Frequently Asked Questions - Rafter Tails

Q What is it made of?
A These tails are made from premium kiln-dried wood glulam. Lamination thicknesses variy but on average lamination is about 1" thick.
Q Why would I buy these instead of solid sawn rafter tails?
A Slide-on wood rafter tails offer many advantages. Their material cost is about the same as conventional systems, but their installation time is fractional, typically meaning big labor savings. Further, because they are precision manufactured they offer superior performance; they are much less prone to cracks, warpage, twists and other common unsightly defects typical with solid timber.

Also keep in mind because they do not back span inside the building like conventional systems, the wood used for the same job is reduced by about 70%.
Q What is the finish?
A The standard finish is re-sawn on 3 sides and pre-primed (on all surfaces) with TWO coats of premium white latex primer.
Q How does it install?
A The tail is slotted in the back and on one face to accommodate a 2x4 truss tail. Trusses should be supplied with tails for the necessary roof overhang. These tails slide over the truss tail, like a shoe, and nail on from both sides.
Q What is the recommended nailing schedule?
A Nails should be installed from both sides. Nails on the same side should be spaced out approx. 6" o/c, so that nails from alternating sides are spaced 3" o/c. Nails from alternating sides should also be staggered with a 1" off-set - so as not to be in line with each other. For the 4x tails: 8d x 2.5 or 2.75" galvanized nails can be used. For the 6x tails: 10d x 3" long galvanized nails is recommended. Nails should be installed with a flush nailer.
Q What are the exact dimensions?
A Tails are available in sizes to match conventional solid timbers. The difference between nominal and actual sizes are industry standard. For example the 4x6 is actually 3.5" x 5.5" and the 6x8 is actually 5.5 x 7.25". Dimensional tolerances are +/- 1/8".
Q What is the size of the slot?
A The slot is sized to 1 3/4" wide x 3 3/4" deep. The length of the slot depends on the tail length. Most tails have 6" of solid wood in the profiled end, but the shortest tail (13") has only a 4" solid wood end.
Q How do I size tails on the job site?
A Tails can be cut to length on the job site by trimming from the back end. Note, the exposed wood grain should be re-primed to ensure peak performance. Depending on the installation some tails should be pitch-cut in the back and others can remain square cut.
Q What if my tail spacing does not line up with the trusses?
A No different than with conventional systems, you use an outrigger to locate tails between trusses if the on-center spacing does not follow the truss layout.
Q Are these tails structurally rated?
A Slide-on tails are non-structural for architectural purposes only.
Q What is the required maintenance?
A Like any other wood product these tails should be painted with a quality exterior rated paint. The maintenance (re-coating period) depends on each geographic area and the environmental conditions. If need be consult with us directly.
Q How do I know what length to order?
A Tails should be ordered based on the lope length of your eave. For example a 24" overhang in a 5/12 pitch has a slope length of 26". However, keep in mind things like the addition of facia or gutters could shorten the length of tail required, where as the need to pitch-cut the back of the tail could lengthen the requirement. If necessary consult with your sales rep for assistance.

Also note, depending on roof pitch, hips and valleys typically necessitate longer tails. For bardges it is more cost effective to use solid sawn timber
Q What other benefits should I be aware of?
  1. Keep in mind every tail is use-able - there is no waste. When using conventional systems you must order extra material to account for the expected down-fall or waste; this is typically 5%-10%. Every slide-on tail is precision manufactured and every tail will be useable.
  2. With conventional systems you usually have raised heels on your trusses, to allow the timbers to back span inside the building. With these slide-on tails there is no back-spanning and in most cases you can order trusses with lowered heels:

    This can reduce the truss package cost by 5% - 15%.
Q What if I have a 2x6 top chord for my roof trusses?
A By special request tails can be made with a slot designed to fit a 2x6 top chord.
Q What if I want a different profile than the ones available?
A By special request almost any profile can be custom made to suite. Consult with your sales rep.
Q What if I want a S4S tail, instead of re-sawn?
A By special request, tails can be ordered smooth-4-sides.