Steel trusses as solid foundation for your dream home

Pole Barn Trusses 2024: All You Need to Know About It

Steel trusses as solid foundation for your dream home
Steel trusses as solid foundation for your dream home

Trusses are a critical component of a pole barn structure. Their purpose is to provide support for the building’s roof. Sound trusses can withstand heavy snow loads and other harsh weather conditions. This makes pole barns perfect for commercial, residential, and agricultural uses. Whether you are building a workshop or a barndominium, the type of trusses you choose will significantly impact your project’s result. 

We will look into the world of pole barn trusses. We will go through different types of trusses, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each type. 

Are Trusses Necessary for Pole Barns?

Yes, trusses are necessary for pole barns as they provide the main frame structure that holds up the roof above the building. Without trusses, the metal roofing of a pole barn would be unsupported and could collapse. You want to avoid this, as it would mean costly damage and potential injury. 

This is why roof trusses are necessary for pole buildings. It is important to choose the right type and ensure they are installed correctly. This would mean a safer and more durable pole barn structure. 

What are Pole Barn Trusses?

Pole barn trusses are a major structural support system for a pole barn frame. They are typically made of wood; however, steel trusses can also be an option. Trusses are triangular structures typically made of wood that span the width of the pole barn. 

The following is the process of framing a pole barn. Posts are set into the ground and then fastened together by girts to form a frame. Trusses are set on top of the structure and fastened together by wood purlins. Trusses allow heavier dead load for roofing and greater pounds per square foot (psf)

What’s the Difference Between Trusses and Rafters on a Pole Barn?

While trusses and rafters are structural elements supporting the pole barn roof, they are not quite the same. The main difference between the two is their design and how they are installed.

Trusses are prefabricated triangular structures that come with pole barn kits. They are manufactured off-site and then delivered to the construction site to be installed on top of the pole barn’s frame. The framework of trusses allows them to distribute the load more evenly to the outside walls.

Rafters, on the other hand, are long frames that are made on the construction site. They, too, are designed to span the width of the building and support the roof. However, unlike trusses, a rafter framework relies on the strength of each piece of rafter. They are not designed to distribute the weight across the structure evenly. Rafters are commonly used in traditionally framed roofs.

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What are the Different Types of Pole Barn Trusses?

Common Truss

This is the most basic and cost-effective. A common truss, also known as a standard truss, consists of two sloping sides connected by a horizontal chord creating a basic triangle shape. They make up the basic framework of gable roofs, a common type of roofing. Common trusses are quick to manufacture and easy to install. This makes them a popular choice for pole barns.


  • Cost – Their simple design and installation make them a cost-effective solution for pole barn construction. In addition, the design allows for the efficient use of materials.
  • Versatility – Common trusses can be used for a wide variety of designs and applications.
  • Load-bearing capacity – Common trusses can support heavy loads


  • Limited span – Common trusses are limited in span and need additional support when spanning large distances.
  • Requires additional bracing – They are known to require additional bracing to maintain their structural integrity. This can add to the cost of construction.
  • Design flexibility – Common trusses have a specific design. Such a design might not be able to accommodate the different architectural styles you have in mind for your building.

Scissor Truss

Scissor trusses also consist of two sloping sides. Unlike a standard truss with a horizontal bottom chord, scissor trusses have a bottom chord with a pitch. This allows for more space in the pole barn. This type of truss design is perfect for those looking for additional overhead space or a vaulted ceiling.


  • More Space – Scissor trusses are ideal for buildings requiring interior vertical space. 
  • Aesthetic – The unique design of these trusses can add to the architectural character of a pole barn.
  • Stability – The sloped design of scissor trusses results in a stronger structure that can easily withstand harsh weather.


  • Complex Installation – Their design involves more complicated installation procedures and equipment. This can result in added costs.
  • High cost – Not only are they complicated to install, but they also use more materials and can take more time to build. These add up to the cost of scissor trusses.
  • Less Attic Space – The sloped bottom chord and additional interior space mean the attic space is reduced. This is something to consider for those planning to build pole barn homes or barndominiums.

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Gambrel Truss

The multi-pitched gambrel truss is the frame of the iconic gambrel roof. When you think of a barn, you will most likely picture a building with a gambrel roof. This truss is ideal for agricultural and residential pole barns that require more loft space.


  • Headroom – The gambrel truss allows for more headroom in the upper part of the building. This means more space can be used for storage or as a living space.
  • Low cost – Gambrel trusses can be less expensive because they require fewer materials.
  • Aesthetics – These trusses can give the building a traditional look, giving it a distinct and iconic appeal.


  • Complexity – Gambrell trusses are more complex to fabricate than other types of trusses.
  • Reduced Stability – The design of gambrel trusses involves steeper slopes on the sides of the roof. This can reduce the stability in unforgiving weather conditions.
  • Limited Span – These trusses are not ideal for large buildings with long spans as the trusses may not be strong enough to hold up the roof.

How to Choose Trusses for Your Pole Barn


The cost of the different types of trusses can significantly vary. Simple designs cost less, while more complex designs are more expensive but with added benefits.

Load Capacity

The load your pole barn needs to support is one thing you need to consider when choosing a truss for your pole barn. Knowing the local climate is key because you need to consider snow and wind loads.

Roofing Style

Different roofing styles will require different types of trusses. This will affect the overall appearance of your pole barn. Gambrel trusses offer a traditional and rustic look, while common gable trusses can give your building a simple gable roof style.

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Pole barns are versatile buildings that can be used for virtually any purpose. The trusses are a crucial structural element that can affect the pole barn’s performance, appearance, and safety. For more content on pole barn buildings, take a look at our Pinterest page.


How much do pole barn trusses cost?

The cost of pole barn trusses depends on the material, type, and span. Wood trusses range from $60 to $500 per truss. Steel can range from $150 to $700.

How far apart should trusses be on a pole barn?

There is no set number for the spacing of pole barn trusses. This would depend on the specifications of the build. Greater spacing requires fewer trusses and faster installation, so you can cut costs. Different builders have their own preferences for truss spacing. Generally, they are spaced anywhere from 4 feet apart to 12 feet apart.

Is it cheaper to build your own trusses?

Building trusses requires specialized skills and tools. It is important to have the knowledge and experience to ensure the structure is safe. Otherwise, this can lead to costly repairs and potential injuries. Prefabricated trusses built to spec by experienced manufacturers will save you time and labor costs. This helps lower the overall pole barn price.

Prefab trusses by reputable builders are perfected by engineers with generations of experience. This results in high-quality trusses that can be trusted to withstand harsh weather conditions. They also come with instructions to ensure proper installation.

While it can be cheaper to build your own trusses, you will likely encounter costly challenges. Therefore, purchasing pre-built trusses is the cheaper solution in the long run.