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What is a roofing truss?

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Quick Answer

Roofing trusses are prefabricated triangular pieces of wood used to support a roof. Due to their construction, trusses are very strong and inexpensive.

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Full Answer

Trusses are common elements in roof designs. They go up quickly and can be built in a variety of different sizes. The one downfall to roof trusses is that they may cut down on or completely eliminate attic space.

Scissor trusses give a ceiling a vaulted or cathedral appearance. A clerestory truss allows for one high wall with a band of small, narrow windows along the top near the ceiling. For wide spans of roofing, a triple Howe truss is commonly used, and this type spans from 54 to 80 feet across, notes DIYNetwork.com. A less commonly used truss is the room-in-attic truss, which provides living space within an attic.

In a roof design, the size and shape of the roof is determined by the trusses used and the hips and ridges the trusses are combined with. Roofs must be designed to shed water effectively, and the connections must be made very strong. During the design process, the truss is covered with a roof sheathing followed by the roof covering. Each layer overlaps to create a waterproof shield. The most common type of roof covering used in the United States as of 2015 is shingles.

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