Securing a Roof Truss: 7 Tips

A roof truss saves a great deal of time and labor. Nearly 80 percent of the homes built in the U.S. utilize prefabricated roof trusses for the roof construction. You can build more roof systems quicker, and with a greater degree of accuracy if you use roof trusses. Labor costs are lower than conventional rafter systems.

When working with roof trusses, there are some pointers to remember:

1 – Lead Time
You’ll need to order trusses well in advance. They will take from two to eight weeks for delivery, depending on how complicated the order and the number of orders the company has at the present.

2 – Changes

Don’t change the drawings or plans after your trusses are ordered. You will have to reorder and wait again while the trusses are being remanufactured. Have the plans set firmly before  you order.

3 – Cranes
You’ll need some kind of device for lifting the trusses into place in order to install them. While you can rig up a mechanical pulley system, it is faster and easier to rent a crane and an operator to lift the trusses into place for you.

Be prepared to work quickly, since the crane will charge by the hour, and you’ll want to limit that expense. Have a group of people in place to assist you, and go over the game plan before the trusses and the crane arrive.

4 – Pulleys

If you choose to hoist the trusses yourself with a pulley system, you will be less rushed and have less of a panic. However, it will take more manpower to lift the trusses into place, and you’ll need to guard carefully against accidents when a rope slips or swings unexpectedly. Whatever method you choose for hoisting trusses, just know that the installation is not a job you can do yourself.

5 – Tow Ropes
Use tow ropes at either end of the trusses. This will make it easier for you, or your helpers, to grab the truss and guide it into place. It also helps prevent accidents caused when a person tries to grab swinging 2 x 4s. The tow ropes are easier to catch and safer to guide.

6 – The First Truss

Focus a great deal of time and attention on getting the first truss properly in place, plumb and secure. This sets the pattern for the rest of the trusses, and you want to be certain that you have the proper pattern set.

7 – Nail Guns
Using a pneumatic nailer to install the trusses quickly and securely will make the task go much more quickly and accurately. They can be dangerous, there are thousands of accidents involving nailers each year, so be sure to take a short class that details it's proper handling.