‘Ask the Builder’ Can Trusses Solve 2x10 Limitations?
“A floor truss can be designed to span 30, or more, feet with ease,” Tim Carter shares with his ‘Ask the Builder’ followers when he was asked about building a multi-story home with no interior bearing walls or beams. As some of Tim’s readers may be unfamiliar with the component manufacturing industry, these question-and-answer types of articles provide insight into structural components and how they can be used to help solve problems for home builders and homeowners.
Tim included this image of his daughter’s new home in the article stating, “These are spanning 28 feet, but you can go greater distances with ease. There’s no need for a bearing wall or beam under them to support the weight of the floor above.”
Tim goes into further detail in the article explaining the various benefits that floor trusses can solve related to flooring. “The truss manufacturer can build them so strong there’s no bounce to the floor at all,” Tim says, adding that, “Each truss is an identical copy of the one next to it so the finished floor is flat and smooth with no humps or dips in it.” Another advantage Tim highlights is the extra space floor trusses provide for contractors. “Plumbing, heating and cooling, and electrical contractors love working with floor trusses. They have virtually unlimited places to run pipes, ducts, and cables, never having to drill one hole.”
Tim’s newsletter and syndicated column are a great way to address these types of questions for a wide audience and direct people to SBCA’s Best Way to Frame website (bestwaytoframe.com) to learn more about components and how to get in touch with component manufacturers.
Q: Tim, is it possible to build a multi-story home with no, or few, interior bearing walls or beams? I’ve looked at lumber span tables and regular lumber doesn’t seem to be able to do what I want to be done. What are my options and have you ever solved this problem before? Stewart F., Portland, ME
A: You can build a multi-story home with no bearing walls. It’s been done for decades. The most amazing thing about how to do it is one just uses regular 2x4s to solve the problem! No, that’s not a typo!
Let’s first discuss the span tables that Stewart mentioned. A span table is a chart that shows how far a certain floor joist can span and not bend too much depending on several factors. The wood species, the grade of the lumber, and the height or size of the floor joist are the primary things taken into consideration when creating the tables.
It’s important to realize that different species of lumber have wildly different strength characteristics. When I was building every day, Douglas Fir was one of the strongest types of lumber you could buy. Southern Yellow Pine was also very strong. Hemlock, on the other hand, was somewhat weak.
Decades ago, I used floor trusses made with ordinary 2x4s to create the floor of a large room addition for a client. He refused to have any interior load-bearing walls or beams and also wanted a floor that was as solid as concrete with no bounce in it. Magic floor trusses solve problems like these and offer much more to architects, builders, and homeowners.
A floor truss is made in a factory where common roof trusses are made. Advanced computer technology designs the exact size and shape of the truss to meet whatever specifications you require.
The end result is a wood floor truss that looks much like large steel bridges that span rivers and canyons. I’m sure you’ve seen hundreds of these where the horizontal top and bottom members of the bridge are connected by numerous other pieces of steel that look like a bunch of connected letter W’s one after another along the side of the bridge. This design can be done with steel, 2x4s, and even toothpicks for class science projects!
Plumbing, heating and cooling, and electrical contractors love working with floor trusses. They have virtually unlimited places to run pipes, ducts, and cables never having to drill one hole. The center of each floor truss almost always has a wide-open chase for a heating or cooling contractor to install his primary supply ducting down the center of the entire floor from one end to the other.
A floor truss can be designed to span 30, or more, feet with ease. The truss manufacturer can build them so strong that there’s no bounce to the floor at all. This comes in very handy if you desire a tile floor. Tile and grout can crack if installed over wood floors that are springy and bouncy.
Two or three carpenters can easily move around these giant floor trusses. You don’t need to have a large crane on a job site to set them. Each truss is an identical copy of the one next to it so the finished floor is flat and smooth with no humps or dips in it. These imperfections are quite common with normal dimensional lumber floor joists.
You can discover lots more about floor trusses as well as the closest lumberyard near you that can order them for you. Visit: http://go.askthebuilder.com/bestwaytoframe. Since each job is different, these epic building materials are not a stock item you can just go pick up today. This is why you’ve probably never ever seen them before. I guarantee you’ll be spellbound when you discover all that floor trusses make possible.
For additional information visit the Ask the Builder landing page and read the following articles:
- ‘Ask the Builder’ Makes an Impact on 'Bestwaytoframe.com'
- Floor Trusses Reduce Aches & Pain Says ‘Ask the Builder’
- 'Ask the Builder': What's the Value of Wall Panels?
- Video: Trusses Can Make Your Dreams Come True
- 44-Foot Long Wall Panels; How Perfect Can They Be?
- 'Ask the Builder' Shares the 'Magic' of Components
- 'Ask the Builder' Promotes Attic Trusses in 60+ Major Metros