Armchair Builder

Roof Truss Repair

Roof Trusses

Most homes built today use manufactured components for structural members because of their consistent quality, longer spans, and speed of installation.  Some examples include roof trusses, floor joists, floor trusses, beams, and headers just to name a few.  When it comes to roof trusses, you absolutely cannot cut, notch or drill through them…period!  Most trades know this but what if your electrician brings a new assistant that get’s overzealous and drills through a couple roof trusses?  How do you properly complete a roof truss repair?

The good news…the actual truss repair isn’t typically all that difficult.  The bad news…you will need to have a licensed structural engineer come up with the truss repair.  Why?  First, you don’t want to make an attempt at a repair without knowing for sure if it will work.  Fixing the roof truss correctly now, before drywall will be much easier than later after drywall and insulation is installed.  We also don’t want the possibility of a catastrophic failure that could cause damage to life and limb.  One of the worst things that could happen…your damaged truss fails when you’re up on your roof cleaning your gutters.

The second reason for having a licensed engineer design your roof truss repair is to show your local building inspector.  Most likely, your inspector will want to see the engineered truss repair drawing before he or she passes your structural inspection.  Make sure you do EXACTLY what the engineer is specifying.  This would include using the correct type of lumber and nails specified.  Also, if gussets (pieces of plywood used to reinforce the cut area) are required, which many times is the case, you will want them to be the exact size and thickness as shown on the engineer’s truss repair drawing.

Truss Repaired Using Plywood Gussets

So, how do I find a structural engineer for my truss repair?  First, talk to your truss supplier.  Many times they have engineers on staff that can create the drawings for you.  Just make sure the drawings will be stamped before you agree to pay for them.  Most building officials require a stamp on truss repair drawings showing the designer is licensed.  Another place to find good, local trades is through your local homebuilders association.

How much will the engineer’s repair drawing cost me?  In my experience, truss repair drawings will run about $100-$150 each.  Keep in mind, you will also have to buy the material and labor to make the actual truss repair.  On top of that, if plumbing or electrical are already run, you might need to move some of these out of the way to complete the repair.  These costs add up quickly, especially if multiple repairs are needed.

So, how do I prevent people from improperly cutting trusses on my building projects?  Make sure you include a note in each of your subcontracts mentioning structural member damage from subcontractor negligence.  Include language stating that all costs related to truss repair will be paid by the responsible subcontractor.  I also like to meet with any new subcontractors prior to starting to go over what can and cannot be cut, drilled, or notched.  This proactive approach keeps the truss repairs and hassles to a minimum.

Whatever you do, don’t wing it!  Get a professional to design the truss repair for you and follow the design to a “T”.

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3 Comments for Roof Truss Repair

Insulating Your Home. Builder Tips for a quality installation...- Armchair Builder :: Blog :: Build, renovate, & repair your own home. Save money as an owner-builder. | May 30, 2013 at 8:08 am

[…] Beams/Trusses – Beams and trusses should never be drilled, notched, or cut in any way.  If you find any of these,  you will need to consult the truss or beam supplier for a repair detail.  Here’s an article we published on roof truss repairs. […]

Home Defects from Framing Errors- Armchair Builder :: Blog :: Build, renovate, & repair your own home. Save money as an owner-builder. | September 27, 2013 at 7:13 am

[…] absolutely no cutting is allowed.  If a truss has been cut or drilled, you will need to have a truss repair detail created by your […]

Self Build: A guide to avoiding defects caused by framing - CRL home of structural insurance | October 3, 2013 at 9:18 pm

[…] absolutely no cutting is allowed.  If a truss has been cut or drilled, you will need to have a truss repair detail created by your […]