Roof Truss Installation Tips: How to Set Them Properly
These days, it seems roof trusses have surpassed rafters as the most popular way to create roof frames, and for many reasons. They aren’t just more affordable – roof trusses are also extremely versatile and convenient, allowing builders to traverse large distances between walls without additional center support.
With so many homes adopting open spaces and large floor plans, it’s no wonder that contractors and homeowners alike are choosing roof trusses over traditional, stick-framed roofs. Another bonus: roof trusses are quick and easy to configure, which reduces the cost of manual labor.
However, even though roof trusses are relatively simple to install, you need to know what you’re doing. There’s still substantial room for error, especially if you aren’t hiring professional roofers or builders to help with the job.
Today, we’re sharing five tips on installing roof trusses the right way from the get-go.
1. Understand What Kind of Roof Trusses You’re Using
This might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s an important tip. Different styles of roof trusses require different strategies during installation.
For example, hip roof trusses (often used in locations with heavy rain or snowfall) slope downward at every point. These trusses are relatively easy to install – so much so that they don’t even require the use of a crane in most situations.
However, not every truss design will be as simple. Today, it’s not uncommon to see a vaulted scissor truss with a coffer and an attic room, all in the same truss design.
When you branch out from a straightforward, easy truss setup, the need for further planning and guidance increases. Make sure you understand exactly what your truss design entails – and if you’re up for the job of properly handling each installation step.
2. Fit the Roof Truss Members Prior to Lifting
This tip will prevent you from getting ahead of yourself during the roof truss installation. For example, you don’t want to begin lifting trusses to the top floor of the building, only to realize that the members don’t all fit together like carefully laid-out puzzle pieces.
If you use prefabricated trusses, you will receive a diagram and layout of the truss configuration from the manufacturer. This makes it fairly easy to understand how the trusses should fit together. Usually, each piece is numbered, and you can follow the instructions to a T.
Once you know how the trusses will fit together, you and your team will need to match the trusses to their corresponding numbers on wall plates. Only then can you begin nailing the first truss to the wall and attaching the brace needed for support.
3. Attach Ridge Beams to Each Truss
After you have the first truss nailed and attached to its brace, you can move onto the second truss in a similar manner. At the apex of each truss, you’ll need to attach a ridge beam that will transfer the loads to post or gable end walls.
This beam serves as a prop for opposing rafters to rest against. It will extend to the far end of the roof and hang over the trusses. In some cases, additional supports beyond this ridge beam may be needed.
4. Only Nail Where the Manufacturer Indicates
As we said, if you’re installing prefabricated roof trusses, you should have detailed instructions from the manufacturers – including designated spots for nailing the trusses. Don’t ignore those instructions – this can result in truss members cracking, and nailing in other spots can void the manufacturer’s warranty on the trusses.
5. Keep the Trusses Aligned at All Times
Note the instructions for roof truss directions. Even if the webbing looks the same, there is a specific direction in which each truss should face. If you ignore the designated directions, you could wind up with trusses that need extra support but don’t have proper load-bearing capabilities.
Bonus Tip: Store Your Roof Trusses Correctly
Lastly, we want to remind you that how you store the trusses before and during installation is extremely important. Never, ever store the trusses in direct contact with the ground or on uneven floors. Doing so can result in moisture collection, bowing, and general framing problems.
Instead, store the trusses so that their weight does not rest on the tails. Then, stand them upright in a vertical position that keeps them dry and straight.
We’ll be honest: roof truss installation is one of those projects where you really might want the help of a professional. Even if you’re doing the bulk of the labor yourself, there’s no substitute for decades of experience working with different kinds of trusses and installation strategies.
At Hitek Truss, we serve everyone from experienced contractors and architects to individual homeowners. We’ve been providing high-quality custom wood roof and floor truss components in Florida for more than 75 years.
Whether you’re just beginning your roof truss design or you’re days away from starting the installation, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions. Roofs are a critical component of any building – one you can’t afford to mess around with.