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What Are the Different Types of Pole Barn Trusses?

Pole barn trusses are the backbone of your structure, coming in various styles like King Post, Queen Post, Scissor, and Gambrel, each offering unique benefits for space and strength. Understanding their differences ensures a barn tailored to your needs. How will the right truss transform your project? Discover the impact of each design on your building plans.
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Many structures feature roofs that are suspended by trusses, which are support systems comprised of triangles that distribute weight evenly. Pole barn trusses are designed to work specifically with pole barns, which are structures that feature a series of poles positioned around a perimeter that support a roof. The pole barn may or may not have walls. Pole barn trusses vary in materials and designs, and the best trusses will depend on the intended use of the structure. A gambrel roof truss system, for example, may be appropriate for some applications, while a simple sloped roof may be better for others.

A gambrel roof is usually associated with a barn; the distinctive look of this type of roof features a sharper pitch at the bottom of the roof and a less pronounced pitch toward the top. This allows for maximum storage potential underneath the roof while still allowing for easy runoff of rain water. Gambrel pole barn trusses can be more difficult than other styles to install, but they will allow for more storage, especially if the pole barn features an upper level. A gambrel roof will also be more expensive because more materials will be necessary.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Simpler pitched roofs are more common for pole barn trusses. When creating a simple pitched roof, two types of pole barn trusses are commonly used: king trusses and queen trusses. A king truss features a long horizontal beam with a vertical beam at its center. This forms two large triangles that support the roof structure. The vertical beam will help hold up the horizontal beam, which will in turn help support the weight of the roof. A queen truss works in a similar fashion, but instead of a single vertical beam at the center, this truss system will feature two vertical beams that essentially form a box in the center of the truss. This style of truss is especially useful for creating more storage space in an upper level.

The materials used to create pole barn trusses can vary, but the most common materials include wood, aluminum, and steel. Wood trusses are easier to create because wood is easily cut and manipulated on site, and wood can also be shimmed if necessary. Aluminum can also be cut on site in some cases, but shimming aluminum can be difficult and this lightweight metal is not always the most supportive choice. Steel is heavy duty, not to mention simply heavy, but it is difficult to cut on site and otherwise manipulate.

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