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Community and Q&A

Stick frame roof vs Truss

Vpachmayer | Posted in General Questions on

We are planning on purchasing house plans, but have realized the plans include stick frame roof. (Building in NE Ohio)

My dad, who will be helping with our self build, has been a construction worker for 35 years and is sort of stuck in his ways.

He told me last night stick frame roofs don’t allow for air space between the insulation and the wood plywood for the roof, so the roof doesn’t last as long and there’s lots of issues. Can you still get a high R-value with high density fiberglass, or blown cellulose on vaulted stick frame ceilings/roof?

Is this true? are there options that can be done to prevent?

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  1. Expert Member
    Rick Evans | | #1


    I think it would be helpful to offer more details about the roof detail.

    It *sounds* like your father is advocating for a vented attic approach- common with roof trusses. He is right, this type of roof works very well.

    It also *sounds* like the plans you purchased include either a ridge board or ridge beam with rafters. If the plans call for just stuffing some batts between the rafters, then your father is right again- that will lead to some issues in your climate. You will need an air space between your sheathing and insulation using baffles. Or you will need closed cell spray foam or exterior insulation. You can look up how to build a cathedral ceiling on GBA as there is a lot of information on it. These are harder to insulate [the right way] than a vented attic.

    You might also be able to make a vented attic with a stick-built roof the same way that you would with trusses, especially if the plans call for a ridge board with ceiling/collar ties upon which you can add fluffy insulation.

    Again, providing some images of the plans or more information would be helpful.

    1. Deleted | | #2


    2. Vpachmayer | | #4

      Thanks, I will definitely need to clarify with him.
      I will also look up how to build a cathedral ceiling on GBA. Generally speaking, is the ridge board or ridge beam roofs more expensive (due to baffles and other insulation things) than the common truss build?

  2. walta100 | | #3

    A raised heal truss are a common way to create the space needed between the ceiling and the roof to use low cost insulation to meet or exceed modern code requirements. Stick building that amount space is a challenge.

    Please take a few minutes and read the old questions on this web site, many of the questions are about how to repair or improve my cathedral / vaulted ceiling or attic roof insulation. In my mind both questions are the same” how can I get ten pounds of stuff in a five pound bag for short money. There is just not enough room have good ventilation and lots of fluffy insulation.

    I say skip the problems. If you want tall ceilings build tall walls and put in a flat ceiling.


    1. Vpachmayer | | #7

      that's always an option too. Just raise the walls a little...

  3. JoeNorm | | #5

    I used 24" parallel chord trusses. I ended up with about R-60 worth of batt insulation and still had a 4" air gap. This seemed like a pretty good solution to the cathedral ceiling conundrum.

    1. Vpachmayer | | #6

      Thanks sounds like a good alternative. I will mention it to him. What insulation did you use exactly?

  4. Expert Member
    Deleted | | #8


  5. Expert Member
    AKOS TOTH | | #9

    You can also build an excellent vented and well insulated cathedral ceiling with I-joists. The build process is closest to stick framed, the manufacturers provide excellent guide for framing a roof with I-joists.

    The nice benefit of I-joist is that you have the option to either blow in insulation if low slope or use batt insulation for steeper slope.

    They come in a number of sizes, you can build anything from an R30 to R60 roof.

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