Tag Archives: steel connector plates

Steeply Sloped Post Frame Roofs

With fully engineered post frame buildings becoming a popular barndominium design solution, future home owners are looking for more variety in their builds.

Loyal reader KEITH in MADISON is one of these and writes:

“Thanks very much for all the work you do to make this website such a treasure trove of information!

Online, I see almost exclusively 4/12 pitch post frame trusses, even on residential builds. Why is that? Is it possible to have, say, a 12/12 pitch roof with all the existing benefits of post-frame (ease of construction, affordability, engineered trusses, etc.)?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:
Thank you for your kind words, they are appreciated!
In most instances a 4/12 slope is a least expensive design solution. Lesser slopes require larger or higher graded members and pressed steel connector plates, steeper slopes often allow for smaller components, however they are greater in length and at a certain point cause challenges in fabrication and shipping. Many truss manufacturers are limited to trusses with a 12 foot overall height, due to their equipment. Taller trusses can require a piggyback (or cap) to create requested profiles. As slope increases, more roof purlins are needed and both roof and endwall steel lengths increase.

A consideration many miss – is design of wall columns is impacted by them having to carry wind against roof surfaces. As your roof grows in height, loads can increase significantly (but not prohibitively expensively).

By maintaining a single slope for an option, makes for pricing very simple for providers lacking in sophisticated engineering design and pricing software.

With all of this said, our system can do any slope you desire – even down to fractions of a degree of slope. My own personal first post frame shouse (shop/house) was done with 7/12 slope trusses to match an existing cabin on our property. Currently, we live in a post frame barndominium using gambrel trusses where slopes are 6/12 and 24/12. When it comes down to it – if you can dream it, chances are excellent we can provide a structurally sound design solution for your new building.

Can You Provide Just Trusses for My New Pole Barn?

Back in my owning a roof truss manufacturing plant days, we sold trusses to a building contractor, who was uninsured, and new building owner neglected to insure building. When it collapsed due to builder error (building also was not engineered), our insurance company ended up paying for a replacement building as it was ruled we were 0.5% to blame, just because we provided trusses! 1/200th of fault was ours, yet we got billed!! Think trusses are expensive? Blame it on scenarios like this, causing insurance premiums to skyrocket.

To add insult to injury – builder’s check he wrote to us for these trusses, bounced and we never got paid for them!

Reader CORY in EXPORT writes:


Is it possible to just get the trusses or a design on the truss construction. Placement on posts. Thanks!”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

Thank you for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. Our goal is to provide you with a complete, third-party engineered post frame (pole) building including complete plans, assembly instructions and materials delivered to your site.

We do not provide just trusses, as this lends itself to people believing they have an “engineered building” just because they have trusses built from engineer sealed drawings. In event of a collapse due to the balance of the structure not being designed by a RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) fingers start to be pointed towards whoever provided the trusses.

As for a “design on truss construction” you truly do not want to tackle building your own trusses at your site. Even if you were to have a prefabricated roof truss drawing to work from – it is impossible to buy most specified lumber grades from a drawing. You also have no way to acquire steel connector plates for the truss assembly and if you could somehow obtain them, you lack an ability to properly press them in. You might possibly be able to come across a substitution of plywood gussets for steel plates, however these plywood gussets would be significant in size and are usually required to be glued with a resorcinol glue (for further reading upon this subject: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/10/roof-trusses/).

When it comes to placement (attachment) of trusses to columns, this will be best left to an expert third-party engineer who will seal your building plans. He or she will have the needed education, experience and expertise to properly design all of your building connections to adequately support imposed climactic loads.

If you believe you can somehow save money by piecemealing together your own building, then this will be a must read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/03/diy-pole-building/.

Your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer will be in contact with you soon, to assist in your journey to a new post frame building.

Site Built Roof Trusses

Site Built Roof Trusses

In penning my recent article about sexy prefab roof trusses, recalled from recesses of what little mind I have yet, was a story I will share with you about site built roof trusses.

I was not long into my position as truss plant manager for Lucas Plywood and Lumber when a house framer approached me in regards to trusses for a pole barn he had just sold. Whilst then I was relatively (if not completely) post frame (pole barn) building ignorant – I did know lots about trusses.

Now I am relatively sure this builder wanted me to design these 40 foot clearspan trusses for him. I can only assume he thought he was going to save himself a bunch of money by assembling trusses himself at the jobsite.

Only then 22 years old, I didn’t know much, but did know helping with a design was not a place I was going to get myself deep into. I did end up selling this builder a bunch of 20 and 22 foot long 2×12 #2 Green Douglas-Fir, some 2×4’s and plywood for gussets. I made him provide me with a list as I wanted no part of any liability fiasco.

As far as I know, it all worked.

How this builder expected to come out ahead still baffles me. Truss companies (hopefully) make a profit, otherwise why be in business? When I was a newcomer to truss sales, we used to double lumber costs to come up with a sell price. Toothed steel connector plates ran about 7% of sell price and assembly labor 10%. Left us with a gross profit margin of roughly 1/3rd.

We also had benefits of engineer sealed truss designs, often using higher graded lumber than what a builder would normally be able to buy from his or her local lumber supplier. Our labor costs were reduced by having cutting capabilities of several hundred boards per hour, being trimmed to length and proper angles pretty much as quickly as boards could be fed into saws. Jigs, once set up, provided a means for every truss to be identical in profile.

Have a builder considering constructing trusses for your new post frame building at your site? Unless you are after something quite custom, being built from engineer sealed plans – just say no, as somewhere in this your builder will be cutting corners.