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.

Snow Loads and Trusses

Obviously, Texas and Oklahoma do not get very much snow. The normal live load on the trusses for construction purposes will cover the anticipated maximum snow load for almost all of Texas and Oklahoma.

However, the snow load gradually increases as you get further north and further west towards the Rockies. At this point, we need to take snow load into consideration.

Roofs remain stable with snow loads because of several factors:

-A large moment of inertia

-A small tributary area

-A brief duration

-Proper insulation

Roofs are designed with a certain pitch and insulated properly in order to keep snow from overloading the roof and truss system. The maximum roof load is kept to a short duration in these climates, with the exception of some areas of Kansas.

In parts of Kansas where snow is more frequent, homes must be insulated at a higher grade to keep the air beneath the roof warm, in order to reduce the likelihood of snow buildup and higher snow loads. During our truss design process, we always consider the climate and calculate the proper load capacity expected for each geographical area.

Wind and Trusses

Oklahoma wood trussesIn the plains of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, we have to worry more about the wind than the snow.

There are a few important things to take into account when factoring for wind. The higher the building is off the ground, for example, the more wind it will encounter.

Buildings that are completely enclosed will also handle wind differently than a building that is partially enclosed – like a hay shed with 2 or 3 sides on it. Gable roofs can also catch a lot of wind on the gable end.

Structural codes define an open building as a building with each wall at least 80% open – like a park pavilion or a boat shelter. Buildings can be rated at four different exposure levels, including Exposure A, B, C, or D based on their exposure to wind.

Partially enclosed structures must be designed to withstand wind entering from openings, in order to protect from wind blowing out other walls and lifting the roof off the structure. We consider each opening of a structure during our design process so we can calculate the right amount of bracing needed for durability and safety.

The truss is always designed to handle the maximum wind load, but it is also important to have the gable trusses braced properly. This allows the gable trusses to safely handle even the strongest winds on the plains.

Different Building Categories Change the Way We Build Trusses

Buildings are designed with different wind resistance ratings according to their category – either I, II, III, or IV:

Category I – These buildings represent a low hazard to human life in the event of a failure.

Category II – Any building that doesn’t fall into categories I, III, or IV.

Categories III and IV – These buildings represent a significant hazard to human life in the event of a failure and may also be considered essential facilities. All buildings that store toxic or hazardous waste also fall into these categories.

How Timberlake TrussWorks Software Helps

Using our truss design software, we can build trusses specially designed to handle all of the situations we just talked about.

The specialized software has settings that account for all of these factors. You plug in the height of the building and its exposure rating, for example, to account for wind resistance.

The software also takes into account things like trees around a house: trees break the wind and can significantly reduce the wind load on a home – especially when compared to homes built on the edge of a larger lake or ocean with no break from the wind.

One final setting the software considers is the occupancy load. Buildings with a lot of people inside require a higher wind load than buildings like a barn.

Ready for a Free Quote?

The winds across the plains can be unpredictable. When you build your structures with reliable, high-quality trusses, you can relax knowing you’re safe against even the worst winds and snow loads.

Without properly designed trusses, your building’s structural integrity will be compromised as soon as a heavy wind or snow hits it. With the help of our computerized system and custom-cut wood trusses at Timberlake TrussWorks, you can build structures that stand the test of time.

Contact Brad for a free quote today at (580) 852-3660

**We service Oklahoma, Kansas and North Texas

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