A roof truss serves to help hold up the roof of a home or other building. If they are installed well, roof trusses require minimal truss repair and maintenance. However, it is important to watch your roof trusses closely for signs of damage or decline, as broken roof trusses may cause serious problems, including the potential collapse of the roof of the building.
Causes of Roof Truss Damage and Their Prevention
One of the primary causes of damage to roof trusses is exposure damage. If the roof itself is not completely secure, or if there are leaks in the mortar joints or gutters, moisture may enter the building and collect in and around the roof trusses. Similarly, this exposes the trusses to insect infestation and temperature damage, among other things. Maintaining a properly waterproof and sealed roof is one of the best ways of preventing damage to your roof trusses over time. Consult with a contractor or roofing specialist if you have doubts about the quality of your roof or its repair.
Another cause of roof truss damage that is potentially more serious has to do with the quality of the truss itself. If the material or original construction of the truss was insufficient for the structural demands required of it, the truss may suffer damage over time. Watch for signs of bowing, splitting or other damage to the truss. In these cases, it is perhaps best to consult with a structural engineer for advice on how best to repair the truss.
Basic Repair for Roof Trusses
Before you begin working on the roof trusses in your home or another building, it is necessary to have the situation analyzed by an engineer. Without the proper understanding of the function of a specific truss or portion of a truss, as well as the nature and scope of the damage, operating on a roof truss is a dangerous project that may lead to roof damage or injury.
There are 2 primary schools of thought regarding repair of damaged trusses. The first involves bracing the existing truss with reinforced steel braces. Again, the location and nature of the bracing depends upon the location and severity of the damage as well as the structural function of the truss. The second school of thought attempts to maintain the integrity of the original material. For instance, in cases of damage to a tension-bearing truss, damaged wood may actually be cut out from the truss and replaced with a fresh, undamaged section.
Before beginning any project, and certainly before making any cuts or additions to a preexisting roof truss, ensure that you have fully analyzed the problem with the help of a professional, and that you have determined the best course of action for maintaining and repairing the existing roof truss. Ultimately, this will not only serve to save money on potentially superfluous procedures, but it will ensure a long truss lifespan and drastically reduce the risk of injury or subsequent damage.