enter image description hereSorry I couldn't find an answer for this anywhere so thought I'd try the great minds here instead (am hoping shameless compliments will get me somewhere here!)

Basically our loft has these 4 beams that go from the apex of the roof down to the floor of the loft, on top of what is a supporting wall (can't see how its connected as there is insulation/boarding in the way now).

The thing I'm wondering is, do I need these as they are only about 1x3" in size and are fairly flimsy, they certainly cant be load bearing and I reckon I could kick them in half if I were of a mind. But I can't work out what they are for...

Has anyone had any experience of them or whether they are just leftovers from lazy builders (they look like they were there when the house was built as its the same colour of wood as the other bits).

My obvious plan will be to get a structural engineer in to confirm but its driving me batty and google give me nothing but false hope, anyone got any clues?

I found this picture after more digging, my loft looks like the one on the left, but the picture seems to suggest that vertical strut doesnt need to be there...?

  • Spot the difference time! The picture on the left not only has the vertical beam in the middle, but two black rectangles at the middle of the outer beams, and the inner beams attach to the bottom beam differently. What do the differences mean? No idea! But I bet they're important! (Wild guess, the one on the left is for strong weather areas, where the roof needs to resist having a foot of snow, or stay intact in high winds or something.) Sep 18 '15 at 17:47
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    "they certainly cant be load bearing " Truss members are sometimes in tension...
    – DJohnM
    Sep 18 '15 at 20:31
  • Cheers guys! :) I think this all comes down to the same thing, get a structural engineer! :D I'll post back an update when the guy comes over and tells me whats what.
    – MorkPork
    Sep 22 '15 at 12:34
  • So I got an architect over and he's pretty certain that they are actually holding up the joists underneath rather than supporting anything, and their flimsy-ness comes from the fact that there is actually a supporting wall directly underneath them so there is no weight to hold up. Will be getting a structural engineer in to assess properly but he said he doesn't see there being any problem with just removing them and addin in a double bracing underneath to the joist (or something to that effect). So should be pretty easy.. Bonus!
    – MorkPork
    Sep 29 '15 at 13:24

Your picture suggests that they are different truss types. The fact that one doesn't have the vertical member in the middle doesn't mean that it isn't needed. I could design a roof without any bracing members - that doesn't mean that you can go and take out bracing members from a different roof. My design would need chunkier members and connections to take the different loads, whereas the roof with bracing members would have smaller members, as it will have been designed assuming those bracing members were there.

More than likely the reason it is there is because it is needed. But there's no problem with employing a structural engineer to confirm this.

  • Thanks, would you think from your own experience that if I did want to get them removed a structural engineer would be able to come up with another way of supporting things, cross bracing at the top or something perhaps?
    – MorkPork
    Sep 18 '15 at 15:09
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    From an engineering point of view: pretty much anything is possible... you just might not like the cost that is associated with it! But in this particular case the engineer won't have any problem coming up with an alternative solution. My first instinct is to beef up the existing inclined verticals; but I should point out that I have no professional experience of timber in residential buildings (I have plenty of experience of concrete bridges though...), hence your structural engineer will have a much better idea than me.
    – AndyT
    Sep 18 '15 at 15:17

That is called a fink truss. Fink Truss The wood may be small but it's important. It's helping transfer the weight of the roof to the walls below, and it's keeping the roof from collapsing flat.

You may be able to convert them to attic trusses.

Attic Truss

but that could be a really big job, you'd have to save the ceiling below while beefing up the bottoms to support weight, etc.

  • I don't see where the fink truss is in your diagrams above, are you referring to the two beams coming up at nearly 45 degrees to the apex of the roof? If so mine has those but also has a single piece of would running up the centre from the floor to the roof apex...
    – MorkPork
    Oct 21 '15 at 12:24

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