Can You Change Roof Trusses?

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Heather Jones
Heather Jones
I'm Heather, an author passionate about home improvements. My writing is your guide to making homes better. Let's explore easy ways to enhance your living spaces, from small fixes to exciting projects. Join me on a journey of making your house a cozy and stylish haven.

Trusses are important because they create a rigid structure that can bear a very large amount of weight. They also serve to create interesting shapes for houses and other buildings and bridges or to extend their dimensions. When building a home, trusses are used to provide support for the roof and make roof cleaning easy as well. Placed at regular intervals, they are linked by longitudinal timbers.

Roof Trusses

Trusses are the favored structure to hold a rood because they are physically strong and can resist many kinds of forces. They are prefabricated and triangular in shape. They are:

  • Built from shorter lengths of 2×4 lumber
  • Custom-built in pretty much any shape, allowing for architectural designs
  • Able to span large distances and transmit the weight to the exterior walls
  • Tied to the wall with small metal plates
  • Easy to install

Once trusses have been installed, the area is covered with plywood and the roof acquires incredible rigidity.

Can roof trusses be modified?

You may need extra space, maybe an attic, and be thinking about the unused space above your ceiling and below the roof. How tempting to imagine the added square footage without having to move or to spend money to build an addition! You may be letting your imagination run wild thinking about all the extra square feet you might discover up there! If that is your case, please get a hold of a structural engineer and have them stop by to look at your trusses. They will give you a professional opinion as to what can be done or not done.

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In general terms, if the trusses in your home are manufactured or engineered, it is recommended that you do not mess with them. Trying to modify this type of trusses will most likely result in a big expense for you, not to mention the time it would take to get the results you want.

What if you really want that second-floor addition?

With the approval of an architect or an engineer, you may find out if cutting any trusses is possible and begin your project. The experts might recommend that you start by building a stick frame next to each truss. To be able to gain access to the space, you may have to remove the fascia as well as 2 feet of the roof sheathing right above it. Once that has been accomplished, slide floor joists in between and along each truss.

Don’t forget to cover the opening at night to prevent the weather or animals from wreaking havoc on the addition. Then slide some boards that will be used as planking over the new joists. This will allow you to walk on them. It may be possible for you to leave insulation, electric wiring, and some ductwork in place.

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With a little more cutting you may be able to slide in the ridge beam. You may finally begin adding rafters and removing the truss webs. Take advantage of the existing trusses to drape thick plastic over them as you make progress every night until the job is finished.

In any case, it may be a good idea to get a professional to do this for you. It’s a big job and the structural integrity of your home could be at stake. Check out the expert advice at portlandroofing.com and get the best results for any project you want. Your home will thank you!

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