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Did you know that one of the most vital components of any house or building is something that you don’t actually see all the time? There is even a chance that you have never heard of it.
We’re talking about the roof trusses, which act as the main support of your entire roof or roof deck and evenly distributes their weight.
Even if you don’t really see it, you need to make sure that your roof truss is always in good condition. At the first sign of damage, you already need to have it checked out by a professional roofing contractor.
When time comes to have it repaired, simply take 2 minutes to fill out the form at the top of the page, and we’ll help match you with the most relevant roof truss repair contractors near you that can then help you get free estimates or quotes when they’ve properly examined the extent of the damage.
What are the Functions of Roof Trusses?
The most important thing you need to remember is that without roof trusses, your entire roof will easily collapse with even just a mild gust of wind, exposing you and everything inside your home or building to the weather. It’s never something you want to happen to you.
Even if you have the sturdiest roof in the world but if it is not supported by roof trusses, it will eventually collapse. Not having roof trusses installed in your home or building is the same as not having a roof at all.
Roof trusses also give you some space between the roof itself and the ceiling, or even the building itself. For residences, you can even convert this space and turn it into your attic or a storage area.
Because of this space, you get to feel less heat from the sun. This is because the heat that passes through your roof will be blocked by your roof truss. Most of the heat that enters will be concentrated on the area above (if you have an attic) and will not go down to your living spaces.
Why Should You Ensure Their Proper Function?
Roof trusses are meant to last as long as your entire home or building, if not longer. Although it is considered as one of the sturdiest parts of any building and you can’t just leave it alone, you still need to make sure that it is constantly in tip-top shape.
One of the most common issues involving roof trusses, no matter the material used, is uplift. This is a result of the roof truss experiencing more moisture or is exposed to different temperatures compared to the rest of the truss at the same time, particularly during winter. When this occurs for a long time, it will eventually create cracks on your ceiling, making it look like your ceiling is detaching itself from the walls.
Both wood and steel roof trusses can also experience rot, wood especially. This will worsen over time and it should be remedied as soon as possible. If not, your roof truss will eventually not be able to provide the needed support for your roof or roof deck.
These two are the most common issues involving roof trusses. Left unresolved, this will affect the structural integrity of your entire building. It will also pose safety issues and can eventually make the building unfit for occupation. If you neglect your roof truss, don’t be surprised if your entire roof comes crashing down one day.
Types of Roof Trusses
Before you have any roof trusses installed, you need to choose which material you are going to use – timber or steel.
Cheaper of the two, timber remains a popular choice for crafting roof trusses of residential buildings. The type of timber used in roof trusses are generally of high quality so that it can withstand the heavy weight of your roofing system. It even fares better than steel when fire is concerned, as long as you use structural timber that meets fire safety standards. However, it is more susceptible to natural elements, including termites and other pests and harsh weather conditions.
Steel trusses, on the other hand, are mostly used in the industrial setting, such as commercial buildings, warehouses, and the like. Though more expensive of the two, it is much more long-lasting and easier to maintain.
Are you wary of installing roof trusses because you think they are triangular in shape only and would not fit the theme of your home or building? Technology has made it possible to have various designs when it comes to crafting roof trusses. Gone are the days where you can expect your roof truss to be only triangular in shape, although this is still the most common style.
The most common types of roof trusses are the following:
- King Post Truss – has the simplest design, which consists of 1 vertical central post, and ideal for spaces with short spans of up to 16 feet, such as the garage, porch, extensions, outbuildings, and sheds
- Queen Post Truss – similar to the King Post Truss but is built using 2 rafters, 2 vertical central posts, and a beam. Its lightweight construction allows it to be used for larger areas that have spans of up to 22 feet
- Fan Truss – uses the style of the Queen Post Truss but uses its web configuration twice in the same frame
- Vaulted or Scissor Truss – consists of lower chords that, instead of being positioned horizontally, have a downward slope and this allows you to not include a bearing beam on your truss
- Fink Truss – often used for pedestrian bridges and residences but can be used for other types as well, it is characterized by its signature ‘W’ web configuration and has spans of 16 to 33 feet
- Howe Truss – developed in 1840 by William Howe, this type is similar to the Fink Truss but has an ‘M’ web configuration instead. This type is often used in railroad bridges
- Mono Pitch Truss – is characterized by its right angle used for roofs with a single pitch or the lean-to types and comes with one rafter only
When it comes to installing roof trusses, you are not limited to the above options, as well as those that are not included in the list. It’s now common to find buildings that incorporate multiple types of roof trusses, not just in terms of the design but also the materials used.
Yes, you can use both timber and steel for a single roof truss at the same time.
Flat Roof Trusses
You might think that you are limited to having roof trusses that are either triangular, have multiple angles, or elevated on one side. If any of those do not fit the overall aesthetics of your building, it would be a nightmare to make the necessary changes and can even cause delays on the project. But what if there’s a solution for this?
One of the best ways to circumvent design issues is by using flat roof trusses. This type is most often found in modern design and is ideal if you want to distribute the entire weight of your roof to your building’s load-bearing walls instead.
If your main concern is in terms of drainage, you don’t have to worry because this type, although referred to as flat, actually has a slight slope to it that is hardly obvious when seen. This slope is enough for snow and water to go down and not get stuck on your roof.
This type of roof truss used to be problematic because some roofing contractors take the flat term literally; they do not add slope to this type of truss that’s why water and snow can get stuck on the roof. This is no longer the case since contractors are now aware of these issues and take steps to avoid them when installing flat roofs and their trusses.
If you are interested in having flat roof trusses but are unsure what kind of roof to use it with, we recommend an EPDM rubber roofing, which is the most common type used with this type of roof truss.
Inspecting Roof Trusses
We’ve mentioned the importance of keeping your roof trusses in peak condition. But in order to do this, you need to regularly inspect your trusses.
If your roof trusses are easily visible, that is, you only need to look up your ceiling, you can do the inspection yourself. Check if there are signs of rot and pest infestation on wood trusses and rust for steel ones.
Unless you are a roofing contractor as well, all the inspection you can do is on the surface level, particularly for cosmetic damages. This is why even if you have exposed roof trusses, you still need to have professional contractors do the thorough inspection. They will check on things that an untrained eye may not notice, such as misalignments, missing bolts, cracks, sign of movement, etc.
If we already recommend having contractors do the inspection of exposed trusses, all the more reason for you to have them inspect your roof truss that is hidden away behind your ceiling. This is a job for a professional if you don’t want any damage to your building, such as a hole on your ceiling because you took a wrong step and your foot went through it.
Problems with Your Roof Trusses
Earlier, we briefly touched on the topic of common problems involving roof trusses, particularly uplift and rot. In this section, you’ll learn about some of the other issues you might encounter, particularly if you are using timber for your roof truss.
One of the most common is water damage. Not only will this lead to leaks but it is also the main contributing factor of wood rot and infestation of pests. Water damage also spreads out and this can affect the other sections of your roof truss.
Another thing that you should watch out for is the presence of animals and pests, such as woodworms and termites. Pests are quick to multiply and will cause much damage to the timber if not subjected to pest control soon. Also, some animals can enter and take shelter on your roof truss, eventually making it their home and invading the entire space.
While it’s always best to go for what is practical, this does not mean you should cut corners where structural integrity is concerned. This is why you need to make sure that the materials you will be using are suitable for roof trusses. Some make the mistake of just buying any wood that looks thick enough, not realizing that this will eventually lead to issues like cracking or splitting because they are unable to hold the weight of the roof.
There may also be instances where contractors who are not knowledgeable when it comes to roofing might need to make repairs or do some work near it. You may be asked by the contractor to cut away some sections of your roof truss or make changes to it for them to do their work. However, readily agreeing might actually compromise your roof truss.
Over time, parts of your roof truss can loosen up, the glue you used to stick parts together no longer does its job, or nails and bolts holding them together go missing. This is common to roof trusses that have been installed for a long time, especially if the installation was done poorly by an unknowledgeable contractor, and should immediately be rectified to avoid affecting other parts connected to the roof truss, such as the roof, ceiling, and the drywall.
Repairing Roof Trusses
Now that you are familiar with potential issues when it comes to roof trusses, you might wonder how you can resolve them. There’s always one answer to that: hire a professional to do it for you.
Roof trusses are something that you can never work on by yourself, unless you are a professional. Even resolving the problems we previously discussed must always be seen to by a professional.
Before the contractor you hired for the job can start the repairs, they will first inspect not only the problem area you pointed out but your entire roof truss. This is to ensure that the problem is just confined to that area alone and has not spread out to the entire roof truss. As soon as they finish with the full inspection, they will give you an idea of what kind of work they need to do.
If they feel that the damage is too extensive and just doing repairs will end up being impractical, it’s likely that your contractor will need to remove your entire roof truss and have it replaced with a new one.
But if your contractor sees that only a certain section has been damaged, he or she may be able to just cut off the section with the damage and replace only that part with a new one. There are some new systems now that make it possible to do such repairs, instead of removing an entire beam or even the entire roof truss itself, just for an isolated problem or damage.
In the case of animal or pest infestation, contractors may have to refer you to animal and pest control services, and you might need to have an exterminator come and help you out. These cases are often out of the scope of a contractor and will always require the services of a professional. Even if you think you can look up the chemicals needed and just do it yourself, this might do more harm than good if you do not have a clue about their proper handling or are unable to fully eradicate the pests and animals.
Roof Trusses and Termites
Termites. They’re the bane of existence of anyone who has wood installed in their buildings or residences. How many times have you encountered termites feasting on your woodwork? Unlike carpenter bees, termites can actually cause structural damage to your home, and they will if they’re left to themselves.
Roof trusses that are made up of timber are not safe from termite infestation, even if these trusses are located way up high.
Although termites do not quickly cause damage, the main problem is that they exist in colonies. These colonies are home to thousands of termites and these numbers, not the speed, is the one that causes massive damage. They can even eat away a chunk of an entire wood, especially if more than one colony is present in the vicinity.
Despite their small size, termites pose big problems. They are literally small but terrible and should be eradicated as soon as you see even just one anywhere near your roof truss. If not, expect to shell out as much as thousands of dollars just to repair any damage a termite colony did in your home or building.
Why You Need a Licensed Contractor
You have probably realized by now how important it is to have a roof truss that is well-crafted to withstand both time and natural elements. It truly is not something that you can work on by yourself, nor is it something that you should take the risk of hiring unlicensed contractors for if you want to save money.
Roof trusses must be of the best quality from the get go because it is something that ideally should last longer than your entire house or building. If not, you might end up spending more than you bargained for in costly repairs, or even for their removal and replacement.
To avoid this, you need to get licensed contractors to build your roof truss and do the installation. A licensed contractor knowledgeable with roof trusses will know any pre-treatment necessary to make your roof truss last a lifetime.
Also, some manufacturers offer warranty for materials used in building trusses but if they were installed wrong, it’s likely that you will not be able to claim warranty. If a licensed contractor handles it, you can be assured that the construction and installation are done correctly and manufacturers will honor your warranty if you find any issues with their products.
Looking for Roof Leaks
Roof leaks are a common issue that any homeowner can face at some point. There are plenty of factors that result in punctures on your roof, but this is not something that can easily be resolved unless you know exactly where these punctures are.
This is actually the hardest part when it comes to leaking roofs. Unless the holes are the size of a penny, it is often hard to see where leaks are coming from. Water also easily travels, so the source of a leak may be different from where the leak actually passes through.
While you can check out your roof yourself to see where the leaks are coming from, you should let the professionals handle it, especially if your roof is high or not easily accessible.
The first thing a contractor will check is any penetrations on your roof. If you had to cut a hole on your roof to make way for your roof vent, chimney, or any other appurtenance, he or she will check whether there are any gaps between the roof and the appurtenance that hasn’t been covered by a sealant or any other material.
If your roof is up the attic, looking for leaks is much easier because contractors can easily look for water marks they left behind, or worse, signs of mold or other black marks. But if you don’t have an attic, you need to go up your roof to check.
Some leaks are much harder to spot, particularly when they are the size of a pin prick. These punctures can be invisible to the naked eye and the only way to discover them is to use some equipment. In this scenario, using water is ideal. Your contractor would have to get up on the roof with a water hose and let water pass all over the roof, while you or his or her worker would stay below to see where the leaks are coming from.
It is always better that you have your roof repaired for leaks as soon as you can. It is a fact that water can do so much damage to any building and even the smallest of leaks can severely impact your building or home and increase the likeliness of rusting and rot. For repairs, have professionals do it for you so they can assess what kind of repairs need to be done.
Is it Time to Replace Your Roof?
Have you experienced asking a professional to do some repairs for you but in the end, you had to spend much more than you bargained for?
Some repairs are not worth it; you’re better off just removing the entire problem area and replacing it with a new one.
This is sometimes the case when it comes to a roof. Sometimes, the damage is too extensive and it would be more practical to just have the entire roof replaced with a new one. But when is it a good idea to do so?
While some roofs can last a lifetime, it is expected that they will need replacement sometime after twenty years. Once it reaches this period, you need to have it checked periodically to see whether they are as sturdy as before or they should be changed already.
If you have a shingle roof, it’s common to find yourself replacing it at least once in your lifetime. Shingles are vulnerable to buckling or curling and if you see them this way or are already falling apart, it’s a sure sign that they need replacing.
If you’ve gone up on the roof and feel that some sections are softer and feel springy when you walk over them, chances are they have some water damage inside. You need to have this checked out because this might be a sign that your roofing systems is not as sturdy as before.
You might also notice light and water are already coming in from the roof. When this happens, it means there are holes on your roof that should be covered up. Few in number, these can be easily fixed by a variety of tools but if there are just too many holes to be fixed, it would be ideal to have a new one installed instead.
Any sign of a drooping roof is always a bad sign. You need to get in touch with a professional to see whether the structural integrity of your roof or even the entire structure has been compromised. If this is the case, your roof and all the affected areas will have to be removed and replaced with a new one.
There are so many other instances where it is much more practical for you to replace your roof rather than just do some band-aid solutions. Whatever the case may be, if you see that the damage is just too great, even by looking at it with your naked eye, look into having it replaced instead. You’ll also get to save yourself from the headache of having it constantly repaired every now and then.
Roof Truss Repair Cost
There is no standard rate when it comes to doing repairs on roof trusses, though you can expect to be billed by your contractor from $300 to more than $4500, depending on the severity of the issue and the kind of repair they need to do. For repairs on roof trusses, reports indicate that they usually cost $800.
On average, roofing contractors have a hourly rate that starts at $20 and can go as high as $75. Do note that this range usually includes both labor and materials.
Getting Free Estimates and Quotes
We cannot sufficiently stress the importance of this repair since it’s not just something you can put off. When you’re ready to at least have yours inspected, go to the top of this page and fill out the contact form so that we can make sure to match you with the most relevant roof truss repair contractors near you.
They can then reach out to you and when they feel they understand the scope of the job, provide you with no-obligation estimates or quotes. Filling out the form is really easy and just takes 2 minutes.