Truss Alteration

If you found alterations to trusses and to support columns under the home, how would you write it up?? Even though It looks OK I still want my clients to know waht they have… So how would you call it??

Earl & Cong 037.jpg

Earl & Cong 037.jpg

Can’t disagree more - it does not look OK. It’s a poorly-executed field alteration to a cut member of a truss. No engineer would let that type of repair fly. Neither would I. Call it what it is: Wrong.

I botched it on the last truss plate thread, so let it be known that I am no truss expert but…It looks OK to me.


That’s definately not an ok alteration. The member has been cut clean through and patched with plywood. This member takes a vertical load and despite being nailed back together it could still kick sideways if the load on one side of the roof became greater because the two plates aren’t long enough to keep the member rigid.

It needs to be properly plated or sistered with full length posts on each side bolted together to eliminate the threat of it kicking.

I would write it up as:

Structural modifications have been made to the building’s truss system. I would strongly recommend having a structural engineer assess the integrity of the truss and recommend a course of action for repairs if necessary.

How weasly that sounds??? “repairs if necessary”.

I think it’s fine. It’s at least as strong as a truss plate in preventing movement.

I don’t recommend that truss plates be repaired or sistered with full length posts on each side bolted together. Why would I recommend that this be repaired?

Altered engineered truss(es) shall be signed off and approved by an engineer, not me.

Thanks to all, I let explained it to my clients as an area that should be checked out by a SE, and or I could do a permit search on the property to find out what if any permits have been pulled… They agreed I am doing a permit search for them first and then take it from there…

Agreed Tim.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

It looks like a good fix…without knowing the numbers. Use of plywood “plates” is common.

In this case I would note that a repair has been made and state that repairs to trusses require engineering and your client should request the backup from the homeowner. That puts the pressure on the homeowner to get the paperwork from the builder vs. your clienting having to hire an engineer.

Personally, I wouldn’t even trust a “plywood plate” as a bracing on a kitchen table. They have specific metal plates for trusses, I’d recommend that an SE determine the appropriately sized one to install.

I specify “plywood” as bracing on entire houses…

Are you stating that you would require the SE to specify metal plates? What if the SE called out specifies plywood?

Hi. Curtis;

I could not agree with you more on this issue and no where you are coming from, unfortunately, the picture shows a Manufactured Truss Design that was altered and no one knows if it were corrected per the Manufacturers Engineering Department for remedial repairs.

I do agree that the Manufacturer would have come back with a proper plywood fix or scabbing full length members on each side for that situation, but this picture does not show a standard repair that would be instructed to do by a Truss Manufacturer.

Just my thought.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I was just stating personal opinion of plywood bracing. Yes, I’d push for metal plates but if the SE specifies plywood it’s his call (and his butt).

I have been in the building industry for over 28 yrs and have learned that truss modification is never done unless directed by a structural engineer. I have done this through approval of the engineer and in each instance plywood was an acceptable repair. The repair in the picture clearly wasn’t approved by an engineer. I would also write in my report to consult an engineer

CYA is the stance I always take, though this application looks OK to me, I cannot verify if the work has a stamp from a SE and a building permit.
As home inspectors we should not assume structural alterations are correct even if we know, Ya know…


You are brutal man,it might be fine it might not be,I see this on 2x4 wood studs all the time,if they are warped the drywaller will cut the 2x4 and plate it with plywood,one side[load and non load bearing walls] as far as I’m concerned it’s O.K. but I agree with having a structural Eng.look at it.
Just covering my six.


Do not, I repeat DO NOT take the responsibility to let the client know IF the repairs were done correctly, because, if down the line, God forbid that there is a problem with the truss, YOU and you alone will be held responsible, because, you told the client that the repairs loked o.k. to you… I have had several occasion where there was a so called “contractor” that did the repairs, did not do it correctly. I ALWAYS recommend a S.E. to do the evaluation with a written instruction on how the repairs is to be done, then have HIM sign off.

try going to (Wood Truss Council) as there is a ton of info there. Also, the Truss Plate Institute.

**[FONT=Tahoma-Bold][size=3]An excerpt from one of their downloads:
**[/size][/FONT]-Plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) gussets over damaged plates or joints.
-Metal nail-on plates.
-Lumber scabs or repair frames over broken chords or webs.
-Truss plates applied by a portable press.
[/size]-There are no “standard” repair details; they are generated on a case-by-case basis.

Tat’s not entirely accurate. Trusses are frequently modified by the contractor and subs without approval of any engineer. This of course is not allowed per code. Any truss that is modified must be checked by an engineer or the original design is void. The manufacturer will not warrant it and the engineer who signed the truss engineering is off the hook.

When a truss repair is calced it takes into account the forces in the member. It is no uncommon for there to be zero force members in a truss. This truss fix looks like a king post web. On a Howe configuration design, at the typcial spans you would find in a house, this member would probably not have high stress. It is not impossible that the gusset repair shown would be adequate. It’s really up to an engineer.