A timber truss system involves roof trusses that are made with thick beams of timber and which are often left exposed. This is different than a standard roof made with rafters and joists, which are then covered with drywall or another such material. A timber truss system can be a good way of creating an open feeling in the home, as the exposed beams mean a higher ceiling in every room. If you're thinking about choosing a timber truss system for your new home or for a major renovation, note a few questions you might have and then discuss this option with a roofing contractor or builder as needed.
Are they actually more fireproof than standard frames?
You may have heard that timber trusses are more fireproof than standard roofing joists and rafters, and it's good to note that they are not truly fireproof, as, of course, the wood does actually burn. However, the overall structure of these large beams make them very dense, meaning that they have little air inside. Without this air, any fire that might reach the timber trusses is very likely to die out. The trusses might suffer some charring and burning, but for areas with a higher risk of fire such as the desert or a location with a lot of lightning strikes, the timber trusses can be safer.
Do timber trusses need maintenance?
Because the beams are exposed and are holding up the weight of your home, you may think that timber trusses need special maintenance over the years, just like other surfaces of the home. You might have the bolts and other connectors inspected regularly to ensure there is no damage and that none have come loose; this can be especially good if there has been an earthquake or other such high risk factor in your area. Your timber truss manufacturer might also recommend that the beams have a new coat of sealant applied at certain intervals. However, other than these standard tasks, they usually require little maintenance, cleaning, and the like.
Do they need to remain exposed?
There is no actual need for timber trusses to remain exposed; they don't need special amounts of air circulation or sunlight to remain strong and sturdy. They are often chosen for their appearance by homeowners who want to keep the ceiling exposed for that very open look, but if you decide one day to close up the ceiling to add an attic space or otherwise alter the overall look of your home, you can work with a contractor to have that done.