When you design a custom home, you have the opportunity to choose your roof style, whether you have an attic, and what type of framing you can use. Roof trusses are very strong and offer good stability for peaked or sloped roofs. However, they also influence a number of other issues, not just stability, and you need to be sure that you're getting the right type of truss given what you want the home to look like and how you plan to use the space in the home. One such issue is an open or closed truss; open trusses basically do not have a floor, while closed trusses do.

Allowing Vaulted Ceiling Space

If you've ever been in a home where the roof was held up by a truss but the home had vaulted ceilings, you've seen an example of an open truss. The truss is still connected to the roof and walls, but there is no "floor" closing off the space under the truss and creating a ceiling for the room below the truss. If you don't want vaulted ceilings, you'd get a closed truss, which has a floor/ceiling division. However, this floor can't really be used as an actual floor; more on that in a bit.

Ensuring All Space Is Accessible

An open truss gives you a tall room. In very warm areas, that's an advantage as the warmer air rises to the top of the room at the top of the truss, leaving cooler air in the occupied section below. But that also means that the "ceiling" of the room will be so high up that it could be hard to reach for cleaning (getting rid of webs and so on) and repairs without a very tall ladder. If you're more concerned about being able to keep the ceiling area clean, a closed truss would be better.

Thinking About Future Storage Space

Now think back to what was mentioned about the closed-truss floor not actually functioning as a floor. The closure for a basic closed-truss formation is not constructed in the same way as a traditional attic floor. It doesn't have the strength to function as a floor for a living space, storage area, library, and so on. You can get reinforced trusses that have stronger floors, but you need to do that during the initial planning and construction of the home. You will have a lot of trouble trying to convert a basic closed truss to one that can support a lot more weight. As an article in the Capital Gazette noted, once you make that type of conversion, the space will still only be good for storing very light items like Christmas ornaments.

Meet with your team of architects (or the custom home company, whoever you're working with to design the home) and take another look at the plans. If you want to use the space under the trussed roof for storage or living, you need to make that clear now. And even if you're not concerned about storage, temperature, cleaning, and repair issues are also important. You can create the home you want, but you have to be sure you're choosing the right type of truss.

For more information about trusses, contact a company like Campbell Truss Company Inc.

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