Frequently Asked Technical Questions

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


Our home caught fire last month and burned partly through a tongue and groove ceiling to the trusses. Some are charred. Our contractor did a moisture meter test. An engineer for the insurance company said the trusses were only smoke damaged & the moisture meter test is invalid (it can be set to read anything). I found one article on charred trusses, but it’s pretty vague. We do not feel safe with the insurance engineer’s assessment because some of the trusses are obviously charred. We hired an engineer who agreed with us.

Is there a general rule of thumb to follow on chase placement within a top-chord bearing floor truss? In other words, how close to the bearing point of the truss can the chase occur?

Does SBCA produce any products detailing how to market and sell roof and floor trusses to builders for whom stick framing has been the standard way of building? Products that detail the cost savings when compared to traditional stick framing?

How much OSB can be stacked on a floor deck without damaging the trusses?

How important is continuous lateral bracing in roof trusses? Is it detrimental to the roof integrity if it is missing?

I am developing a sustainable community in southeast Iowa. We have an abundance of cottonwoods nearby. I plan to have them sawn into dimensional lumber on the site and dry it there as well. I would like to use this material for trusses. A truss plate manufacturer informed me that because he had no data for cottonwood, he was unable to design trusses using it. Can you offer any advice?

Is it possible to retrofit a standard rafter/joist style roof to a scissors truss configuration without replacing the existing construction?

Our home has 2x4 roof trusses spanning 25 ft. spaced 16 in. O.C. Currently, there is limited attic storage on a plywood subfloor on the bottom chords, accessed via a small hatch in a closet. We would like to install a fold-down attic stair with a rough opening size of 25.5 in. x 54 in., with the long dimension perpendicular to the trusses. This would mean cutting the bottom chords of three trusses to frame the opening. Is this possible?

I have just moved into a new home and during the construction I noticed that one of the trusses in the garage was damaged. The web plate had come off in two different locations. I notified the builder and they said they would take care of it. Approximately two weeks after I moved in, I noticed the ceiling in the garage started to sag, so I went into the space above the garage and found the truss was never repaired. I again notified the builder and they sent someone to fix it. I went and looked at the fix and this is where my question comes in.

Is it possible to attach deck ledger boards to the ends of floor trusses? If not, are there any modifications that would make this possible?

Can I put a wood deck (1/2 in. plywood) on top of the bottom chord of a 26 foot span truss 24 inches on center?

What does “P.E.” stand for in building construction?

I was wondering if you have any information or anecdotes relating to the deflection performance of long span scissors trusses? We recently sold a job with 70 ft. long scissors trusses. The customer is in the process of installing the trusses and doesn't like the deflections he is seeing. To make matters worse, the scissors trusses are framing into a valley set (which we provided) that is erected on 35 ft. Howe trusses. The Howe trusses are exhibiting very little deflection. Any ideas?

The Corps' guide spec for wood construction requires the drawings to indicate the design forces on each truss member for the worst loading condition. Loading conditions, of course, can include wind, snow build up, and unbalanced loading, to name a few. Many A/E firms submit drawings lacking these member forces, but instead show typical loading conditions. What does the wood truss fabricator want to see – truss diagrams with maximum loads on each member? Or would he prefer to design the truss from many required loading diagrams?

My company supplied roof trusses for a hotel project. The building inspector shut the project down because the trusses were not designed to account for additional snowdrift loading. The construction plans did not contain any snowdrift loading information. The architect is claiming it is our responsibility to determine drift loading, therefore we must fix the problem. Do you have any documentation to help us dispute the architect’s claim?

I'm looking for a book that will provide formulas and design criteria for trusses. Can you give me any suggestions of where to find a book or fairly inexpensive software?

We are currently developing a project which specifies “Seismic Design Category C.” We are an East Coast truss manufacturer and have not encountered seismic requirements before.

How high would a truss have to be to span 33 feet 9 inches?

I am doing research for clients who have flat roof trusses to which they are adding a second story. We are now looking for information on the trusses to determine what their load capability is. What do you need to know to help us determine this?

I am trying to determine the manufacturer of some wood trusses installed in the early 1980s in New Jersey. The stamp mark on the connector plates reads, to the best of my ability, TPL-153A (it could be PPL or TPI, but I am unsure). I need to get in contact with this truss manufacturer in order to determine design loads for the truss, as I am remodeling the store under the roof.