How to Lay Out Trusses

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Things You'll Need

  • Roof trusses

  • Tape measure

  • Square

  • Pencil

  • 16 penny nails

  • Hurricane ties

Prefabricated roof trusses replace standard roof framing.

Trusses are prefabricated roof framing members that are set into place on top of framed walls. They are built as single members and must be installed in numbers to your roof in order to complete an entire roof framing plan. The average do-it-yourselfer can hang them by following a few tried-and-true methods. Complete this project in one to three days, depending on the size and scope of the project.


Step 1

Cut several 2-by-4s to 22.5 inches long. The number of pieces is determined by the number of trusses to hang; generally, two 2-by-4s per truss. These 2-by-4s will be placed between the trusses at the wall plates where the trusses attach to the top of the walls.

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Step 2

Set two trusses beginning at one end of the wall. Set the first truss, aligning with the outside edge of the wall and nail in temporary 16 penny nails through the truss and into the wall plate on each side. Have a helper hold the first truss in place and lay down two 22.5-inch 2-by-4 blocks, one on each end of the truss where it attaches at the wall plate. Slide the next truss in place flush against the 22.5-inch blocks and nail temporary 16 penny nails through the truss where it meets the wall plate.

Step 3

Add eight foot 2-by-4s to the top of the two trusses and allow them to extend out over the area ahead of the trusses. Once these supports are nailed into place, the two trusses will stand on their own. Continue to add 22.5-inch 2-by-4 blocks between the trusses as spacers and attach the subsequent trusses at the wall plates with 16 penny nails.


Step 4

Nail the overhanging 2-by-4s into the tops of the trusses as you add the trusses to the roofing system. Add more 2-by-4 supports as necessary. When the entire truss package has been set-up, add interior bracing at an angle. This bracing replaces the bracing that was attached on top of the trusses during installation.


Step 5

Add the hurricane ties to the trusses where they attach to the wall plates. Leave the 16 penny nails in place and add the ties over the nails.


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