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Country Discussion Topics
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Pole barn Qs
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Jason    Posted 07-30-2003 at 09:08:21       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I'm building by first pole barn/workshop. It's a
24x24. I am having trouble finding out how
many trusses I need. It's going to have a
metal roof. Any suggestions would be greatly

ken mcdonnell    Posted 11-30-2005 at 15:25:39       [Reply]  [Send Email]
We are Pole Builders- you can contact us through for any questions you may have

DeadCarp    Posted 07-30-2003 at 20:02:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
We've built almost everything with homemade trusses so i'll note a coupla things: First off, take a look at factory trusses and make sure your planning is straight, THEN ask a few questions. Anytime you're driving fasteners, all you're really doing is creating smaller triangles. Drive 3, you already have a triangle. Drive another one and you have 3 triangles, the fifth nail makes 9 triangles and so on. Those triangles make the structure rigid, so use lotsa fasteners. Every member in a truss is under compression load EXCEPT the long bottom strap, that will constantly get pulled for years so don't skimp on that.
Be sure to brace (or sheet) the walls at each corner before piling roof weight up there. Generally, you could build a nice sturdy truss on a flat surface, (use the first one for a pattern & build the rest on top of it) nail on hangars while it's on the ground, and once it's in place just drop the purlins into the hangars & nail them down. Then the metal roof sheets give you those stiffening triangles again.
Don't bother with those fancy tin fastener plates unless you use a press to install them. I've seen them beat to artwork with hammers so i'd prefer treated 1/2-inch plywood gussets (on both sides) anytime. But DO tie the roof to the walls with metal. The longer eaves you have, the greater the lifting force when the wind compresses against a wall. I'm all in favor of metal roofs and those fiberglas panels that let light in are slick, BUT they get brittle after a few years in the sun so don't even trust new ones for walking on. Have fun & be safe :)

VADAVE    Posted 07-30-2003 at 11:58:50       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Red Dave had a good suggestion--ask the truss manufacturer. The answer to your question is as many as you want; or it all depends. My building is 40 by 138 but the length doesn't mean anything except more trusses. The truss company suggested 4 foot spacing and used 2x6 to build the trusses. For purlins I used 1x6 on 12 inch centers--this ensured that there would be no sag between the purlins. As far as not putting on the sides, just brace the roof good and fasten it to the beams and it'll stand there.
There is a real good book called "Practical Farm Buildings" as all the information for figuring out a building.

Mike D. - trusses in gen    Posted 07-30-2003 at 12:21:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
Four foot centers will still show deflection with 1X6 purlins. Even on 12 inch centers. A 1X6 is not rated to carry any live load while placed on 48" centers.

Engineered trusses are good and all.... but we've got barns on our place that have stood for nearly a century and nobody knew a dam thing about emperial data, load stress & shear factors.

Biggest issue to resolve when building is common sense. Look at some of those old structures that have stood the test of time. No lower cords, no flimsy metal gusset plates, no knots the size of a mans fist on any span. Good lumber, clean fits, and strength where it was needed.

I've built many different structures in the time I've spent as a carpenter. The single most satisfying job was my own hay shed. For those of you that are building structures on your own places, and doing the work yourself: take care, use common sense, watch your step, and enjoy it.

bob    Posted 07-30-2003 at 11:25:02       [Reply]  [No Email]
most trusses are set 8 or 9 ft in our area. Has anyone just put on the roof and not sides at first I would like to start that way for hay and mach. torage and add sides and ends when have money to do so but afraid of roof lifting Thank you in advance

Rickstir    Posted 07-30-2003 at 10:03:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
We built a 30 x 40 barn. Trusses on 8 foot centers, purlins on 24" centers, metal roof.

Framework MUST be square before putting on the roof metal. We rented scafolding to put up the purlins. If you are not used to working off the ground I highly recommend contracting out the roof metal. A pole barn is not worth dying for.

JD-Tractor in NY    Posted 07-30-2003 at 09:41:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
Just built that size polebarn in western NY went thru 1 winter lots of snow 6 trusses worked well 4X12 pitch w/metal roog snow would tend to slide off generally a lot of wind in winter in our area have peak running north to south

toolman    Posted 07-30-2003 at 09:32:13       [Reply]  [No Email]
depends on where you are and what your snow load is, here you can get away with 24"on centre with metal roofing, with shingles they want 16" on centre, i see some places down in the southern parts where they don,t get any snow with guys saying 4 feet , not sure id want to go that far though.

Jason    Posted 07-30-2003 at 09:42:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
I'm in the middle of Missouri. The most snow
we ever get is a 12" and that is only every few

toolman    Posted 07-30-2003 at 10:41:35       [Reply]  [No Email]
i can get that much during dinner.

Red Dave    Posted 07-30-2003 at 09:25:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
I have a 24'W X 32'L pole barn for my shop. Trusses are set on 4' centers.
2" X 4" Purlins are across the trusses every 2', with metal roofing screwed to the purlins.
Hope that helps.

Red Dave - with additiona    Posted 07-30-2003 at 10:20:39       [Reply]  [No Email]
There are other factors you should consider also.
How the truss is made and the roof pitch, as wisely pointed out by others.
My trusses were fabricated commercially by a company that only does that kind of work. They had the calculations to show roof strength, in pounds per square foot, for all the combinations of truss design, spacing, roofing type, etc. There are also standards used to estimate snow and wind loads for various parts of the country. The company I used had supplied the trusses for hundreds, if not thousands, of buildings in my area, therefore having empirical data to back up their numbers. They were also cheaper than I could make them because of the volume they handled.
I strongly suggest that you find someone that can supply that kind of data for you before you make a decision. A company like the one I used can do it easily, but a good lumber yard may be able to do it also, or at least refer you to someone who can.

Mike D.    Posted 07-30-2003 at 09:24:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hi Jason,
Set those trusses on 24" centers. What is the pitch of your roof?

Jason    Posted 07-30-2003 at 09:47:19       [Reply]  [No Email]
Pitch is 4/12.

Mike D.    Posted 07-30-2003 at 09:53:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
Gentle sloop. Use 2X4 purlins and go 24" centers on those likewise. You'll have plenty of structure to carry most loads, unless you are in the Great White North.

Be careful of your step, and have fun with it.

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