Fink Truss Design

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Building with a Fink Truss Design

Many different types of trusses can be used when framing a home, depending on the type of roofline.

A Fink truss is the most commonly used type of residential construction truss.  It is composed of several boards or steel bars that connect together to form an intersection at the top angle of the roof.  These trusses provide support for the rafters and give the roof its rigidity.


A Fink truss is a symmetrical truss that is comprised of a single bar that has arms which angle upwards, with V-shaped webs supporting the interior of the structure.  These trusses can cover over 80 feet when the web pattern is duplicated.  A single Fink truss can be up to 33 feet in size, while a double truss can be up to 54 feet.  It is even possible to create a triple truss. Fink trusses were used frequently in bridges for railroads, and were preferred by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and Norfolk and Western Railroad. The Fink truss can be applied to roofs, too.

History of the Fink Truss Design

Fink TrussAlbert Fink, a German railroad bridge engineer, originally designed the Fink truss in 1852. The first example of this type of truss was in a railroad bridge over the Monongahela River in West Virginia, which was the longest bridge in North America in its time.  The strength to weight ratio permits these structures to have longer spans than conventional framing techniques, allowing for more unique floor plan layouts.  They can be designed to meet nearly any size or shape requirements.

The Strength of Building with Fink Trusses

Most types of roofing use a “W” pattern truss.  The strength of this type of truss allows homeowners to store up to 20 pounds per square foot on the structure.  For the best support and a uniform load-carry, it is recommended that at least a 2 x 6 board be used, to ensure that there is no sagging or lifting under adverse weather conditions.  A Fink truss is the perfect solution for many architectural designs and allows for several different types of rooflines, while providing the strength and stability needed.

Building a Roof Line with Fink Trusses

Much of roof carpentry is done through prefabricated woodwork or galvanized steel today.  These pieces can be lifted into place, saving time and money. This type of roof has under a 35-degree pitch.  Anything steeper than this must use trusses that are more substantial to support the building.  This adds to the overall costs in the end. However, Fink roof trusses cannot be adapted to all building styles and must be built on-site. Despite this, Fink trusses are still very popular with many builders.

Different trusses are used for different types of designs.  The Fink truss has been a popular style for many years, because it can accommodate many different rooflines and provide the structural support necessary to uphold the roof.  In addition, this type of roof truss can extend over a distance while still accommodating the load path that is needed.  They can also be stacked together to assist in building several more styles of roof profiles.

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