If you want an alternative to a stick frame roof, you're probably going to turn to a roof truss system. The advantage of a roof truss system is that it is prefabricated and can be quickly installed as part of your home. When you're sitting down with your architect to discuss his plans for your new home or the changes he plans to make to your old one, you need to understand the different types of roof truss systems. This will allow you to make the best choice for your specific home. Below are some of the most common types.
Trusses can be used for the majority of sloped roofs, and this includes gable roofs. The configuration of the truss depends on the degree of the slope and how much of a load the roof will have to carry. A king post truss is simple and relatively inexpensive. It has one vertical member that can span up to 16 feet. If you need something that can span further than this, a queen post truss will reach 22 feet. The greater the span, the greater the need for webbing members to add support.
For barn style roofs, Gambrel trusses can be used. The manufacturers or contractors (like Unruh Seamless Guttering LLC) building your prefab truss system can also construct girder trusses if the design requires a hip roof. You can achieve almost any roof configuration you want, since trusses are highly adaptable. However, if you find that your roof is going to be extremely complex, with many roof angles, valleys, dormers and hips, you might save money by having a framing crew put up a stick frame roof. Putting up trusses is like assembling a giant 3-D puzzle, which means that the easier the design is, the easier it will be to assemble.
Flat and One Sloped Roofs
Shed roofs, sometimes referred to as single slope roofs, require a mono truss. This somewhat resembles half of a gable truss. When you look at flat roofs, you'll find that they are comprised of parallel chord trusses, and that these trusses are usually not actually parallel. This is because flat roofs are rarely flat. One part or the other of the truss system is going to have to slope slightly so as to allow water to drain off the roof.
Vaulted and Coffered Ceilings
A truss's bottom chord doesn't always have to be horizontal. If the design requires a vaulted ceiling, the manufacturer can build a scissor truss system that provides a ceiling slope on the interior. It's important to note though that the exterior vault has to be higher than the interior vault so that the two chords can be far enough apart to properly support the webbing members.