Frequently Asked Technical Questions

Have a question that's not listed? Ask a Technical Question and let us know.

How do I, as a truss manufacturer, adequately advise my customer against the dangers of 60 ft. and over truss span installations?

We are planning to add 1/2 in. cement board and 3/8 in. quarry tile to a kitchen floor. We need to know if the floor trusses will handle the additional weight. The floor trusses are 19.2 in. O.C. and the loading numbers are 40-10-0-5. What do these numbers mean?

I am a structural engineer designing pool cage structures that are typically attached to the house at the fascia board. Sometimes, the structure is attached where trusses are behind the fascia board and other times there is a framed gable end overhang. Do you know of any information concerning this additional load on the trusses or overhang under design wind loads? Is there a limiting distance on the amount of overhang? I know trusses are designed for certain uplift and the pool cage will add to this uplift at design load, but what about the gable end overhangs?

Where can I find specs for what would be adequate trusses? I have a room with a 24 ft. span and my contractor is using trusses where the bottom plate is composed of 2x4s butted together and fastened with a metal plate. Is this ok?

I would like to know if there is an age restriction on wood trusses. How long after production are they safe to use? The trusses in question are at least three to four months old. Are they still safe to use? They have not been covered the entire time and are showing signs of age.

Is there a chart available on the allowable amount of deflection on floor trusses?

Some questions have been raised regarding the levels of mold in the lumber used in one of our truss projects. The issue of indoor air quality is up and coming. Do you have any information regarding standard allowable values? And how can we test for these contaminants?

What tolerances are allowed for metal plate connectors in wood trusses? How do you take into account the possible presence of splits, waves and knots?

My framers are always complaining that the “trusses are bad.” I am looking for tolerance information that not only addresses the allowable variance in length and height, but also allowable variation in the top chord with regard to straightness (i.e. how straight should a pull string line from the top and bottom of top chord be?). Also, if trusses are set on a perfectly level wall, what variation is allowed from truss to truss (i.e. if I put a 10 ft. straight edge perpendicular to the trusses, how much can they vary in height, not just at peak or bottom but all along the top chord)?

Some truss lumber repair nailing patterns call for 16d common nails. Most nail guns do not support 16d nails, but have an equivalent to a 12/10d nail. Is there a substitution guide or ESR report that could help us?

I am looking for a set of guidelines or “rules” for members of the SBCA. Are truss plants really not allowed to speak of business matters? I think that is unfair. I'm not going to call up our competitor and tell them that they aren't charging enough and taking all the business. I just want all the truss plants in my area to get together and decide how we are going to do business. We need to standardize the industry.

What is the correct method of attaching scissors trusses to the top plate? I read recently in a trade magazine that this type of truss should be toe-nailed on one end and attached with slotted clips on the other end. According to the article, this is to allow for movement of the truss. We require PE stamped spec sheets from the truss manufacturer to verify trusses meet wind and snow loads. These sheets give bracing requirements but never give recommended attachment requirements.

I need to put a new roof on my single-family dwelling. The house originally had gable and soffit/eave vents. The roofing contractor suggested that we install a ridge vent when new roof is installed. Should the existing gable vents be blocked off or does it not matter? I have read some debates about whether or not the combination of gable and ridge vents substantially reduces the effect of the soffit vents by having the intake now at the gable vents and exhaust at the ridge. Would this type of ventilation affect the truss warranty?

I am a structural engineer trying to locate average plate values such that I can recreate truss designs for a roof structure that is over two decades old. The plates are not marked with any type of identification, therefore I need to take a conservative approach in the design and determine worst case scenarios.

I am a building inspector and have some questions regarding how to apply IBC 2012 2308.8.5 (IRC 2012 R802.8) (similar IBC 2015 2308.4.6 & IRC 2015 R802.8) to trusses, especially those with high heels:

I have built a 30 ft. x 40 ft. pole barn with nine 30 ft. 2x4 7/12 pitch trusses that are 5 ft. O.C. I am planning to finish out the interior and will attach 7/16 x 4 x 8 OSB sheets to the trusses for my ceiling. Along with this, I will have to add several 2x4 nailers across the 30 ft. span between the trusses to attach the sheeting to. My question is: will these trusses have any problem supporting this ceiling? I am not planning on anything being placed in the section above the ceiling and there will be no walls or supports erected between the ceiling and the floor.

Are there any schematics available on how to horizontally brace a 7/12 pitch roof?

Are there any trusses that are supported strictly by the wood itself without any mechanical connections such as brackets?

We are building a garage with a bedroom and bathroom and trying to find out what type of floor joists and roof trusses to use. The garage will be a 26 ft. by 32 ft. with a 26 ft. by 32 ft. room upstairs. But we don't want to have posts in the middle of the garage to help support the weight of the second floor.

We are changing plans from a two story home to a one story home. The original roof pitch is 12/12 with three dormer windows, one large one in the center and a smaller one on either side. Can you tell us what pitch would be advisable under this new plan still using the dormers?