Lessons Learned from Evaluation and Repair of Vintage Timber-Frame Church Trusses

May 30, 2010
Publication: Structures Congress 2010, Proceedings Of The 2010 Structures Congress, May 12-15, 2010, Orlando, Florida, ASCE p 1023-1036
Author(s): Philip Westover

Abstract: Many nineteenth-century church structures were constructed based on traditional design and construction techniques using native non-stress-graded timbers. Despite the frequent lack of engineering design with quality timbers, many vintage timber-truss structures have performed satisfactorily for over 100 years. Hidden truss failures are often present near the supports, and modern analysis methods almost always show that some timber-truss components fail to meet the strength requirements of our current design codes. This paper presents a brief review of codes and standards relevant to timber evaluation and repair. Four example projects are presented showing common structural challenges and practical methods of assessment along with repair and strengthening schemes designed to reutilize and extend the service life of existing timber components.

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