1. Design the rafters when the total weight of the snow and roof covering is 30 pounds per square foot, and the purlins are spaced 15 feet apart. Use 1 000 pounds per square inch as the allowable unit-stress.

2. Design the purlins if the trusses are 12 feet center to center; the purlins are spaced 8 feet apart; the roof covering, which weighs 6 pounds per square foot, is laid upon 1-inch yellow pine sheathing resting directly upon the purlins; and the snow load is 10 pounds to the square foot of roof surface. Use 18 000 pounds per square inch as the allowable unit-stress, and use a channel for the purlin section.

7. Bracing. In order to keep the roof trusses erect, bracing is employed to join together their top chords and also their bottom chords. This bracing may consist either of small round or square rods, or it may consist of angles. The latter is the best practice, since it gives great rigidity to the structure; and in fact it should be used in all cases where machinery of any kind is attached to the trusses. One disadvantage of the rod bracing is that good connections with the trusses are usually difficult. The bracing between the lower chords is lighter than that between the top chords, since its office is merely to prevent vibration, while that between the upper chords must take up the stresses caused by the wind blowing upon the ends of the building. The stresses in each of these classes of bracing can only be approximately determined; and for that reason it has become customary to determine their section by judgment rather than by computation. For lower chord bracing, single angles 3 by

2 by 5/16 -inch are recommended; and for upper chord bracing, 3 by

3 by 5/16 -inch angles should be used.

It is not customary to place bracing between each pair of trusses, but to place them between each alternate pair or between every third pair of trusses. Fig. 23 shows several ways in which the bracing may be inserted.

8. Economical Spacing and Pitch of Trusses. The term pitch which has been used in the preceding pages is the fraction obtained by dividing the span into the height of the truss at the center of the span. For example, if a truss has a span of 60 feet, and a rise of 12 feet at the center, it would be said to have a pitch of 1/5; if the rise were 15 feet, the pitch would be ; and if the rise were 20 feet, the pitch would be 1/3. The pitch of a truss is seldom expressed in degrees by giving the angle that the top chord makes with the horizontal. One exception is very common. It is to use the 30° pitch. This has the advantage of making the height of the center equal to one-half the length of one side of the top chord-a fact which lends itself to ease in making the shop drawings.

The maximum or minimum allowable pitch for any given roof depends to a great extent upon the class of roof covering employed. For pitches required for any given class of roof covering, see Article 5, p. 6. It might be noted that most of the patent roofings, or any roofing in which tar or asphalt is an ingredient, should not be laid upon roofs with a pitch greater than 1/5 or 1/6; while most of the coverings which consist of steel or clay products require pitches of 1/5 or over. Pitches varying from 1/6 to 1/3 have very little effect upon the weight of the trusses. This is true only for trusses with horizontal lower chords. If the lower chord is cambered - that is, raised above the horizontal position - it greatly increases the stresses in the truss, and consequently the weight of the truss. The greater the camber, the greater the weight of the truss, the pitch remaining the same. If the camber is constant, then the greater the stresses (and consequently the weight of the truss), the smaller the pitch. It is advisable not to camber the lower chord unless it is positively necessary. A camber of 5 per cent of the span will increase the weight of the truss from 10 to 40 per cent, according to the pitch.

Fig. 23. Methods of Inserting Bracing between Trusses.

Fig. 23. Methods of Inserting Bracing between Trusses.

Taking all things into consideration, a pitch of 1/3 or is to be preferred over that of -I- or less, since, after the pitch becomes less than 1/5, the weight of the truss increases quite rapidly, the span being constant.

For any given roof, there is an economical spacing of the trusses. As the spacing of the trusses increases, the weight of the purlins and bracing per square foot of area increases, while the weights of the trusses, the columns that support them, and the girts, or members which run from one column to the other and on which the siding of the building is placed, decrease. The most economical spacing of the trusses is such as will make the cost of the above quantities a minimum. It is evident that this spacing for trusses which rest upon masonry supports will be different from the spacing in case they rest upon steel columns. Attention is called to the statement that the sum of the costs, instead of the sum of the weights of the above-mentioned quantities, should be a minimum. This is due to the fact that the unit-cost of the purlins is considerably less than that of the trusses, it being in some cases only about one-half.

The spacing of trusses is sometimes governed by local conditions, such as the placing of the machinery in the building and the probable position of future additions. Considering the spacing from a purely economical standpoint, it is probably well to space trusses about as indicated in Table V.

Table V. Spacing Of Trusses

Span, in Feet

Spacing, in Feet

10 to 30


30 to 60


60 to 75


75 to 150

21 to 25

The spacing indicated in Table V is for triangular roof trusses of equal size and span. For other conditions - such as when the main roof consists of one span, and the side roofs consist of different spans and different classes of trusses - the economical spacing may be somewhat different, and is usually less.