Roof Trusses or Stick Built for open Kitchen/Great Room

Briarwood1August 16, 2014

Hello, we are in the final design phase with our architect on a home that we are building in a 120 MPH wind zone in Southern Rhode Island.

Here is the issue, our architect initially wanted to use roof trusses for the whole house but our framer wanted to stick build the roofs. After going over it with the architect she was OK with stick built roof over everything except the open ceilinged great room/kitchen. She wants to talk to our framer about it but he doesn't see the need and just said have her draw the plans as stick built.

I've attached a jpeg of the first draft of the first floor. The footprint of the house is 56'x26', we added 2' to the plans that I've attached to this post so they're not completely accurate.

This is our first build and we are somewhat ignorant on the matter. We would like to build in the most cost effective way but not sacrifice strength as we are in a high wind zone.

Since the great room/kitchen is open and there will be no second floor over it the trusses seem to make sense to us but again, we are not experienced.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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In my neck of the woods framers get a higher rate for stick built roofs. There is an art to it, so make sure your framer has the necessary experience. Also in high wind areas there is more attention to detail since a stick built roof will need additional bracing.

As for trusses they are built in a controlled environment on a jig and shipped to the build site. Computerized engineering goes into their design to ensure the structural stability. Using trusses will also allow the house to be dried in faster as long as the order is scheduled properly. Depending on design they can however eat up storage space in the attic.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 6:05PM
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Hello Bronco, thanks for the reply. The framer has decades of experience. We completely trust his building expertize.

The open ceiling over the kitchen/family room will never be used for anything else, no attic or additions so the trusses seemed like a fine idea to us but every framer we've talked to doesn't like them.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 6:35PM
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but every framer we've talked to doesn't like them.

Have you asked them why? And how does your architect respond when you tell her the reason the framers do not want trusses?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 7:18PM
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The framers and builders we've talked to about them have given a myriad of reasons.

They can stick build a better roof than any off site company can.

The trusses lose structural rigidity during transport.

The wood used is inferior.

The crane issue is more trouble than just building them on site.

And on and on and on.

Our architect just says she's surprised that the people we've talked to don't like them. She says most builders/framers are using roof trusses now.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 7:30PM
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I don't really buy any of the excuses that the framer is trying to sell you on. Trusses are transported on special trailers. Most truss builders use machine graded lumber rather than visual graded. A crane with a experienced operator and a knowledgeable crew on the ground can have the roof on in a day, two max while the framer will more than likely take a week or better (depending on weather) to stick build.

Will the walls be 2x4 on 16" centers or 2x6 on 16" or 24" centers? If the walls are on 16" centers I would have it stick built with the rafters lined up with the studs. If 24", then I would go trusses and have them lined up with the studs. Keeping them lined up will provide better structural integrity.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 11:06PM
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