What’s up with Trusses?

Since the late 1970’s, building code for new home construction changed to require stronger roof trusses depending upon the elevation of the homesite. In Bend, Oregon, that required that the trusses increase to hold up to 25 Lbs. of snow load for a limited time without failing. Trusses are designed to hold around 12 – 18” of snow for a couple weeks with no residual structural issues. However, this is contingent upon either the snow melting or being removed to prevent ongoing loading of the roof that may lead to structural problems.

The problem we had over Central Oregon’s Snowmaggedon of 2017 was that there was 24” or more on roofs for extended period of time. This stressed the trusses but also created the opportunity for ice damming. Ice is much heavier than snow and starts at the eaves and works backwards up the roof line. It eventually works under the shingles and into the attic space. Once in the attic space it melts and drips water onto the insulation and sheetrock wreaking havoc along the way.

The minimum effort to counteract this effect is to remove snow from the bottom 3’ of the roof edge. Snow insulates the ice, so removing the bottom 3’ allows the ice to melt first (weather permitting) which then allows the rest of the roof to drain.

Today’s code requires use of a product called “storm and ice shield” at all eaves. It is a self healing, asphalt membrane that reduces (but not eliminates) the chance of ice damming entering the attic space. New Era Homes also uses this product in the roof valleys for the same purpose which goes over and above what is required by code. Like any product, storm and ice shield works in normal anticipated conditions and this winter was anything BUT.

At New Era Homes, we are always looking for ways to build the highest quality home for the greatest value. Throughout the building process, there are several areas where we exceed the minimum code requirements even when the effects are felt but not seen. We value our home buyers’ satisfaction from the beginning of the process to long after the move in date. Our philosophy is that a quality built home shouldn’t be an “option” – it’s every home owner’s right.