Roof Trusses; A Brief History

Roof trusses are regarded as the most critical component of a building’s engineering system. Their function is critical and the design of roof trusses is determined by many factors. Professionals are usually best qualified to make this decision. A conventional truss is a frame made from steel or wood that forms a series of triangles connected to form a stable structure. This system of triangles supports decking, sheathing and other roofing materials.


This system was created by A. Carroll Sanford in Pompano Beach (Florida) using triangulated lumber and galvanized steel gusset plate connections. The idea was born from an examination of plywood gusset plates, the consolidation of glue and nails, and the creation of trusses. Although its configuration has not changed over the years, components, longevity, price and safety features of the system have all been modified. This invention was to be patentable once it was established that the engineered system worked. This was the start of the invention and use of the truss. Trusses are used in all types of building constructions, including commercial, residential, and apartment buildings.

Prefabricated roofing trusses were invented in the 1960s. They consist of a multi-nail connection and a wooden frame. The system is made up of both these components. Clear-spanning was added to the design to allow for more space and open area to accommodate heavier loads. This design is cost-effective, easy to construct, labor-intensive and requires less material.

Modern Layout

Contrary to earlier construction, where the structure was built by hand, modern technology has made it possible to automate fabrication, design and manufacturing. This structure can be configured in a variety of sizes and shapes to match any type or roofing design using the computer.

Before deciding on the type of framing to support the roof, construction engineers usually design the roof’s style. These factors include engineering principles and building codes, as well as the type and stress conditions of the roof, ceiling, wind, snow and any other unusual loads that it may have to support. This information is then entered into a computer. The drawing will be printed with all details and specifications that will form the basis for the construction project.

The computer can quickly and easily specify the type, dimensions and wood species of the wood. It also gives the lumber size and grade. The computer can also accurately determine the size, orientation, and gauge of metal plates, as well as the strength of permanent bolting and where it should be placed.

Truss Types

Two types of trussing are used for new construction roofing. They are flat and pitched. The triangular shape of a pitched design can be easily identified by the combination of a web and chord configuration. This design is common on almost all construction sites. Flat design is determined using a combination of parallel top chords and bottom chords. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of which one to use is based on both aesthetic and structural reasons.

This post was written by Ted Williams! Ted is the owner of A Old Time Roofing which offers the best roofers in Clearwater FL! Ted is a Master Elite Weather Stopper GAF Roofing Contractor, a double award winner of Best Steep-Slope Contractor from GAF and achiever of Master Elite Consumer Protection Excellence from GAF. He has been serving the Pinellas County area since 1978. Old Time Roofing has a tradition of quality workmanship, servicing residential and commercial properties.