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.


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, 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.


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!

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