Which is Better Roof Trusses or Stick Framing Part 3: Flexibility

This is the third installment of the “Trusses vs. Stick Framing” discussion.  In this post we are looking at the two methods from a flexibility standpoint.  I don’t mean how flexible the materials are from a material property point of view, but what kinds of flexibility do they provide as a building method.

In the previous posts we looked at:

Cost effectiveness (Click here to view)

Quality (Click here to view)

Let’s see how they stack up on the flexibility topic.

flex·i·ble- characterized by a ready capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements.

Taking the above definition – how successful are trusses and stick framing with adapting to new, different and changing requirements?

Trusses:

  • Since trusses are a manufactured product, once they’re built – they’re built. If there any design changes, you have a number of options:
    • If changes occur prior to trusses being built, there is an opportunity to re-design trusses. This could result in production and delivery delays depending how close to original delivery date the change occurs.
    • Trusses can be modified at the plant. Depending on what needs to change, this may not be a great option.
    • Trusses can be rebuilt. This costs money and time.
    • Trusses can be modified in the field. This costs even more money and time.
  • Field modifications can be quite involved depending on the situation and this translates into $$$. An engineer’s seal is required when modifying trusses. There can also be certain situations where it is not possible to modify a truss. This would mean building a new truss and having it delivered or to try to design a fix without using a truss.
  • Trusses can offer some “flexibility” to a building designer by allowing for certain structures that would not be possible with stick framing. (e.g. large vaulted spaces)

trusses-vs-stick-framing-1

Stick Framing:

  • Built on site to match job site conditions.
  • If there are design changes, your options:
    • Re-design can be worked out on site in many cases.
    • If different or additional material is required, a call to the lumber yard may be all it takes.
    • Don’t need an engineer’s seal in most cases – as long as you pass the framing inspection.
  • Depending on the type of project, the framer can have a lot of freedom in how the framing is constructed.
  • May not give an architect as many options with a design if looking for large open areas that a stick framed roof can’t provide.

trusses-vs-stick-framing-2

Looking at the two products from the flexibility angle, I would have to give the nod to stick framing.  Given that you are not dealing with a manufactured product, it allows you to create the structure as you go and are able to adjust to any site conditions or design changes that may arise in a more efficient manner.

In the final post for this series we will summarize the truss vs. stick framing debate and determine the final outcome for this question.

Let us know your thought s on this topic.  Look forward to hearing from you.

Read Part 1 in this series here.

Read Part 2 in this series here.

Stay tuned for Part 4.

Bill Hoover – Design Professional

Gould Design, Inc.