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What Are the Most Common Types of Timber Trusses?

Timber trusses have important practical and decorative uses. For an overview of the most common styles and when you might choose them, click here.


When you’re building a home, one of the most important things you’ll need to consider is how to support the roof. Roof trusses are the most common way to quickly and easily put up a roof, but there are several different styles. How do you know the differences of each and whether they’re suited to your project or not?

All the different types of timber trusses have different benefits and uses. Read on to learn more about these types and where each one can excel.

King Post

A king post timber frame truss design is relatively simple with less bracing than other truss styles. This post rarely stands on its own because of its minimal bracing; instead, it is used in conjunction with other types of timber frame trusses. This truss is often used in home additions, garages, and other short-span projects, as it can only span up to twenty-six feet.

A king truss consists of two top chords, which form the angle of the roof and sit at diagonal angles. It also has a bottom chord that runs horizontally and defines the ceiling level in the building. And in the middle, it has one king post that runs vertically and may be accompanied by two diagonal webbing chords that run from the bottom of the king post to the middle of the top chords.

Queen Post

A queen post is a little more elegant than a king post and offers more support. As a result, these trusses can stand on their own in a project and can span a little longer distance, at up to thirty-nine feet. You’ll often see queen-post trusses used in residential construction, both for new construction and for home additions.

Unlike a king post, a queen post doesn’t have one central support post. Instead, it has two vertical posts, one on either side, with a straining beam that sits on top of them and runs horizontally.

There is a central vertical support that runs between the top of the straining beam and the peak of the truss. And queen-post trusses have two small diagonal chords that run between the inside of the queen posts and the bottom of the straining beams.

Fink

Fink trusses are the most common supports used in residential construction today. They aren’t as elaborate as queen-post trusses, but they still offer plenty of support. Their relative simplicity means they’re more affordable, and their sturdiness means they can span up to forty-five feet.

Fink trusses do not have one central support beam, but instead, use a “w” shape for their webbing. Two long supports run diagonally from the peak of the truss to two points along the bottom support. Then two additional beams run from those two points up to a halfway point along the top diagonal chords.

Attic

In some cases, you may need to support a roof that also needs an attic space for storage or extra living space. These trusses are similar to queen-post trusses, but they’re a little less expensive and offer a little more space. These trusses can span 82 feet, giving you plenty of room for a nice attic.

Attic trusses have the same two vertical posts and horizontal straining beam as a queen post truss, but the vertical posts are set a little further back. The central support post above the straining beam also has two diagonal support beams on either side of it. And the bottom corners outside the vertical posts have vertical and diagonal beams for extra strength and support.

Scissor

If you’re needing to put up a building with vaulted ceilings, scissor trusses are the way to go. The rest of the truss styles we’ve discussed so far have a horizontal beam running across the bottom and providing additional support. Scissor trusses, which can span up to seventy-two feet, have sloped bottom supports that allow you to get the dramatic ceiling you want.

In addition to their sloped top and bottom chords, scissor beams have some additional support. There’s a central post that runs from the peak of the bottom chords to the peak of the top chords. There are also two more vertical posts about halfway down each side of the truss and near-horizontal beams connecting those vertical posts to the center beam.

Gable

Gable trusses are found on nearly every residential home, and they are almost never used on their own. These trusses are used on the ends of your roof to support the roof sheathing that has to attach to the end. Their span can vary depending on what types of other trusses they’re being used with and how the rest of the house is constructed.

A gable truss uses a very simple design; it begins with the standard two angled top chords and one horizontal bottom chord. However, from there, it doesn’t use any fancy bracing or supports. Instead, it consists of a series of vertical beams that run from top to bottom of the beam, spread apart at even intervals.

Learn More About Timber Trusses

Timber trusses are one of the most important parts of a building, and there are different types for different applications. Each style has different bracing and offers different amounts of storage, standing room, and stability. A number of factors will go into deciding which truss style is right for your new home.

If you’d like to learn more about timber trusses, check out the rest of our site at Grand Traverse Timber Frame. We are makers of authentic timber frame trusses, structures, and components. Request an estimate from us today and start getting the high-quality building materials you need.

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