Right, we’re all about being the best. That means being at the cutting edge of technology, utilising the best truss software, and robotic wood cutting machines. While it might seem we’re all about the future of trusses, we also believe those who ignore past lessons are doomed to build sub-standard trusses.
So here’s a breakdown of the history of roof trusses.
Introduction to Roof Trusses
Before the invention of the truss, roofs were limited to a certain size. Then came the truss, providing load-bearing strength over large spans. With a few angled cuts and axial tension (or compression), the truss broke this deadlock for spanning roofing distances.
We’re not sure how someone figured out that a triangle cannot be distorted by stress, but a millennia later the team at EndoTruss is thankful for their work.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “trusses were probably first used in primitive lake dwellings during the early Bronze Age, about 2,500 BC.” Since then trusses were used by the Greeks, during the European Middle Ages, and all the way until the modern age.
If you were wondering about where the word ‘truss’ comes from (it is a strange one when you think about it) it actually originates from an old French word trousse, meaning “collection of things bound together.”
In modern terms, the top length or ‘member’ of a truss is called a top chord, while the lower range members are called bottom chords. In historical texts the top chord was known as the rafters, and bottom chords were called tie beams.
We discuss terminology used in truss building and roofing on our website. Now, let’s talk about the first types of trusses.
King Post Trusses
We feel like it wouldn’t be a historical post if we didn’t mention a monarch. But the name comes from the central post in the truss called the king post. This takes most of the tension in the structure via some complex joinery which attaches the king post to the rafters, struts, and tie beam.
We don’t really supply trusses that have joints in them, as we use gussets, and cut lengths with laser precision.
Queen Post Trusses
This ancient truss is, and was, used to extend certain spans, with the king truss placed on top. There are two queen posts taking the tension with two principal rafters as well as tie and straining beams.
When the Queen and King trusses are joined together they are referred to as a compound truss.
As the name suggests, this truss has an arch in it. Unlike the other trusses mentioned, there are no straining beams and arguably the open look allows for a nice large open air space. The weight is distributed through the collar beam and arch braces into the principal trusses and the supporting wall (it is important to ensure the walls can take the weight).
For those who get excited about trusses, the hammerbeam roof is a sight to behold, as it is normally holding up an amazing English gothic cathedral roof. Dubbed as the most impressive achievement by medieval carpenters, it’s the tiny sparkle of light in the dark ages.
So amazingly, there are more examples of fake Hammerbeam truss roofs than real industrial scale examples.
If you’re interested in a more modern, prefabricated wood truss for your new home you can call us for a quote.