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

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