If you have been around the construction industry or met
with us regarding a project you have probably heard one if not both of these
terms. They relate to a roof’s structural system. So what’s the difference?
The basic difference is a truss system is a quicker, less
expensive way build a roof. They look like they have boards connecting other
boards in what may seem like a nonsensical grid fashion (think cutting a spider
web in half). But they actually are structural pre-engineered support systems
made in a controlled manufacturing facility. Trusses are then shipped to the
project site and lifted into place with a crane. This can usually happen in a single day, with
roof sheathing (the plywood attached to the roof) applied the next. A typical install can take only a few days,
reducing the amount of time that the trusses and the rest of the house is
exposed to weather.
This is in contrast to what architects and contractors refer
to “stick building” or “field building”.
In this roofing system all lumber is shipped to site individually and then
measured, cut, and installed by hand. Without getting too technical the basic
structure consists of a main beam (the ridge beam) forming the highest point of
the roof line. This beam is supported by
two posts holding it up and either end of the roof. The angled lumber connecting to the ridge
beam at the top and to the perimeter walls are known as the roof rafters. The horizontal ceiling joists form the final
piece of the roof framing assembly.
Although more costly and time consuming it creates free unencumbered attic
areas that can be finished and create great ways to get more space without
changing the basic size of the home.
Truss Roof System Pros and Cons
Pro – Fast installation (generally a few days)
Pro – Less expensive materials and less labor
Con – More difficult to create usable attic space
Stick Built Roof System Pros and Cons
Pro – Creates usable areas for storage or
Con – Substantial Cost Increase in both
materials and labor
Con – More time consuming installation (can be