How To Use Trusses In Your Building Project And Still Have Attic Or Loft Space

Many homeowners are interested in using trusses for the construction of a new home because they speed up construction and offer greater strength and wider spans than rafters can safely achieve. However, it's a wrongful assumption that choosing trusses means giving up on a loft space or attic storage area. By choosing the right type of trusses and altering your home's design slightly, you can create useful space without compromising the strength of the roof.

Order Attic Storage Trusses

Most trusses are designed as large triangles with numerous smaller sets of triangles inside them to act as bracing. These smaller triangles, known as the webbing of the truss, don't have to brace the entire truss in order to give it strength. It's perfectly safe to frame out a center rectangle or square and run the webbing triangles to either side and above this shape. By doing so, there's an open space in the center of each truss for building in a room. These types of square centered trusses are commonly referred to as attic or attic storage trusses, and most builders can design them or find a designer for you.

Increase Roof Pitch

In order to get as much as space as possible in your truss room, you'll need a steeply sloped roof with a high pitch. The higher the pitch, the higher the ceiling in the room. This may not matter much if you only want a small room for storing holiday decorations and family heirlooms. If you want to finish in a living space, you'll generally need a roof slope around 10/12. This is 10 inches of rise for every foot of roof length. Shorter slopes will still work, they will just have shorter ceilings than what you'll find in the rest of the house.

Plan for Knee Walls

Trusses still need some amount of space on each side of the triangle that is enclosed and full of the webbing necessary to brace the roof. These are contained behind knee walls that run from the height of the truss room to its floor. Knee walls in rafter ceilings generally have enough space behind them for additional storage, but truss knee walls cover dozens of pieces of lumber instead. Don't plan to use the knee wall openings as closets or accessible storage when you're planning a loft or room addition to a truss attic. There's no way to remove the webbing pieces and use that space without compromising the strength of the trusses and roof.