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How to Build Roof Trusses

Learning how to build roof trusses requires patience and attention to detail. A typical residential roof will need a truss called a Fink truss that brings added stability. This truss style has four internal joists that make the shape of a “W” aligned with the centerline of the truss’s triangle. Building a roof truss correctly is incredibly important so please do not attempt it if you are not confident in your ability.

Directions for How to Build Roof Trusses

  1. Consult local building codes to learn the minimum height necessary for the roof on your building.
  2. Measure the width of the building that the truss will span.
  3. Determine the height of the roof that you intend to build.
  4. Apply these dimensions to figure out the length of the 3 chords that form the truss triangle.
    1. The bottom chord will be the width of the building plus 0.25 inches.
    2. The two top chords must connect in the middle to form the peak of the roof gable.
  5. Calculate the lengths needed for the 4 internal joists that form the “W” bracing the truss internally.
  6. Draw a detailed sketch of the truss design on graph paper or use architectural software to create the diagram.
  7. Find out if you may use homemade plywood gusset plates or if building codes require factory-made steel gusset plates.
  8. If you can use plywood gusset plates, cut the pieces with a circular saw.
  9. Take your building plan to local authorities for approval.
  10. Upon approval, arrange your lumber on a flat surface.
  11. With the assistance of a triangle square, mark cut lines on the lumber and double check measurements as you go.
  12. Clamp your first board to a table or across sawhorses.
  13. Perform all cuts with a jigsaw and proceed through all pieces of lumber.
  14. Fit the chords and internal joists together on the ground to form your first truss.
  15. Spread construction adhesive with a putty knife on the joints and glue all pieces together.
  16. After glue sets, brace all joints by attaching the gusset plates.
    1. Glue plywood gussets first and then drive screws into the wood.
    2. Glue steel gussets and drive screws through the holes already in the metal.
  17. Let truss cure overnight.

Tools & Materials

  • Tape measure
  • Graph paper
  • Ruler
  • Triangle square
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Jig saw
  • Sawhorses
  • Table clamp
  • Circular saw
  • Putty knife
  • Power drill

Experienced Delaware Valley Roofers

If you’re not a professional, learning how to build roof trusses yourself might not be a great idea, consider asking PJ Fitzpatrick for help. We have been replacing roofs in the Delaware Valley for decades. Join our thousands of satisfied customers and ask us for a roof estimate today.

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