By Matthew Meyerhoeffer and John Rives
Roof and floor trusses are built in a manufacturing plant to exact specifications, which means they cost less and save labor in the field compared to the equivalent standard framing lumber. Because they are engineered, trusses can support more weight over longer spans as well.
With engineered truss floor and roof systems there is less deflection and movement, which prevents creaky floors and makes the overall structure of the home stronger. Trusses use less wood to accomplish the same support so they are also a smarter, more eco-friendly way to build.
In addition to the cost saving associated with using trusses, the time to build a roof system can be cut down from up to a week on a complex roof using standard lumber down to a day to install the trusses for the same roof system. This results in lower labor costs for the builder that can be passed on to the homebuyer. It also shortens the amount of time it takes to complete a home, which makes it easier for production builders to meet closing deadlines and allows buyers to move into their homes sooner.
The quality of the wood used in trusses is the same as standard framing lumber and the truss manufacturing companies are usually open to creating custom trusses for just about any situation.
There are a few situations such as some cathedral ceilings that may be easier to build with standard framing lumber such as 2×10’s, so some custom homebuilders still build their roof systems the traditional way. However, most production builders use trusses to save time and money and ensure a quality product for their homebuyers.