Spot­light On... Roof Trusses

Choos­ing the right roof type can have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on your fi­nal bud­get, as well as af­fect­ing how your home can be used now and in the fu­ture, says Mark Brink­ley

Homebuilding & Renovating - - Contents - Mark Brink­ley Mark is the au­thor of the ever-pop­u­lar House­builder’s Bi­ble and an ex­pe­ri­enced builder. He’s just started an­other self-build.

Build­ing expert Mark Brink­ley ex­plains why your choice of roof con­struc­tion can have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on your bud­get and how your home can be used now and in the fu­ture

W hat ques­tion is the few best self-builders way to build think a about roof? when It’s a they set out on their jour­ney, but it can have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on their bud­get and on the way their home is used now and in the fu­ture. Tra­di­tion­ally, al­most all do­mes­tic roofs were built on site by an age-old method which we now call the ‘cut roof ’. That is to say, they were as­sem­bled by the car­pen­ters from in­di­vid­ual tim­bers de­liv­ered to site. Build­ing a roof was one of the more ex­act­ing parts of a car­pen­ter’s skill, in­volv­ing de­tailed an­gle cal­cu­la­tions and some com­plex cut­ting. Or, to put it an­other way, it was time-con­sum­ing and there­fore ex­pen­sive. In the 1960s, the pre­fab­ri­cated fink roof truss ar­rived on our shores from Amer­ica. It was a sim­pli­fied, in­dus­trial method of roof build­ing. All the car­pen­ters were re­quired to do was un­load the roof trusses off a lorry, haul them into place and then se­cure and brace them al­to­gether. Typ­i­cally, a de­tached house would re­quire be­tween 12 and 20 roof trusses. Roof trusses caught on like wild­fire and quickly took over the world of roof build­ing. By the 1990s, only peo­ple build­ing very com­plex roof shapes both­ered with the old roof car­pen­try skills. But the cheap­ness and sim­plic­ity of roof trusses came at a price. Un­like cut roofs, you can’t eas­ily adapt a roof built with trusses and if you wanted to have a loft con­ver­sion, you were stuck. By the end of the 1990s, builders started to worry more about the value of the wasted space in the lofts, and the fink roof truss stopped look­ing like such a bar­gain.

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