Friday, December 27, 2013

Snow, Roofs & Trusses

It's been snowing lately...I guess when one sighs about rain in December on the Internet, the universe listens! It's very pretty, and not really enough to disrupt life - other than to keep the framers away! I was told that they really dislike having to shovel the inside of a house. (fair enough!)

Last week the roof trusses got delivered. Note the special trailer with no bottom in the middle such that the peak of the roof (pointing down toward the road) is so close - almost touching! - the ground.

After the trusses were unloaded from the truck, the driver tried to leave, but he was stuck for a while while the framers tried to dig him out. (who knew how much shoveling a framer has to do?!)
cut sheet from the truss manufacturer

Trusses are interesting. They are factory built using lumber and fasteners under an engineers guidance (rather than the alternative - "stick built"- which, like the walls and floor are assembled on site from individual pieces. The main advantage of trusses (to the architect) is that they can span much farther than stick framing. The interior partitions are not load bearing at all and so can be placed (or removed) anywhere. To the builder, I'd guess the advantage is how quickly the roof can be put on.

This is an "attic truss", which means it is designed to have a floor for storage right down the middle (highest area) of the space.

Once the trusses were on site, the framers worked to apply the rake overhang. The rake is the edge of the roof by the triangle- or gable. (as opposed to the eave overhang - which is created by the rafter tail). They build this like a little ladder and attach it to the gable end truss. As as aside, overhangs are useful. They create shadows and shade and they protect the walls from weather, directing water away from the wall. Plus, they can really add an architectural statement, if proportioned and detailed correctly.

Crane lifting roof trusses into place
Trusses are in place and diagonally braced until sheathed. You can see the rake overhang silhouetted against the sky
Later in the week, a crane came to the site. The crane and a crew of a few guys worked to precisely place and secure the main roof trusses as per the 2'-0" on center layout. The framers also started applying the fascia, which is the board along the bottom edge of the roof truss tail. (where the gutter will be installed). Now the roof is ready for sheathing! And that means no more shoveling inside the house. Yay!

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