As with any building product, there are advantages and disadvantages to using aluminum roof truss construction, which means that due diligence is beneficial to you so that your team can determine which product is the best for the expansion and overall life expectancy of the building for the upcoming project.
Advantages of using aluminum roof trusses
All the advantages of building with aluminum roof trusses are similar to the advantages of building with steel in general. In addition to meeting stringent green building certification requirements, steel is also strong and durable, able to withstand most of the threats that wooden trusses are susceptible to.
The following are some of the advantages of building with aluminum roof trusses, in no particular order.
1. High strength to weight ratio. One of the main advantages of aluminum roof trusses is its high strength-to-weight ratio. This not only makes the product stronger and can withstand high wind and snow loads (more on this later), it also allows roof designs with excellent span capabilities. This is why steel is almost the only choice for builders who design large stadiums, warehouses, hangars, etc.
2. It is unified. Unlike wood, which cannot be unified due to its inherent natural growth environment, aluminum roof trusses are completely formed. They are prefabricated in factories with strict quality control. Therefore, the truss that arrives at the work site is completely built according to the design, with only minor changes. If there is any, this is impossible in the wood field. The characteristics of wood will change over time, especially in response to temperature fluctuations and Relative humidity.
3. Aluminum alloy is very durable. Aluminum roof trusses with adequate coating are very durable. Not only can they withstand high pressure situations under tension and pressure, but they also require very little maintenance. Aluminum alloys are also highly ductile, so significant deformations may occur before the roof system fails—most of which are obvious and indicate the need for replacement. In areas of the country where there is strong wind and/or storm potential, aluminum alloy and metal roof systems are also recommended. Roofs can be designed to withstand extremely high wind lift levels, including hurricane-strength winds. The above-mentioned compressive resistance makes them ideal for areas of the country that are subject to heavy snow loads.
4. Completely resistant to pests. Wood trusses are susceptible to pests, which is a serious threat in areas prone to attack by termites and other wood-boring pests. Although wood can be treated to increase insect resistance, the treatment itself is toxic, reduces indoor air quality, and is a stain on any project that wants to be sustainable or environmentally friendly.
5. Fire resistant. Fire-resistant coatings make the aluminum roof trusses hardly destroyed by fire. This is important for any structure with occupants or valuable property. For structures built in high storm areas or areas with greater seismic activity risk, improving fire resistance is also an additional benefit, both of which will increase the fire risk of the structure.
6. Environmental protection. As mentioned at the beginning, aluminum and metal buildings can earn extra points through reputable green building certification programs such as LEED. One of the main reasons for this is that the manufacture of aluminum roof trusses uses up to 90% recyclable components and is 100% recyclable at the end of its service life. This, coupled with the fact that they are very durable and rarely need to be replaced, make them a very environmentally friendly construction product.
Many of these advantages are complementary to others. For example, the uniformity of steel makes it difficult to maintain throughout its life cycle, and its prefabrication capabilities can shorten installation time, thereby reducing overall labor costs.
Taken as a whole, these advantages make aluminum roof trusses an economical construction choice, especially when you weigh the lifetime cost savings of durability and service life.
Disadvantages of using aluminum roof trusses
Of course, no product is perfect, so there are disadvantages.
1. Easy to corrode. Although aluminum alloy may not be affected by pests, fire and wind, it is susceptible to corrosion, especially as a result of prolonged exposure to humid environments. However, aluminum roof trusses purchased from a reputable metal construction supplier will be designed and coated according to your climate and building codes. These coatings eliminate the risk of corrosion, provided that adequate vapor barriers, ventilation and insulation are implemented in the building.
2. Aluminum alloy is luminous. Aluminum alloy will quickly dissipate the absorbed heat. This is good news for products such as steel roofing and siding, which can reduce the increase in solar heat, but for buildings where indoor comfort is important, this may be a disadvantage. Although aluminum roof trusses cannot provide the same level of innate insulation as wooden trusses, this can also be solved by adequate radiation barriers and insulation materials. However, it is important to note that this will also increase the cost of insulation, as more insulation material is required to fill the attic space.
3. Aluminum alloy will fail at high temperature. Cold-formed steel cables will fail at 800°F, while steel will expand at 1000°F, and the application of strong lateral pressure can cause the wall to collapse. Thermal-related expansion of the truss can also cause the bottom rope to bend and fail. Therefore, fireproof aluminum roof trusses are necessary to ensure that they perform well in the event of a fire. Please remember that the burning temperature of an ordinary residential fire is about 1,100°F (live-safe.org).
4. Professional skills are required. Since aluminum roof trusses are a relatively new phenomenon in the mainstream construction sector, especially in the residential sector, a certain level of skill is required to install and construct them in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Tool requirements are also slightly different, and these tools are usually not within the scope of general contractors unless they already use steel and metal building components on a regular basis. Therefore, the lack of proper skills and/or tools may result in improper truss installation or increased labor costs, and it is impossible to find staff who can perform the work correctly. Likewise, if steel construction is not the norm in your area, then finding experienced metal construction workers can be a challenge.
Due to the proactive measures taken in the design and prefabrication stages to alleviate many of the shortcomings of aluminum roof trusses, many contractors still find aluminum roof trusses to be the most advantageous choice, especially for large commercial and industrial projects. The key is to buy from a suitable supplier and ensure that the construction team is proficient in the tools and techniques required to construct the building in accordance with the design specifications.