Can you convert a truss roof attic?

An attic conversion in Australia is a fantastic way to add practicality and value to your home. Turning an attic into a functional living space is quite the challenge, but if you have trussed roofs, the process may be more complicated.

Modern trussed roofs are important roof structures that are vital in evenly distributing weight across the building, making them particularly difficult to convert when creating an attic room. You might want to know how to alter existing roof trusses for an attic room if you are not fond of the idea of removing them.


Defining Trussed Roofs

Trussed roofs are a series of triangular-shaped frames made of wood that are bolted together to bridge the space in the roof and provide support. The primary purpose of trusses is to distribute weight evenly. Cutting roof trusses for loft conversion will result in structural damage.

Roof trusses are generally made of four (4) main components:

  • The rafters or upper cords that create the roof’s peak
  • The joist or lower cord that creates the triangle’s lower horizontal
  • The king stud, which refers to the centre vertical brace
  • The webbing, which dangles from the king stud and supports the rafters

This pattern forms a sturdy, lightweight frame but severely limits the attic space. This, combined with its purpose of providing structural support, makes trussed attic conversion a significant challenge.


Identifying Homes with Trussed Roofs

Trussed roofs are a common feature of modern homes due to their durability, strength, and efficiency. This type of roof structure is notable for its triangular shape. If your property was built recently, it is highly likely to have a roof truss system.

For homeowners who are unsure whether their roofs are trussed, here are a few ways to tell:

  • Shape – Trussed roofs generally have a sloping or peaked shape, with lower points on either side and a high point in the centre. The distinct triangular frame shape of the trusses is visible from the attic, often made with timber or metal. A trussed roof also has a higher pitch.
  • Property Blueprints – For older properties that are several decades old, examine the original blueprints to determine whether trusses were used and what type they were.
  • Professional Assessment – Hiring an expert to assess the type of attic you have will help you understand the kind of roof you have and if it is trussed.


How to Alter Existing Roof Trusses for an Attic Room

If you need to conduct an attic conversion in a trussed loft area, the first thing that might come to your mind is to remove the trusses entirely to make more room. However, doing so will result in structural damage, as the trusses are vital to weight support and distribution.

Attic roof trusses, fortunately, can be modified to suit your conversion needs. However, the process is complex and will need careful planning and execution to accomplish correctly. If certain trusses need to be removed, you must compensate for the extra weight-bearing capacities.

Due to the delicate process of modifying trusses for an attic space conversion, hiring a specialised contractor with relevant experience for the project is necessary. They will evaluate the existing roof structure to determine which attic truss will be removed.

How Truss Modification is Done

You might be curious to know what a contractor will do to make changes to trussed roof conversions. The precise methods will vary depending on the condition, size, and other factors, but below is a general overview:

  1. Removal – To convert a trussed attic into a functional living space, the contractor might get rid of the diagonal bracing and cross members.
  2. Extra Support – Removing the bracing and cross members will weaken the roof structure, so additional columns or support beams may be installed, and walls might be reinforced.
  3. Further Modification – Once the bracing and cross members are removed, the available space can be used as a living space. Still, since most trussed roofs have sloping sides and irregular truss shapes, a contractor might modify truss rafters to raise ceiling height and allow more room for ventilation and wirings.

You might want to browse results for truss loft conversion before and after to see how much work will be done and whether you’ll like how your loft will end up looking.

a living room attic

Trussed Attic Conversion Requirements

Like any other roof space, trussed attics need to meet building standards before they can qualify for a conversion. So, can you have an attic with trusses turned into a functional living space? Consider making a checklist to see if your loft meets the following criteria:

  • Type of trusses used on the roof – There are two main types of attic-saver roof trusses: traditional and modern. Traditional trusses are made of timber and have a steep pitch, while modern trusses are made of metal and have shallower pitches.
  • Height Requirements – Traditional trusses have a head height of 2.5 meters, while modern ones have 3 meters. In Australia, the minimum attic conversion head height is 2.2 meters, which makes modern trusses easier to work with.
  • Conversion Type – What kind of room are you building in your attic? If it is only for upgraded storage, a lower headroom may not be a problem. However, if you’re making a guest bedroom or a library, a higher ceiling height is preferred.


Turning Trussed Attics into Fantastic Living Spaces

Despite the construction challenges presented by trussed attic spaces, these kinds of lofts have plenty of potential to become valuable new rooms in your house. You don’t have to work on it yourself; contact Attic Plus – Sydney’s leading attic conversion specialists – for various attic-related solutions, such as conversions, lighting, and insulation.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is there a difference between rafters and trusses?

On the question of attic rafters vs trusses, rafters are commonly used in traditional houses and have far more room than trusses. However, trusses are more affordable than rafters.


Can you cut trusses in attic?

Be careful when deciding to cut trusses in the attic. Removing a truss will significantly impact the load-bearing capacity of the roof structure, which could cause it to collapse. If you need to cut a truss, compensate by installing a column or reinforcing the walls.


Can you do a DIY truss loft conversion?

It is not advisable to perform a DIY attic roof trusses modification, given the complicated structuring of trusses. Always call a specialist to do the work for you and tell you about the best solutions for your situation.


See more:
How to Make a Small Attic Room Look Bigger?

How to Keep Your Attic Dust-Free