Timber Truss versus Engineered Truss
Updated: Feb 28
When designing a home, there are three distinct options for forming a roof and ceiling structure.
The first option is using engineered trusses. Engineered trusses are the most common roof structure and used in most stick frame houses. They are pre-manufactured at a plant using 2x material and metal plates. They are typically installed close together (16” to 24”) to form the ceiling and roof structure. The builder will then finish the ceiling with other materials and the engineered trusses will not be visible in the finished space. Engineered trusses are the cheapest option and offer basic functionality but no aesthetic benefits.
Example of Engineered Truss
Natural Timber Trusses
The second option is using natural timber trusses. Timber trusses are made with large dimension timbers. We almost always use 8x or 10x material for our structural trusses. Timber trusses are typically set about 10 feet apart and are paired with purlins or common rafters to create the roof structure. Some homeowners also add tongue-and-groove wood planks to cover the entire ceiling. All these natural components will be visible in the finished house. Timber trusses cost more than engineered trusses but add architectural and design interest to the space.
Example of Timber Truss
Example of Timber Truss with Tongue and Groove Planks
The third option is a dual approach where both engineered and timber trusses are used. Builders frame with engineered trusses, add sheetrock, and then install decorative timber trusses. We generally don’t recommend this because of the duplicative cost of using both materials. A better approach might be to choose engineered trusses in some rooms (typically bedrooms and bathrooms) and timber trusses in the main areas of the home (family room, kitchen, porch, patio, etc).
Homeowners who partner with us are seeking an extraordinary home with natural elements. They crave the beauty and character of wood and the warmth it brings into any space. For more pictures of our timber truss options, visit our natural timber truss photo gallery. If you are ready to move forward with your project, request a quote here.