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What Is The Appropriate Chord Size For My Project?

Asked by Greg on March 05, 2015

What is the appropriate size of the bottom chord & top chord (timber) for a span of 5.2 meters ( dist.between supports). thank you so much.

top and bottom chord.jpg

Answered by Doug Friant

Hi Greg,

We would need a lot more information to be able to offer a guess. Design Criteria typically includes live and dead load (snow + wind + self weight) plus any additional loads like mechanicals or floors hanging from the trusses. We also need to know the distance between the trusses (tributary).

Having said that, 5.3 meters is pretty short, so the members would not have to be very big.

Best regards,


  1. Rich says:

    I’m looking to build a new barn in the next few months and have bids for a steel truss system. If I have a choice I would rather have a timber truss for a nice finished look. Before I waste anyone’s time I was wondering if that is possible wih out making the project price go way up? The span of the arena would be 80 foot wide by 160 foot long with a 85 pound snow load. What would a truss that was designed for the cost and how many would I need? The other idea would be to use the timbers in other areas of he barn and use steel for the larger trusses’s.
    Thanks for your help,
    Rich Haines

    • Doug Friant says:

      Hi Rich,

      Timber frames are much more expensive than steel buildings, particularly for riding areas because of the long spans. Other areas of the barn are a different story though. Timbers will work great for stables and entry areas.



  2. Love this timber frame barn – well done you guys!

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