrong. Certain measures should be in place to prevent anything undesirable from happening, as the collapse of a roof can have many damaging effects to both the home and home owners.

If the roof truss is exposed to damp over long periods this can cause the timber to lose its strength, even if treated, however this is more common in older properties but something that certainly needs to be addressed if affected.

Another issue in older properties caused by damp is dry rot and insect damage (wood worm) and sometimes joint failure if the trusses have been joined by Mortise and Tenon joints as they can be eaten by woodworm.

When building a house, the roof truss is essential within construction. Make sure you seek advice from a well established, well respected company to ensure you purchase a sturdy roof truss that will be around for the duration.

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