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Benefits of the heel/drop-chord truss

Thinking of new build? A slight design tweak to your roof can improve energy efficiency, reduce ice damming, and make your home more resistant to wind.
Many homes are built with truss systems these days, and for good reason: modern factory-built trusses are strong and remarkably easy to install while being a cost-effective alternative to rafters.
However, like any good idea, there’s always room for improvement: the modern truss system creates a “pinch point” where it meets the wall. It usually means reduced insulation the wall. That allows for heat to escape - one of the prime reasons for ice damming.

The heel, or drop-chord truss, allows for a full bed of insulation in the attic, which does much to prevent ice damming.

However, a slight tweak in design, creating what’s called a “heel truss” or “drop chord” creates a rise at the end of the truss. This rise allows for a full vertical stack of insulation, increasing energy efficiency (and reducing chances of those pesky ice dams.) The wall sheathing runs up past the sill plate, which ties in the truss to the roof. This will create a stronger tie to resist winds. (It may also make the home more resistant to wildfire.)

The other advantage of a heel truss that the exterior sheathing laps over the truss, aiding in resistance to wind uplift.

Remember, if you're building, you probably need a permit. For all unincorporated areas, Saint Andrews, Harvey, St. George, and McAdam, call our planning department at 466-7369.