Framing a roof. Stick or trusses?

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Forum topic by Charlie posted 05-01-2013 12:41 PM 9435 views 0 times favorited 48 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1100 posts in 2365 days

05-01-2013 12:41 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Another oh-I’m-second-guessing-myself-again question on this 8×10 garden shed build…

Simple gable roof. 6:12 pitch. Gables over the 8ft width. I’m carrying a 4×6 beam the full length of the top of the 10ft walls and the beams will cantilever 1 foot at the back and 2 feet at the front.

Roof framing. I haven’t framed a roof in over 35 years except for a couple of shed roofs (is that really framing?). If I stick build it, I need 2×6 rafters on 16 centers and a 14ft 2×8 ridge board (that will get cut down to 13 feet). Cost is about $130-ish for framing lumber to stick build. Just for laughs, I asked a local truss place to quote it. Total of $250 for trusses delivered.

It’s 10 rafter pairs to stick build, so 20 rafters to cut. I know once I get the first pair it’s simply “rinse and repeat” using the first as a pattern, but again…. haven’t done this in a REALLY long time.

How would YOU do it? About 99% of the time I’m working alone. I’d enlist the aid of my son to roll trusses. It would be 7 trusses (2ft spacing).

48 replies so far

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3238 days

#1 posted 05-01-2013 01:07 PM

I’d hang the rafters on the ridge beam with rafter hangers. Once you get one rafter birdmouthed correctly, the rest are a slam dunk. No need to raise trusses. Just stick build it. If you feel you need lateral support, like a truss, then you can add cross supports. I would nail them in place near the ridge beam to provide extra head room.

In other words, each rafter pair can form a triangle truss, but you don’t have to pre-build them before you raise them.

And I’d save money by using 24” centers on the roof, unless you fear snow loads or something.

-- jay,

View Don W's profile

Don W

18865 posts in 2647 days

#2 posted 05-01-2013 01:11 PM

for an 8×10 garden shed, I wouldn’t even bother with birds mouths. Use hanger on both ends. Easy as pie, done in a flash.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View helluvawreck's profile


31959 posts in 2946 days

#3 posted 05-01-2013 01:15 PM

No bigger than what the shed is I would just build the roof from scratch. If you haven’t done something like this for a long while you can get a good barn and shed building book from the big box boys for fifteen bucks and and just refresh your mind by looking at the pictures. I think this is the best plan.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View BJODay's profile


526 posts in 2022 days

#4 posted 05-01-2013 01:28 PM


You don’t need a 2” ridge board, 1”, (3/4”) is enough. It is really just an attachment point.

If you go with trusses, consider the weight. They may be too heavy or awkward for one person to raise and place.

If it’s a small project I would stick build for the enjoyment.


View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3238 days

#5 posted 05-01-2013 01:38 PM

Yeah, good points…my thought too was that it’s very much over-engineered. I would just use double 2×4s for the wall plates and a single 2×6 for the ridge beam. I just figured those were part of a design Charlie wants, and if so, then that’s fine.

-- jay,

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2086 days

#6 posted 05-01-2013 01:49 PM

” $130-ish for framing lumber to stick build”
“Total of $250 for trusses delivered”

I’m thinking that in the time (and energy) it takes you to go buy the lumber, bring it home, unload it, do all the measuring , cutting and assembling, you could have them delivered, set and probably even have it sheeted in the same time. (Providing your son will help you as you said)

If the extra few bucks isn’t an obstacle, I’d order the trusses.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2365 days

#7 posted 05-01-2013 03:06 PM

Of COURSE it’s over-engineered. :)
Anything worth doing is worth OVERdoing… hehehe.

and yes, I’m overthinking this. It’s what I DO. <grin> and, oh my, I wrote that it’s a 6:12 pitch, but it’s not… it’s a 12:12.

Basically that makes the rafter cuts all 45s. I know the ridge board doesn’t need to be that heavy. A 1x is minimum. A 2x just doesn’t cost that much more.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3413 days

#8 posted 05-01-2013 03:39 PM

I built a similar sized garden shed all alone. I did the rafters from scratch as they were easy to lift piece by piece. I didn’t use any steel connection plates, just nails, but I use some wooden gussets at inside peak to strengthen the rafter joining. I did prefab the walls on my flat wooden terrace which my wife helped me move into place. The structure gets pretty solid when the roof beams are nailed on and the walls are anchored to the cement pad it sits on. that makes it stable and easy to work on top. I clamped a temporary board at each end to support the ridge beam which I then temporarily nailed into place until I could get some rafters up.

Good luck with your build!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3238 days

#9 posted 05-01-2013 04:26 PM

That’s cool, Charlie. What you NEED to do and what you WANT to do are two different things. No big deal, as its hard to go wrong…unless of course you are this guy:

Shed of Doom.....

-- jay,

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2365 days

#10 posted 05-01-2013 04:41 PM

yeah I have a 24×24 patio about 20 feet from where the walls will go. I’m sure once I get started on it, it’ll work out. It will be more fun to stick frame the roof rather than roll trusses up there. :)

View Tugboater78's profile


2749 posts in 2271 days

#11 posted 05-01-2013 05:02 PM

Built my 8×10 with stick and plywood pieces and liquid nail and some screws to join the peak on each. Added a 10×10 on the side a couple weeks ago, done the same way. My 230 lb self was trying to pull them down before i sheathed by hanging from them and tryin to be a gymnast, they never gave a sign of. Giving way.

-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

View Tugboater78's profile


2749 posts in 2271 days

#12 posted 05-01-2013 05:08 PM

Using my phone to post on this site makes me angry, you wouldnt like me when im angry… grrr

No ridge beam, ive tore down too many century+ houses that had nothing but a couple nails holding the peak together. But used 2×4 cutoffs between each set of beams to space them, before sheathing too. I will be tying a couple together at the top of the walls with 2×6s on the new part, majnly for some lumber storage though.

-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2365 days

#13 posted 05-01-2013 05:41 PM

I think there’s actually a point at which a ridge board isn’t needed. Has something to do with the pitch if I remember right. Steeper pitch transfers more to the walls. Low pitch puts more stress on the ridge and that board acts more like a beam. Up to about 1860 there is a lot of “fork and tenon” and they’re pegged at the top. Between around 1860 and 1905-1930 (depends what part of the country you’re in) they were simply mitered at the peak. After that they switched to using a ridge board. I used to do inspections here, but again….. long time ago :)

View ChuckC's profile


831 posts in 3014 days

#14 posted 05-01-2013 08:35 PM

Depending on the truss design you may lose a lot of space in the loft area. Just something to consider.

View sprucegum's profile


324 posts in 2077 days

#15 posted 05-01-2013 08:43 PM

I often build my own trusses for small buildings 2 X 4 trusses are plenty heavy enough for your small building. You can use glue nailed plywood for the gussets. I usually get the local lumber yard to send for a quote from the truss mfg. then steal their design. The salesman at the yard is a friend and he could care less as long as I buy the materials from him. The gussets in this case are 3/8 steel plate oh yes I also do common rafters this one is a 10/12 joining a 12/12 there is a reason they call it a bastard valley LOL

Trusses will be much easier to work with common rafters are a pain in the butt on a short span. Here is a small set we threw together last summer.

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

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