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Roofing Terminology

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Trusses are the framing members that create the shape of your home's roof and provide support for your roof sheathing and shingles. Damage to your roof trusses is often considered to be a structural issue and should be corrected as soon as possible.

Roof Trusses and your Roof System

Roof trusses are normally designed and built in a manufacturing facility and trucked to your home's location for installation. They are engineered at a particular roof pitch or slope to give your home its unique appearance, and are usually spaced about 24 inches apart when set in place by the framing contractor. The plywood or composite roof sheathing is attached to the trusses before being covered by your finish roofing material, such as shingles.

Damage to one or more trusses can cause your roof begin to fail and can lead to water intrusion and safety issues. Truss problems to watch for:

  • Cracks. The home settling over time, wood aging, or an event such as an earthquake can cause trusses to crack.
  • Breaks. An impact to the outer surface of your roof such as a large tree branch falling can break one or more trusses.
  • Loose gussets. The framing members that make up a truss are held together by wire mesh or plywood gussets; if these become loose the integrity of the truss can be affected.
  • Water damage. A long term water leak can cause wood rot in a roof truss.

If you suspect a damaged truss, you should have a reputable roofing contractor conduct a thorough inspection of your roof system. In many cases the contractor can consult with an engineer and a simple repair such as adding support to the damaged truss can be implemented. A truss problem left alone can get worse, cause structural damage, and lead to expensive repairs.

Roofing Terms