Styles of Trusses

Written by ben wakeling
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Styles of Trusses
Trusses come in a range of styles and designs. (loadind a trussed roof image by Adrian fortune from

Whether remodelling your existing house or building your dream home, choosing one of the many different styles of truss available allows you to be more creative when considering the aesthetics of the building, as each has its own profile. Some truss designs are built for strength, some allow for a room in the attic. Knowing about the different options available will allow greater flexibility in your design, and ultimately increase your enjoyment in your new home.

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Common Truss

This truss design is probably the first style that comes to the mind of many when considering trusses. Consisting of what is essentially an isosceles triangle, supporting struts can either be in a "W" configuration, or an "M" arrangement, with a vertical central support. It can span distances of up to 80 feet in some cases, the largest common truss known as a "Triple Howe" style.

Styles of Trusses
Common trusses are often used in houses. (roof trusses inside house image by Adrian fortune from

Attic Trusses

Attic trusses are known as "top hat" trusses because the supporting struts are arranged in the shape of a top hat. These trusses allow the property to have a room in the roof space, which can add value to the building and provide extra space for an additional bedroom or simply for storage.

Styles of Trusses
Attic trusses allow rooms in the roof. (attic window image by green 308 from

Double Pitch Trusses

Some truss styles are designed to allow the roof to have two or more different pitches, adding an unusual quality to the property. This comes in the form of simple a "Double Pitch" truss, which is a scalene triangle with each of the two sides other than the base at different angles.

"Gambrel" trusses and "Bowstring" trusses are similar in style in that they both use two or more different pitches to achieve almost a flattened semicircle profile to the roof. This is useful when a requirement other than tiles is needed for the roof finish; for example, where the builder or client instead opted for a reinforced plastic covering.

Styles of Trusses
Trusses allow for a range of roof styles. (Wooden truss image by Burtsc from

Flat Trusses

Although rarely used in house building, flat trusses consist of two horizontal beams, connected by supporting struts sometimes arranged in a lattice formation. Flat trusses are suitable for spans up to 250 feet and are a common configuration for large industrial units and warehouses.

Styles of Trusses
Flat trusses are more common in industrial buildings. (floor trusses image by jimcox40 from

Scissor Trusses

Scissor trusses are often used for cathedral or vaulted ceilings, and are characterised by the lack of a base horizontal beam, instead employing two beams at an angle from the centre of the truss. They are very expensive to manufacture, and can make the loft insulation difficult, as it cannot rest on a flat surface.

Styles of Trusses
Scissor trusses are often used in cathedrals. (cathedral-mezzanine image by Jeffrey Zalesny from
Styles of Trusses
(roof image by dinostock from

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