Why builders use roof and floor trusses

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.

Floor Trusses

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.

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McKee Homes online marketing manager

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9 thoughts on “Why builders use roof and floor trusses

  1. I like the idea of engineering trusses to save material. I think it’s interesting that as an added bonus they can prevent floors from creaking. I would imagine that it adds some versatility to the design as well. It looks to me as though you could alter the design of the trusses to whatever floor layout you wanted.

  2. Thank you so much for the great information on the purpose of roof and floor trusses! We’re in the process of building a house right now and I found this page because I was curious why the builders were using trusses in the construction. It’s fascinating that they are a large part of what keeps floors from creaking. I hadn’t considered that to be a factor!

  3. Roofing is a task that interests me. After reading the article, I understand that trusses are a good option because they use less wood and offer reliable support. I am wondering what the best kind of wood is to use for this project.

  4. I had no idea that using trusses can cut down the time for building a roof. I have seen a few houses being built, and it always looks like the roof takes the longest to finish. I will have to remember that next time I see one of those houses.

  5. You made an interesting point about creaky floors. My grandma’s house is creaky all over the place. I’m not sure when her place was built, but I wonder if it was done before floor trusses. I’ll ask her this weekend.

  6. Wow, I had no idea how beneficial using roof and floor trusses was. You talk at the very beginning of your article about how they are made to exact specifications which makes them easier to install and able to support more weight over long spans, which is something that seems would help you to save a lot more money in the building process. Additionally, though, it seems like if all builders were to choose using trusses, they would be able to build more effective and stronger houses and buildings, which could really help every community to ensure that they have reliable and safe establishments built. This is definitely something to think about, and I appreciate all of the insight!

  7. I really like that the trusses can help decrease the creakiness of the floors in a home. I am sure this is especially nice for homes that have more than one sturdy, since it helps to keep it quieter, but also helps in making it more sturdy. It would be really interesting to look into using trusses in the home I am building, since it seems so much stronger. Thanks for the great post!

  8. I’m having a new home built soon, and you’re convincing me that roof trusses are the way to go. Saving labor, stronger, and more eco-friendly? Sign me up! Are there any disadvantages I should be aware of going into this? I really want to have a home I’m completely in love with.

    • Jane, your builder will most likely choose the best framing materials for the job. Cathedral ceilings and really custom roof lines sometimes require using 2x rafters and joists, but most builders use trusses wherever possible for the reasons described in the article.

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