Roof Truss Design

Resources, Guides and Tutorials
May 31st, 2011

Tips for Buying Custom Built Roof Trusses

When ordering or buying custom-built roof trusses it is important to have accurate measurements and a design in mind.  Many roof truss manufacturers offer a variety of designs for different building needs. Whenever possible, it is best to select a design that the manufacturer already makes. If the roof trusses need to be specially designed for the building, sending an accurate scale drawing of the design will help ensure that the truss is built to proper specifications.

Measuring for Custom Roof Trusses

The first measurement needed for a truss is the width of the building from the outside of one load-bearing wall to the outside of the opposite load-bearing wall. Decide on the amount of roof overhang desired and include that as a separate measurement. Determine the pitch of the roof and be sure to consider local building codes. The pitch is the amount the roof rises every 12”. In areas that are prone to heavy snowfall the pitch should not be less than 4/12.

Will the Ceiling Be Finished?

Trusses that are installed in structures with an unfinished ceiling do not have to bear weight on the bottom cord. If the ceiling is to be finished, the weight of dry wall or other materials must be considered when making the truss. Trusses for finished ceilings must be able to handle additional stresses, and this effects the size and weight of the materials used to construct a custom built roof truss. Contractors or architects usually include roof truss materials lists in their plans.

How Many Trusses Are Needed?

Depending on the building plans and local codes, trusses may be spaced every 16”, 18” or 24” on center.  Determine the length of the structure and the spacing of the trusses. If spacing the trusses every 24”, divide the building length by two and add one to that number, since a truss will be added to each end of the roof.  If the trusses are not spaced to meet local code requirements, the building inspector will stop construction until codes are met.

Buying Roof Trusses Online

In today’s online world, almost anything can be bought online.  Roof Trusses are no exception.  Many Roof Truss Manufacturers offer nationwide delivery and have online websites that provide order forms where you can send in your details to receive a quotation and estimated time of completion of your order.  It is best to select a manufacturer that is closest to your building site so as to save on shipping and transportation costs.

Order in Advance

Because custom-built trusses are made to individual specifications, they are not made until they are ordered. To avoid building delays it is necessary to order the trusses at least 4 weeks in advance. Between building and shipping time, your order will probably take at least 4 weeks; it may be smart to ask for an estimate of manufacturing time well in advance of placing the order. Since fully assembled trusses require special equipment for handling, schedule the delivery time.

Conclusion

Custom-built roof trusses add strength and support to a home if they are properly designed and measured.  Although it is possible to design a roof truss for a particular building, it is generally less expensive to choose a design offered by the manufacturer.  Some manufacturers specialize in beautiful custom trusses, which are intended to be exposed in homes with cathedral ceilings. In addition to strength and support, these trusses add beauty to a home.

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