The Complete Guide to Roof Trusses: Design, Cost, Framing & More

When it comes to roof trusses, you need to consider everything from design to cost to the pros of using trusses instead of stick framing a roof. If you’re looking for a complete guide for roof trusses, then you’ve come to the right place.

You can use the links below to navigate throughout the guide:

1. Pros of Using Roof Trusses Instead of Stick Framing

2. Pricing Roof Trusses    

3. How to Order Trusses

The Pros of Using Roof Trusses Instead of Stick Framing

The pros of using roof trusses drastically outweigh the pros of stick framing. Sure, there may be an instance where stick framing is your only option, and that is understandable. But 99% of the time, a roof truss is going to give you so much more.

Here are the pros of trusses:

-Roof trusses are actually engineered – all of our trusses have an engineer seal on them which means they have met universal standards.

-Trusses are built in a controlled environment out of the elements of weather. This means the building process isn’t affected by rain or snow.

-Trusses span greater distances without having to be supported.

-Trusses are manufactured with computer-controlled saws, leading to greater accuracy, tighter fits, fewer mistakes, and less lumber waste. It’s simply more exact.

-We waste very little lumber when we build our roof trusses, which means we save more on lumber per truss we build. Try doing that with stick framing.

-Trusses are built on the ground and then lifted into place on existing walls. This eliminates more chances for people to fall and experience an accident.

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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 roof 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 roof trusses are priced for homes, buildings and all projects.

Below you’ll learn about the most common roof 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.

[We’ve updated prices based on the current 2018 market and cost of lumber – read more about that here]

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How to Match an Existing Gable Roof & The Truss Design

Adding on to a house or structure is a great way to get more room without building an entire new house! There are several important things to know about matching existing roofs and how to do it depending on what style of roof you have, the roof truss design, and how you want to add on.

Categories of House Additions

There are two main categories that additions fall under most of the time:  T-shaped & continued.

house trusses

gable roof

Either the addition is added to form a T-shape to the house with the ridge running perpendicular to the main house roof, or the addition is continued on the end of the house making it longer with the ridge running the same way as the existing house.

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Premanufactured Wood Trusses Provide a Solution for Labor Shortage

Premanufactured wood trusses offer a solution to the building industry labor shortage. There is currently a significant labor shortage among home framers and carpenters. Contractors find it increasingly difficult to keep up with the housing demand and operate in a cost- and time-effective manner.

Framing Labor Shortage

“Eight-five percent of builders reported a shortage of framing subcontractors, compared to “only” 77 percent who reported a shortage of framers directly employed,” according to July 2017 NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI study.

This is significant, considering that new home sales were 8.3 percent higher in 2017 than in 2016, reaching 608,000 homes in 2017. This is part of a steadily rising trend since 2011. (Reference)

NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI Study Results on labor shortage

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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.

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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 vs 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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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