Wood Trusses Rank With Engineered Wood Products

There has been an incredible amount of research and development put into the strength, design, and manufacturing of trusses. Trusses and groups of trusses have been built and tested to the breaking point so the exact strength of a truss is known. Do all trusses have the same strength? Are trusses all user friendly? The answer is no due to the nature of framing and not all lumber has the same grade, density, and quality. Does it make a difference what grade of lumber is used and how the finished truss looks? Yes!

Trusses are often viewed as dimensional lumber tied together with plates and aren’t much different then stick framing or individual rafters. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! When you buy a truss, you’re not just buying some lumber! Trusses are in the category of engineered wood products. They have been designed to certain specifications based on extensive testing and are built to that end.

The Best Lumber Grade for Wood Trusses

Let’s delve a little deeper into the design of a truss and how well it was manufactured. Lumber quality and grade actually has quite a bit to do with the strength of a truss. If you have a 2×4 truss that is spanning 26’ and it has a 1 inch knots sprinkled along the top and bottom cord along with some wane on the edge and under a connecting plate, how much strength does the truss lose just by having it in there? A truss using #2 for the main cords is just not going to be as good of quality as a truss using a higher graded lumber with fewer knots and wane like a Select Struct grade which has been visually graded for quality.

Another way to look at lumber is by this chart. This chart is only for a reference and shows no actual type of lumber. In fact, bending strength is normally shown as a psi number. This is simply showing the difference in lumber from grade to grade. The higher the relative bending strength is, the more the board can handle in a truss application. You can see for yourself how the numbers change as the grade of lumber changes.

Wane is a defect in dimension lumber that is caused by remaining bark or due to the curvature of the log, a beveled edge. If this beveled edge comes under a plate by a joint on the truss, the teeth of the connector plate is suddenly not getting the amount of bite that it was designed to have. This potentially makes a weak point on the truss depending on the reactions at that joint.

Knots, wane, and splits make a truss weaker for handling as well. Once trusses are built and delivered, they still need to be installed on top of the walls. That requires handling the trusses and the more they get moved, picked up, swung around, and so on, the greater the chance of something breaking becomes. Chords and webs can break much easier when they have large knots or splits in the lumber. When something does break, it takes time to fix it. If the project is one that is being inspected and requires an engineer seal on everything, it will take even longer to get a sealed repair on the truss.

Use Quality Lumber for Webs

Lumber grade also makes a difference on the webs. Even though some people would say that the webs are not as important on the quality or how good they look, there is one thing to keep in mind. The webs in the truss are what give the outside shape of the truss its strength! So does it make sense to put the lowest grade lumber in them? Some of those webs have quite a load on them and if cheap lumber is used, they will require more web bracing to make up the strength they lack.

Did you just catch that phrase “more web bracing”? What framer in the field likes to put on web bracing in the trusses once they are up? None, that I know of. I’ve never seen a framer excited about getting to install web bracing. Usually if the truss requires web bracing, it has been marked with a tag or the engineered drawings will also show if it needs it or not. Some framers see the bracing tag but don’t put bracing on because they feel like it is not important or else it’s too much work.

There is a direct connection between the quality of the lumber and how much web bracing will be required. So if a higher grade of lumber is used and therefore better quality with fewer knots and less wane, there will be fewer webs that require web bracing which saves you time and money. This is especially nice when you are talking about a post frame shop or barn and the trusses are farther apart. This means that the framer is happier because he doesn’t have to put it in and it also saves him a lot of time and work.

Ordering the Best Wood Trusses

Now if you are going to be ordering trusses from a company, how much difference is a better design and better lumber going to make for you when you put the roof up? It will make quite a difference! Another thing we did not even mention about on lumber quality is how straight and true the boards run. What happens if the boards are warped or bowed? One of the first places you will notice it is on decking and sheetrock. If they are curved, bowed, and twisted too much, they will require additional time getting them straightened and spaced right so the decking and sheetrock will come out right and nail on good. But if it there is too much warp and bow, it can affect the sheet rocker and in turn, affect how the room looks once it is completed.

So does it matter how the truss looks when it arrives at the jobsite? If they look good, they probably have good lumber in them. This also means that your structure will be better and last longer. There is less chance of it failing when the wind blows or an extra heavy snow comes. You will also have fewer problems with the structure as it holds up under normal use. And now you know what difference it can make to you. A well-built truss may not be the cheapest truss on the market but it will pay itself back as it fits well and does not require as much constructing time.

Timberlake TrussWorks only builds trusses from the finest lumber. Almost all the lumber used in the shop is Select Struct grade or better. Most of the lumber is Hem-Fir which is very stable, strong, and easy to work with. Only choose the finest lumber when it comes to your trusses.

Timberlake TrussWorks in Oklahoma provides the highest quality trusses from northern Texas, all of Oklahoma, to well over half of Kansas. This area includes towns such as Wichita Falls, Lawton, Oklahoma City, Woodward, Tulsa, Guymon, Liberal, Dodge City, Wichita, Hutchison, Great Bend, and Salina. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to send you a quick and free quote at 580-852-3660!

Pros and Cons of Trusses vs Stick Framing

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When comparing two things, it’s best to compare apples for apples. If you are trying to decide if you will use trusses or stick framing, there are things to take into consideration that will make a difference in your decision making.

Although we want to compare apples for apples, some things can’t be compared equally because it’s actually not possible to do it as both trusses and stick framing have some situations where one isn’t an option.

Let’s go through a few lists of pros and cons of both stick framing and trusses, to begin:

stick framing

4 Major Pros of Stick Framing:

  1. The roof and ceiling can be attached to the same member.
  2. If any last minute changes are made to how things look, it can simply be changed one piece at a time.
  3. Half stories built into the roof that have very large dormers or shed roof style openings out of the roof.
  4. Complicated, steep hip roofs.

And the Cons of Stick Framing:

  1. All the work must be done on the site which is controlled by weather (rain, mud, wind, cold, heat). It’s not good for lumber to get wet either.
  2. Stick framing a roof requires framers to spend much more time on scaffolding, ladders, and above ground which means more chance for accidents.
  3. Stick framing requires larger lumber and more of it.
  4. Stick framing can’t span very far.
  5. It is easy for boards to walk off the job site when they are loose and in easy to carry pieces.
  6. Often the stick framed roof has no engineer seal on it showing it will do what it is asked to do.
  7. Frequently has bounce on the roof and doesn’t feel as solid.
  8. Stick framed roofs are frequently under-braced and easy to leave out. Ridge beams are frequently too small and not braced.

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Now, the Pros of Trusses:

  1. Trusses are an engineered product and are designed for your specific project.
  2. Our trusses all have an engineer seal on them, meaning they meet a universal standard of design.
    Trusses span great distances without support.
  3. Can be designed to handle seismic reactions, drag loads, and other special engineering requirements.
    Built in a controlled environment out of the weather, which means the building process isn’t affected by rain or snow.
  4. Lumber for the truss is cut using computer controlled saws for greater accuracy, tighter fits, and less chance of mistakes.
  5. Trusses are manufactured on the ground and are raised onto the walls. This means less time spent off the ground and fewer chances of falls and accidents.
  6. There is very little waste when building trusses.
  7. Parts of the roof can be cantilevered out over porches or decks quite a ways without requiring posts and beams to hold it up at the end.
  8. The roof is very solid with no bounce since each truss is an engineered product and tied together very well.
  9. Pitch changes on the roof and ceiling can happen easily almost anywhere without requiring over-build.
  10. The heel height of a truss can be changed up or down very easily to account for more insulation at the point by the wall or to keep the overhang from hanging down so low.
  11. Trusses almost never walk off the job site in the dark hours of the night.
  12. Trusses speed up the building time enough that you can build more houses in a year.

The Cons of Trusses:

  1. Extremely cut up hip roofs are more difficult and require a lot of pieces to put together.
  2. Once trusses are built, they are very hard to modify if something needs to be changed.
  3. Sometimes if attic areas have a T-shaped layout, it can be difficult to build with trusses if not impossible where the T comes together.

Stick framing a roof takes a lot of time. Time is money.

Here are some questions you need to consider: How much time do you have to spend on the roof? What are you trying to achieve with the ceiling or roof? How comfortable are you working off the ground? What is your experience level? If you plan to stick frame a roof, do you have a structural engineer on board with you that has designed the roof to be sound?

These are all important things to take into consideration. Let’s go into more detail on some of these points and questions now. I find that these are common questions that people ask and also common things that people want to know.

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Structural Strength and Engineer Seal

Stick framing can be structurally sound but so many times it’s not designed as well as trusses. This is a major concern to pay attention to. If you don’t have a structural engineer designing your roof for you, how do you know what size of material you will need to build the roof?

Builders will often go to span charts or something down that line to figure it out. Now, does this span chart take very important details into account like wind load including distance above ground, live and dead loads, snow loads, unbalanced loads, long term duration and lumber creep factor?

Trusses on the other hand are designed for a project with all of the above factored in along with other things we haven’t even mentioned. When a customer calls and orders trusses from us, those trusses are designed specifically for that customer at his location to fit just his need. All the trusses built by us come with an engineer seal that say they will handle the loads that are specified. Does your stick framed roof come with that?

Framers or roofer also have given me feedback about the strength of a trussed roof versus a stick framed roof. As they work on a roof and walk back and forth, most of the time a trussed roof is very solid with no bounce. The stick framed roof on the other hand usually has some bounce and a little more squishing feeling to it. If this is on a newer roof, what will it be like after 40 years?

Open Area Designed Houses

More and more house designs have large open areas in the house. It makes things feel more open and roomy. The only way to achieve a wide open area is with trusses. And that area can be built right into the roof with a cathedral ceiling, chamfers, trays, double trays, or whatever idea you have!

When people normally compare the cost of trusses versus stick frame, they don’t think about the cost of the foundation and bearing walls. Most of the house projects that we design use only the outside walls for bearing support. This means that essentially you can put up the outside shell of your house and then build your interior walls wherever you would like them with no concern about the need for interior footings and bearing walls for the stick frame. Or if you choose, leave it wide open!

Remodel those walls if you want to and knock old one out. How much cost do you save since you don’t have to plan and build for that? What do you consider is true flexibility of design when we talk about this?

Considering Attic Space and Usage

Most people tend to think that you can’t get as much attic space out of a truss as you can with stick frame. I would like to tell you that it can be done with trusses and be done better, in many cases.

Let’s say your house is 36-feet wide. You will have to have a bearing wall or beam in the middle of this area to support the floor system and roof beam if you choose to stick frame the roof. So to compare apples for apples, let’s leave that bearing support in there and let me design trusses over the same area.

Most people don’t finish out the whole attic area all the way out to the exterior wall but build a little knee wall that’s anywhere from 4 to 6 foot tall to cut the area off. If that’s the case, I can build a truss that is identical to what you have in mind. I can match that no problem.

Furthermore, most framers use that knee wall to support the stick framed roof members. If they use the knee wall, the roof members don’t need to be as large and don’t have to span from the roof beam to the wall. But what happened to the floor system?

Now the floor system not only has to hold up the floor but also the roof load. And has that floor system been designed to handle a concentrated roof load out in the middle of the span? If not, is that really good building practice to just leave details like that unfinished?

An attic truss on the other hand will have the same shape and look but is tied together so that all the members support each other and help carry the load together. It’s taking all the loads into account and also adding loading in the attic area for the sheetrock on the sidewalls and ceiling.

And if you don’t want that area beneath cluttered up with a beam and post or a support wall, we can still create a free spanning truss with an attic room but unfortunately it won’t be near as large as with a bearing support. This couldn’t be done at all if you are stick framing.

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Building Speed with Trusses

For the contractors reading this, how full is your building schedule? Are people on a waiting list for you to build for them? Are customers unhappy because you’re not getting the house completed as quickly as they like? Have you thought of it that using trusses on your framing jobs will speed up the process enough that you will likely build more houses in a year? And if trusses cost less per house then stick framing, how much more profit do you gain past that per house savings by being able to get more houses built?

Complete Profile, Single Piece Installation

Now the part that I say is better is that if a truss can match the same shape and usability of a stick frame, which is going to be faster and less cost?

When that truss shows up at the job site ready to install and you swing it up on the roof, that truss just took care of roof, ceiling, attic flooring, attic ceiling and attic side walls all in one moment and is ready for decking, sheeting, sheetrock, and finish work.

And since it is one piece and all tied together, it is much more solid and has passed all the loading requirements and has an engineer seal on the drawing!

Considering The Topic As A Whole

Now I have some questions for you to think about after reading this.

  • When the wind begins to really blow hard in a storm, which style of roof would you feel safer under?
  • If the roof was stick framed, did they attach each one of the individual boards as good as the one beside them and to the proper loading?
  • Do they really know how much uplift there is on the roof?
  • When you think about all the valuables in your house, what do you want to put over them to keep them from damage?
  • If you decide to change a few walls in a remodel project later on down the road, which style of roof will most likely allow for this?
  • How much will the stick framed roof sag later on down the road?

It is true that I am in the truss industry, so I may be slightly biased but I have tried to honestly point out what I see and you are free to decide what you think.

After all we live in a free America which I am very thankful for! I would not be in this industry and selling trusses if I didn’t think that I had something worthwhile to sell.

I also would not be selling them if it would not be a benefit to you as the customer. Your vision of what you would like and the happiness of seeing it achieved is what I will aim to achieve when you hand your project to me. Once in a great while stick framing an area is the only answer, but most of the time trusses will enhance your experience and speed up the building process along with a well-designed roof.

In the future, please remember Timberlake TrussWorks LLC when you are thinking of building a roof. Even if you aren’t sure if your project is the right fit for trusses, why not find out? It won’t cost you anything to pick up the phone and call 580-852-3660 or send us your information on our website contact form.

**We only provide truss services for Oklahoma, Kansas and North Texas. We cannot manufacture and ship to other locations.**

How To Successfully Order Trusses

7bThere is a wide range of people that order trusses from us with varied skill levels. Some of you are contractors and some of you are home owners or ‘do-it-your-selfers’. We welcome all customers and enjoy working with each and every one of you.

We want each customer to have as good an experience with us as possible. First, let’s define a successful project:

A successful project is one where you as the customer share with us as the truss company what you need and in return we build trusses that are just what you want and fit perfectly into your project.

That’s what we all want, right? So let’s get it right the first time. To get it right means that both you as the customer and us as the company will need to pay attention to detail and communicate it as neither of us can read each other’s thoughts.

The Main Details for Quotes or Orders:

To start the process of either getting a quote or placing an order, there are some important details that we will need. Providing us with a floor and or roof plan is the best way, if possible. That helps ensure that we both will be building to the same dimensions and plan. Of course, the more complicated the project, the more details will be needed to design but here are the basic ones that cover most of it:

  • >Full Customer Name and Business Name
  • >Phone Number and Email Address
  • >Location of Project
  • >Type of Building and its Function
  • >Size of Building OR Type of Truss, Truss Span and Quantity
  • >Truss Spacing
  • >Roof Pitch
  • >Overhang, Tail, or Soffit Width
  • >Loading / Roof and Ceiling Material
  • >Matching Existing Roof?

Why We Need Customer Information

Each quote that we generate for a customer has its own number and file. We need your name along with your business name (if you have one) to keep them all straight. Since each quote has its own file, your information is stored in it so when you call back to place the order, we have all the information from when we quote the job.

Your phone number and email address are needed to communicate with you through the project. We will only use your email address to send quotes, layouts, and other information that is necessary for completing the project.

Location of Building Site and Type of Building

Location is important for truss loading information, such as snow and wind, along with knowing where we will be delivering to. If we deliver the trusses to you in Oklahoma, we will also need to charge sales tax. Let us know if you are in city limits or in the county. We also accept tax exempt cards. For us to do that, the name on the paperwork, payment, and tax exempt card must all match.

By knowing the function of the building, we can usually figure out which building code and design perimeters will be needed if you don’t already know. It’s as easy as saying it’s a house, shop, pavilion or whatever it is. There are many codes and design perimeters to enter into our design software to be able to design trusses for you so this is a must.

Building Layout

Basically all of our truss quotes start with a layout. If you tell us the size of your building and the truss spacing (distance between trusses), our program takes care of how many trusses you will need.

If you would rather figure out the amount of trusses yourself, that is fine, but we will still probably enter a layout so you can see how much area the trusses will cover. We will also have to know what spacing you plan to put the trusses on so the layout is correct. This enables us to design the trusses accordingly.

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Types of Trusses

Along with that, we will need to know what type of trusses you want. Basically we will be asking if you need any gable trusses or not and if so, the amount.

A gable truss sits on the end wall of a house or garage and has vertical studs every 2 foot or 16 inches for nailing the sheeting too. This truss is not structural and needs continuous bearing support underneath it like a wall or beam.

Gable trusses cost a little more than a common structural truss since there is more lumber included, but are much better for finishing up the gable ends of buildings.

Roof Pitch

Roof pitch is the slope or angle of the roof. For example, a 6/12 roof pitch is 6 inches of rise in 12 horizontal inches. A 12/12 roof pitch is 12 inches of rise in 12 inches of run or we could say a 45 degree angle for another reference. Most of the time a roof pitch is referred to by inches of rise by inches of run.

Overhang

Overhang, or as some people refer to it as a tail, is the distance from the end of the bottom cord or wall to the end of the top cord or distance away from the wall. This is what your soffit will be attached to or to pieces tying back against the wall. A very standard distance is 16 inches to 2 feet but can be any length you desire.

If the overhang is longer than about 2 ½ feet, we will need to use a 2×6 top cord or larger for the overhang depending on how long it is. We can also build what is called a cantilever for overhang which is where the bottom cord of the truss continues on past the wall.

Truss Loading

The roof material or load the trusses will be required to hold tells us what settings we need for designing your trusses. Regular residential loading covers standard decking and shingles or metal along with a sheetrock ceiling. If you plan to put clay tiles on the roof, we will need to design the trusses to handle the heavier load.

On the same side, if you are building an agricultural pole barn with only purlins and roofing metal attached to the top of the truss and leaving the trusses exposed from the bottom side with no sheetrock for ceiling, the loading on the truss design can be greatly reduced which translates into less cost.

Matching Existing Roofs

The final item on the list about matching an existing roof is very important. If you are not building a completely new free standing structure but rather adding on to what you have, it is very important that we know that so we can help make sure it matches what you have. To match an existing roof, we will have to know the exact span of the truss, the heel height and the total height of the truss at the middle or a very accurate measurement of the roof pitch.

Building Plans, Layouts, or Sketches are Highly Recommended

Building to a drawn out plan is a good practice. If you don’t have a plan on paper or PDF, I would highly recommend drawing one or getting one drawn if we are talking about any residential work.

An agricultural barn is a different story and doesn’t require a plan for trusses very often but having a plan is always the best course of action.

We can make it work without a plan as long as we both can understand over the phone or by email what it is that you need. Remember that a phone connection is not always the best and letters and numbers can sound alike at times.

In the case of a project that is an easy rectangle shape with a simple gable or hip roof, there isn’t too much that can go wrong as long as the dimensions we hear over the phone are correct. If a project goes beyond a simple shape, it can be difficult to explain over the phone in a way that is correct and all parties involved understand.

At that point, it would be a good idea to sketch it out on a piece of paper and email it to us if you don’t have a floor and/or roof plan. The sketch can be as simple as hand drawing it on a piece of paper. The dimensions of the walls need to be to the outside edge of supporting or framed walls and not include brick, sheeting, Styrofoam or things like that. If the measurements do include all this, that’s okay as long as we know that and know how much to account for it. This is important as it will affect the truss design especially if the trusses have cathedral.

ALWAYS REVIEW TRUSS LAYOUTS AND TRUSS DRAWINGS!

Once you receive the drawings back, REVIEW THE LAYOUT AND ALL TRUSS DRAWINGS!!!! Know what you will be getting! This is VERY IMPORTANT! We will build the trusses exactly as the drawings and layout show. If something is not drawn how you expect or there is a measurement that has changed or is incorrect, it is much easier to change it now before the trusses are built.

All the measurements on the layout and engineered drawings are formatted in Feet-Inch-Sixteenths. Here is a link to a PDF on How to Read an Engineering Drawing and another link to a PDF on How to Read a Truss Placement or Layout Diagram. Another good article to read is focused on Blueprint Reading: An Art Unto Itself.

The list of items to check through is basically the same list we made of details we needed to quote the job. If you have any questions about reviewing the quote, layout, or truss drawings or aren’t sure how to do it, give us a call and we can help walk you through it!

Differences Between Trusses & Stick Framing, And Common Misconceptions

stick framing

Stick framing has been around for quite some time. Trusses are relatively new, so naturally trusses are not quite as well known or understood as stick framing. And even if you’ve known about trusses for a while, the industry is changing rapidly, so it’s good to get the latest news and details.

Difference Between Stick Framing & Truss:

Do you know what it means when we talk about stick framing a roof? Stick framing is building the roof on the construction site one piece or board at a time.

It starts with setting ridge and valley beams above the house walls. Then dimensional lumber, called rafters, are cut to fit one piece at a time and shoved up to a framer on the roof that’s balancing on scaffolding who installs the rafters.

Once the roof slope is complete, the ceiling still needs to be framed. This too is all cut to fit on the job-site one piece at a time. The roof and ceiling is literally “sticked” together.

A wood truss on the other hand is a structurally sound engineered building product. When a truss is installed on top of the walls, it builds the roof slope and ceiling at the same time as one structural piece.

Trusses can be designed in all shapes and sizes, and customized completely based on the project. The truss is built within our manufacturing facility and then fitted directly on the job-site. This reduces man hours on the job site, which reduces cost.

We can get everything designed and built within our facility, then ship the truss directly to the site and have it installed in no time.

Learn more about how we price our trusses and the possible designs you can implement.

Example — What Stick Framing Looks Like Compared to Trusses:

stick framing

This first image is from a roof project being constructed using the stick frame technique. As you can see circled in red on the left is a bunch of boards or “sticks” connected together to support the frame of the roof. However, this doesn’t look quite sturdy or safe. And the sticking together of boards is sloppy.

wood truss

Now, this image is from a roof project being constructed with wood trusses. As you can see within the red rectangle, everything is uniform, sturdy and well constructed. Here you have a solid roof structure that wasn’t “sticked” together. Instead, the roof is much more stable, strong and durable.

Here is a quick video showing the installation of trusses (sped up to 2x and 4x normal speed): 

Stick Framing & Truss Misconceptions:

Stick framing is cheaper than trusses. FALSE.

Identical houses have been built side by side different times using the two different methods and every time it costs less to use trusses. See link for information: https://www.sbcindustry.com/fad

Trusses are faster than stick framing. TRUE!

There are multiple instances were comparisons have been done side by side and trusses have always been faster. Here is a video one such comparison: https://www.sbcindustry.com/fad2

Trusses can clear span a great distance. TRUE!

We have built trusses with cathedral that were free spanning 64 foot!

A stick framed roof is more flexible to build what you want. HOW? Where are we talking about flexibility? Is it on the outside roof style, inside looks and walls, or what? I’ll talk more about this below as we need to go more in depth on this one.

Trusses don’t have room inside the webbing for any storage. FALSE.

Tell the truss engineer that you would like some room for storage and specify how much room you would like along with what kind of stuff you would like to store. Webbing can be changed to allow room or else a room can just be built right into the trusses. MiTek truss software automatically adds additional loading into the trusses anywhere a box 2 foot wide and 3 foot tall can fit between the webs.

Can trusses be used for attic area or bonus rooms? True!

This is very commonly misunderstood thing. Trusses can free span quite a distance and still have an attic room built in. Over a garage is a typical example. What’s more, they can allow room for stairs and design the trusses to handle that as well.

Are trusses better then stick framing? DEPENDS.

This questions is a little harder to answer and depends on what is being built. 9 times out of 10 trusses are better but I’ll explain more about that in the next post.

When 2 different things are compared or considered, it is good to compare apples for apples. If you are trying to decide if you will use trusses or go with the stick frame option, there are things to take into consideration that will make a difference on how you decide. So even though we want to compare apples for apples, some things can’t be compared equally because it’s actually not possible to do it as both have some situations where the other technique can’t perform as well.

Are all trusses created equal? NO!

The type of lumber being used to build the truss makes a large difference on how the truss turns out. It also makes a large difference how careful the truss company is when they build the trusses.

Does it matter what type of lumber is used on the truss? YES!

Think about it: the truss is constructed using lumber. The better the lumber quality, the better the truss. KNOW WHAT KIND OF LUMBER IS BEING USED TO BUILD YOUR TRUSSES! This is very important. Some lumber that companies use warps and will give you a bad experience. Most of the lumber we use is a White Fir or Hem Fir which is strong and very stable.

Which is the strongest and most stable, trusses or stick frame? Trusses!

It is a known fact that a trussed roof has less bounce then a stick framed roof. Think about a single board sitting by itself across a gap. It flexes when jumped on right? Now think of that board connected up with other boards in a triangular shape. Much stronger now right? That’s how trusses work.

Why do people still stick frame roofs when they can use trusses?

Stick framing has been around the longest and that’s just what some people know. Just because it has been around the longest doesn’t mean it’s the best though, right? Most people that still stick frame roofs do so because they haven’t learned otherwise or because they are unwilling to change. Or some people stick frame because they received a bad set of trusses from a truss company at one time. We take pride in our work and want every truss to fit perfect. We care about our customers and want them to be happy with what they order from us!

We just stick frame the roof because it’s less hassle and doesn’t take as long as ordering trusses. FALSE!

You will be surprised how easy it is to order trusses. Most phone calls to order trusses take between 5 to 10 minutes on average for a simple project. More complicated projects take a litte longer at times. Stick framing takes much longer than that.

Do trusses have any limitations? Sometimes but not often.

There are some projects that are designed in such a way that trusses just aren’t a good option. This happens most often on a roof with the ceiling following the roof joist or on a few special hip roofs with some unusual features. Most hip roofs are not a problem though.

One of the lines we like tell people are “Try us once and you’ll see just how good our trusses are!” We are quite confident that they will outperform and fit better than any set you’ve ever had. Remember, we can only build trusses to fit as good as the dimensions given to us are accurate. Starting with a squared and level concrete foundation or floor is also just as important for a perfect fit.

Please read our other blogs for helpful information and give us a call when you are ready to get a quote or order your trusses!

Pricing Wood Trusses for Any Project: A Step-By-Step Guide

We wish we could provide an exact answer to the question – how much will my trusses cost?

Although we can’t provide the exact bottom-line number (without further consultation), what we can provide is a thorough pricing guide to help you understand how wood trusses are priced for homes, buildings and all projects.

Below you’ll learn about the most common truss design and how it’s priced for projects. You’ll also learn about other designs and how pricing is affected by the change in design. And to conclude, we’ve provided a simple home design with common dimensions as an example to help you understand the complete pricing process.

wood trusses in Oklahoma

You can click any of the following to jump to different sections within the post:

Let’s Take a Look at the Common Truss Design & Price:

Here’s a common truss design:

common wood truss

This 26’ span truss with a 4/12 roof pitch is the most economical truss we can build. If we go any larger, it will require more webbing inside the truss, which will directly affect the cost of the truss. The same is true if we make it steeper. Steeper roof pitches require longer webs, which add to the cost.

So the next question you ask is how much will this common truss cost?

We can figure the rough cost of a truss by the lineal feet of truss ,which in this case is 26 feet.

The cost of lumber averages around $3.00 to $3.25 a foot. So if we take the middle of the road and figure the truss at $3.15 x 26 = $81.90 a truss.

One thing to keep in mind right away is that four main things affect the common truss price: grade of lumber, amount of trusses, tax, and delivery.

Let’s take a look at this next truss for even more insight:

wood truss design

This truss has a 30’ span, which is only 4’ more than 26’ but look how much more webbing there is. The webbing is necessary for the strength of the truss and it is needed in a truss this size. A truss of this size and larger usually runs a higher figure of around $3.15 to $3.50 per foot of truss.

Lumber prices fluctuate throughout the year and this surely makes a difference in price.

Remember that quality high-grade lumber will cost a little more than a lower and cheaper grade, which can change the price of the truss. However, cheaper is not always better. Make sure that good lumber is used on your trusses to insure a faster, smoother building time along with a long, stable life for the truss.

6 Factors that Define Trusses & Further Define Price:

There are 6 main factors that define a truss along with the cost. These factors all vary depending on the project. Since each project is not identical, we must consider these six as we’re considering the design and the price.

Span: The distance of the bottom cord from outside of bearing wall to outside of bearing wall. The span is the length at the bottom. Some spans have a lower rate per foot than others.

If a truss has a span of 26’, the bottom cord can be built using two boards like this: 16’ + 10’ = 26’ and it equals no scrap or waste and is the most efficient on price.

Now if you order a truss with a span of 26’4”, the 10’ board has to be exchanged for a 12’ and there will be 1’8” of scrap left over though the truss gained only 4 inches of span. (16’ + 12’ = 28’ – 1’8” = 26’4”.) Trusses are built for the customer to fit any project so anything can be done but it is best to keep the span around an even number, if possible, or just under an even measurement if you are concerned about cost.

Roof Pitch or Slope: The vertical rise of the top cord in inches per 12 horizontal inches. (Example: 4/12 roof pitch means 4 inches of rise in 12 inches of horizontal run.)

In short, the steeper the roof, the more it will cost unless the roof pitch needs to be raised a little to incorporate some attic storage. But that is another topic. The steeper the roof gets, the longer the boards get and the more the roof area increases.

Other costs will begin to climb as well. It is much harder to deck and shingle a 12/12 roof pitch than 4/12 roof pitch, so roofing costs will increase as well.

Overhang: The horizontal distance from the end of the bottom cord or wall to the end of the top cord. The top cord can have either a plump cut or a square cut. The average overhang for trusses used for housing or related buildings with a finished soffit is between 1’4” to 2’. This length can easily be changed to fit the need of the truss.

If the overhang is more than around 2’6”, it will require a 2×6 top cord for the tail section to handle that amount.

Truss Spacing: The distance between trusses. The standard spacing is 2’. This makes the roof ready for decking or sheetrock. Almost all residential trusses use this spacing.

There is a little misconception about truss spacing and strength. A few customers prefer installing the trusses every 16” on center because they believe this will be stronger then every 2’. While it is sometimes true that this can raise the strength of the roof, this is not always accurate unless in some high stress situations. The truss that is spaced 16” on center is usually designed lighter and handles less weight then the truss that is spaced every 2’. And more trusses usually equal more cost! So keep that in mind.

Shop and barn trusses typically are spaced around 4’ on center but sometimes are spaced as far apart as 8’ to 10’. For post frame, the fewer the trusses the cheaper it is even though the price per truss is more since it is holding more weight and designed heavier duty.

There are limits to this though and also it depends on the building practice. The connections are harder to make strong as you go farther apart but there is hardware designed for this.

Amount of Trusses: This is fairly important. In short, the more trusses needed, the cheaper it gets per truss. It is just as easy to build 10 trusses the same as it is 1. If only 1 truss is ordered, it must still go through all the same stages of getting it designed, built, and delivered as 10 of them together.

Design Loads: The amount of weight per square foot the truss will need to support. This includes all the material for the roof and ceiling along with loading for construction purposes, wind and snow. It is essential that the truss gets the proper load applied. A clay tile roof will weigh much more than a metal roof will.

Truss Designs You Need To Be Aware Of:

Remember, the design of your trusses directly affects the price. Switching between a common truss and scissor truss could adjust the price by 15-30%. It’s crucial to know about truss design and how it influences price.

Let’s dig in –

Standard Gable End Truss:

standardgable

A Standard Gable truss sits on the end wall of a gable style roof. This is not a structural truss and needs the support of the wall. It has gable studs every 2’ for attaching the boxing or plywood to.

Let’s talk about cost on a standard gable truss. These trusses cost more than a common truss since there are more parts to cut and more lumber in the truss.

These trusses are around $3.75 to $4.25 a foot. So once again, a 26 foot truss X $4.00 a foot = $104.00

(Remember, this is only quick estimating used only to get a ballpark figure)

There is another option for this style of truss called a Drop Top Gable Truss.

Drop Top Gable Truss:

droptoptruss

This Gable Truss is very handy if you plan having an overhang on the gable. With this truss, the top cord has been dropped 3 ½” to allow for an outrigger to be placed over top of the truss without having to notch the top cord.

The whole overhang and connection with this style is very strong and should resist any kind of sag over time. The 2×4 outrigger can be stood up on edge to be on its strong side and also give more nailing surface for the soffit board. This style of gable truss makes it much easier and faster to put overhang on then an original style.

Scissor Trusses:

scissortruss

Scissor trusses give a nice cathedral ceiling to a room. It typically makes a room feel larger due to the openness overhead. A standard rule of thumb is the cathedral roof pitch can be up to one half of the roof pitch.

For example, if the roof pitch is an 8/12 like this one pictured, the cathedral pitch can be up to a 4/12. This will give quite an amazing look and an open and airy feeling to a room. And what’s crazy about trusses, is that this is all done with the trusses only bearing on the exterior walls!

Now here is a little about how much a scissor truss costs: There are so many variables with these trusses with everything from span to roof pitch and so on that there can only be an average estimate given.

Per lineal foot, they can run from around $3.50 a foot up to $4.25 a foot on a larger truss with a 2×6 top and bottom cord. Or we could say anywhere from 15% to 30% more expensive than a common truss.

Common truss—$3.15 x 26 = $81.90/truss

Scissor truss— $81.95 x 1.20 (20% increase) = $98/truss

 

Pricing a Simple Home for Trusses:

26’x40’ Gable Style House – Truss Estimate

Now let’s go through an example of a simple 26’x40’ house with a gable roof and a 16’ center area that has cathedral ceiling over the living and dining room area.

The exterior bearing walls will be framed with 2×6 studs. The roof pitch will be a 5/12 with the cathedral ceiling a 2.5/12 slope. Let’s add a 2’ overhang around the whole house for the soffit. The trusses on the ends of the house will be Drop Top Gable Trusses. Here is a layout view of the house:

houselayout

The measurements on truss layouts are all feet-inch-sixteenths. So if you look at the chained measurements in the middle on the left side, you will see the trusses are spaced 2 feet on center. The gable trusses on each end are labeled T01GE, the common trusses are labeled T01 and the scissor trusses in the middle are S01. Here are pictures of each of them.

Twelve common trusses labeled T01:

T01

Two drop top gable end trusses labeled T01GE:

T01GE

And seven scissor trusses labeled S01:

S01

Now let’s do a run through a rough truss estimate based on the average cost per lineal foot of truss. A 26’ wide house is the most economical size to build for dollar value so all of our lineal foot of truss numbers will be at the bottom end of the price zone.

And there is enough of each truss style to help bring the price down per piece. We will use the same numbers as we talked about before and the calculations will be done the same way.

12 commons X 26’ span = 312 lineal feet X $3.00 a foot = $936.00

2 gables        X 26’ span =  52 lineal feet X $3.75 a foot = $195.00

7 scissors     X 26’ span = 182 lineal feet X $3.50 a foot = $637.00

Truss Subtotal is:   $1,768.00

Now remember, we haven’t factored tax and delivery yet.

Tax can run anywhere from around 5 – 10% depending on where you are building. If we figured 10% for tax that would add another $177 to the cost.

Delivery totally varies depending on how far away you are or if you pick them up yourself. Both ways there is cost. Timberlake TrussWorks LLC likes to just take care of the whole package deal for you and deliver the trusses right to your jobsite with a special trailer for hauling trusses.

To finish the quick estimate since we don’t know location, we will just leave the delivery slot blank. We have now arrived at:

Quick Truss Estimate of $1,945.00

*Estimate based on how much the trusses will cost – does not include labor and machinery for installation

 

Your takeaways:

  • >The bottom-line price of a truss is affected by: design, lumber grade, amount of trusses, tax and delivery costs
  • >Need to acknowledge span, slope, overhang, load and spacing in regards to the final price
  • >Need to determine which design type you are going to use
  • >Estimations can only be provided until exact designs are completed

Why Geographic Location is So Important in Truss Design

wood trusses

Geographic location is an important factor for truss design. Depending on your geographic location, your trusses will have to account for different amounts of wind and snow.

Timberlake TrussWorks has customers all across Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas. That means we have lots of different climates and codes we need to consider.

When a customer orders trusses, we can’t proceed without knowing their geographic location. By analyzing the weather patterns and climate history in this geographic location, we can get accurate information about wind and snow loads in the area.

[Read more…]

Designing Wood Trusses to Accommodate Appropriate Spacing

Kansas wood trussesWhen it comes to designing wood trusses, the spacing of each truss according to each design is crucial. If you miscalculate any bit of the spacing and don’t consider the use of the building you’re constructing, then you’re likely to end up with a compromised structure that can present a hazard.

Today, we want to run through a design scenario to discuss how we approach design and our consideration of spacing. If you have any questions along the way, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We’re happy to help – 580-852-3660

Here’s the design scenario:

Take trusses that are spaced 4’ apart. They are loaded for a post frame construction that has purlins on the top cord with metal screwed down to that.

The bottom of the truss is open and exposed from underneath although the building will be completely enclosed. So on this 30’ span truss, it is resting on 5 ½ inches at each end.

On that small surface, there is 1560 lbs. of weight on the bearing point. This is every 4’. So if the trusses were spaced out to 8’, there would be double that amount of weight.

[Read more…]

Consider Attic Uses When Designing Home Trusses

wood trusses in OklahomaFraming your home with trusses comes with some key advantages. Trusses tend to be cheaper and stronger than traditional framing methods.

But trusses have one more advantage: they’re also perfect for creating functional attics.

The attic is the natural area contained within the trusses and below the roof. When designing trusses, you need to consider future use of your attic space so you can design trusses accordingly.

Top 10 Uses for Attics

An attic is the space between the roof and the ceiling of your house. Many people leave attic space unused. However, the structural part of the roof can be modified in a cost-effective and inexpensive way to add valuable square footage to your home or business in the form of a useable attic area.

Here are some of the most common uses for attics:

[Read more…]

How Much Do Trusses Cost? – An Approximate Guide

Roof truss framing is a cost-effective way to build a roof. Today, more and more homebuilders use roof truss framing to save costs and build stronger roofs.

But how much do trusses cost? Today, we’re going to explain how pricing is evaluated and calculated by truss manufacturers and what you can expect when you consider purchasing a truss system for your next project.

An average 2,600 square foot house costs…

According to the study discussed below, we can give you some approximate pricing information for truss framing. These are general figures and will change according to whichever supplier you’re working with:

-Labor costs: 112 man-hours x $20/hour average = $2,240

-Equipment costs: Crane = $500

-Total bd. ft. lumber: 10,500 x truss manufacturer’s selling price per board foot:  $9,000 to $12,000

-Scrap disposal cost: 3 yards of lumber x $15/yard plus labor costs: $77

Total cost:  $11,817 to $14,817

Keep in mind that these statistics are for a 2,600 square foot house. Also, these are only approximate values. Labor, equipment and materials vary in price due to cost of living in varying locations. Since cost of living is much lower here in Oklahoma and the Midwest, these prices will be lower than the national average.

[Read more…]

How Prairie Winds Affect Wood Trusses in Kansas

Storm Clouds SaskatchewanKansas is notorious for its prairie winds. Engineers have always had to take these winds into account when designing structures across the state.

Prairie winds can be downright dangerous if you’re working with the wrong building materials.

Every day, truss designers need to take a variety of factors into account when building for the prairie winds in Kansas. Here are some important things to know about how truss systems are affected by Kansas prairie winds:

Truss builders need to calculate wind pressures using two blended methods

There are two broad ways to calculate wind pressures: Main Wind Force Resisting System (MWFRS) and Components & Cladding (C&C).

MWFRS applies to a structural frame or an assembly of structural elements that work together to transfer wind loads to the ground.

C&C applies to components that directly receive wind loads – like wall coverings, roof coverings, fasteners, and girts. Components and Cladding are typically exposed to higher wind pressures than MWFRS elements.

Trusses fall into both categories. Thus, the industry-standard practice is to design the truss to handle both MWFRS loads and C&C loads.

Truss builders need to consult wind maps to identify correct wind speeds

Building codes typically require the use of a 90-mph wind speed for inland areas of the United States. However, you’ll need to consult local wind maps and government building codes for region-specific information.

Experienced builders don’t settle with just the 90-mph wind speed standard. Experienced builders increase the durability to handle wind speeds around 100 and 110 mph. With wood trusses in Kansas, increases wind speed durability is a major consideration. All trusses must be designed to withstand substantial wind, more than the average structure.

Building usage affects wind pressure calculations

Buildings fall into a number of different usage categories. Specifically, there are three broad categories of building usages:

-Category I: A building that will have a low hazard to human life if it fails

-Category II: A building that presents a substantial hazard to human life if it fails

-Category III and IV: Buildings that are critical facilities or present a substantial hazard to human life in the event of a failure.

Different building exposures affect truss design

Buildings located on empty, flat land are more affected by wind pressure than buildings surrounded by trees and other buildings.

Building codes classify these buildings in four different ways:

Exposure A: Buildings located in downtown areas or city centers.

Exposure B: Urban and suburban buildings that are surrounded by similar-sized buildings and trees.

Exposure C: Buildings in an open area with scattered obstructions.

Exposure D: A building exposed to unobstructed wind for at least one mile over flat land.

Good truss builders take all of these factors into account

Ultimately, truss builders have a lot of responsibility. In Kansas, flat plains let wind travel unobstructed for hundreds of miles. Rural buildings and even many suburban buildings are rarely protected against substantial wind.

To take truss manufacturing to the next level, Timberlake TrussWorks builds wood trusses capable of withstanding strong winds. The key to a sound structure requires the builder to guarantee trusses are fastened tightly against the wall. This is accomplished by installing TimberLOK Screws, which we happily provide.

These screws are hurricane ties – able to withstand the brunt force of harsh winds caused by severe storms. TimberLOK Screws keep trusses and roofs stable and secure during harsh weather conditions experienced on the plains of Kansas.

If you’re shopping for wood trusses in Kansas, then you can’t settle for average. Kansas’s prairie winds chew up average wood trusses and quickly reduce the lifespan of structures. If you’re looking for wood trusses in Kansas that offer a higher level of quality and longer-lasting support, then order from Timberlake TrussWorks today.