Warren Truss Pros and Cons

WarreN Truss Pros and Cons

Warren Truss Pros and Cons

There are no longitudinal members in the Warren truss; instead, only angled cross-members connect them together, resulting in spaces that are alternatively inverted Equilateral triangles along their length. With no vertical components, loads on the diagonals alternate between compression and tension. Elements in the center, on the other hand, must support both tension and compression in response to live loads. This design has a good balance of strength and weight savings because of the way the materials are used. Due to the same length of the girders, this design is perfect for prefabricated modular bridges. Known as a Warren truss, or simply an equilateral truss, this structural design makes use of equilateral triangles to save weight. When it was first patented, it was called the “Warren Engine” after British inventor James Warren. If you want to use an alternate Warren truss design, you may add vertical members to the triangles instead of horizontal ones. These are employed when the top horizontal members’ lengths would otherwise grow too lengthy, increasing the danger of buckling. Most of the truss loads are carried by these vertical elements, which primarily serve to stabilize the horizontal members against buckling. Warren Trusses are cost effective and globally well accepted. On the other hand Solid Timber Glulam is an innovative and versatile. This study will cover the Warren Truss Pros and Cons. By considering the both the followings issues can influence to take decision:

a) Five key issues of Warren Truss

  1. Attractiveness of the structure issue

The issue of attractiveness is the prime concern area for the structure of roof. The attractiveness can be highlighted both the Warren Truss and Solid timber Glulam. But the key issue which material will increase the attractiveness because both the material has individual beauty from different point of view of Warren Truss and Solid timber Glulam though the design cost is high for Solid timber Glulam.

  1. Cost Effective Issue

The cost is another focal point that influences the decision. It is true that Warren Trusses are cost effective and globally well accepted in the strength of construction. The concerning issue is that it is cost effective, strong well and have the ability to increase the efficiency of the structure. But it has some limitation where Solid timber Glulam works well like the durability and appearance is quite better than Warren Tissue.

  1. The issue of Security Measure

In the context of fire, the safety measure is the prime concern area that may influence in taking decision. If the consideration of fire is given priority, then the option to use Solid Timber Glulam is preferable as it performs very well in fires safety performance.

  1. Load and consistency issue of the structure

In swimming pool structures of the roof the load should be a concern area. In that case the load should be less. As the durability of the Solid Timber Glulam is high and it supports a durable low maintenance solution as well as the consistency level is high as the beams are engineered wood products. On the other hand, it may increase the cost where Warren Truss is cost effective.

  1. Environmental Issue

In the context of environmental there may arise some conflict regarding the huge use of energy to Warren Truss compare to Solid Timber Glulam. But there is a threat of deforestation by the use of solid timber. Thus both are issuing cause to the environmental issue to influence to take decision. Though construction process is the continuous process for the development of civilization, in that case Glulam can save from earthquake and the post damage cost is less compare to Warren truss.

b) Warren Truss Pros and Cons using a long span steel Warren truss

WarreN Truss Pros and Cons


  • The load-bearing capacity of truss is effectively huge throughout its intricate structure.
  • Due to the use of triangles the strength of the structure is too good.
  • Due to the large variety in the construction mechanism it produces different designs all over the world.
  • Due to the optimization of machinery and labor the material costs seems to be less.
  • In the context of modern engineering techniques of fabrication Warren Truss is so popular.
  • The use of less material during construction is applicable.


  • In the context of safety measure the Warren truss are the forms of old and outdated Structure.
  • It may create a cause of huge wastage if the design is not done in proper manner.
  • The extent of exclusive design those are too lucrative, then Warren truss structure is not suitable to meet the purpose.
  • Now a day it has become less common due to the increase of steel costs in many states.

c) Pros and Cons of using solid timber glulam beams


  • The use of solid timber glulam is locally available as it has no necessary to be mined due to the growth of it on the ground.
  • The use of solid timber glulam is environmentally sustainable material as it has the real existence subject to the natural power.
  • The use of solid timber glulam has Flexibility in shape and size as it has the benefit of customization.
  • The Appearance of the use of solid timber glulam is preferable just because of the natural beauty.
  • In compare to the concrete and steel as well as truss the solid timber glulam has excellent strength to weight ratio. As a result it is possible to handle a beam of roof space considering the glulam structures build ability.
  • It requires smaller foundations compare to the steel or concrete to build a structure of reduced weight.
  • The solid timber glulam has high strength and dimensional stability as it is the construction solid timber.


  • The issue of deformation is very easy to the solid timber glulam as a result quality became a question die to its deformation.
  • On the other hand Good solid glulam is highly priced that may increase the cost.
  • Due to the high price of solid timber glulam it increases the cost of construction of roof almost 2 times of the cost that is also too much expensive.
  • As the circulation and ventilation of moisture does not work in proper manner for solid timber glulam the quality may fall.

d) Reasons behind not considering a reinforced concrete waffle slab for roof structure

Waffle slabs are a reinforced slab system which includes the perimeter footing in the name of edge beam and narrow internal beams in the name of strip footings, where the waffle slabs are not considered for the roof structure. As Waffle slabs are perfect for the sites of flat or perfect in natural soils, thus it is not used for roof structure. Waffle slabs are considered for the construction structure in the slightly or moderately reactive clay sites but not fit for roof structure. Waffle slabs are too much expensive and the form of construction is not supported for roof structure as it cost is too high because if the cost is increased then the project lost its divisibility and viability. In that concern, project cost of roof structure should be less. Then expensive issue should be less which is higher for Waffle slabs. Waffle slabs have low fire rating as it is viewed that is not supported well to the safety measure in the context of safety.  It has the form of large vertical penetrations, due to the large scale of vertical integration it becomes too difficult to manage as well as handle. That is why, by considering the above discussion, it became reason not considering the Waffle slabs in the roof structure as the cost effective and fire safety issue is major concern area.

References (Warren Truss Pros and Cons)

Berle, M., 2017. http://www.plywoodinspection.com/2017/10/28/solid-wood-glued-laminated-timber-glulam/. [Online]

Bradley, M., 2017. Warren Truss Advantages and Disadvantages. [Online]

Carigliano, S., 2015. Warren Truss. [Online]

Civil, 2017. Ribbed (Waffle) Slab System. [Online]

Cornell, M., 2014. Beware Waffle Slabs. [Online]

Harris, M., 2017. Truss: Advantages and Disadvantages. [Online]

Rodriguez, J., 2016. What is Glulam? Applications and Advantages of Glulam. [Online]

Techlam, 2017. Advantages & Benefits of Glulam. [Online]

Written by

Md. Shadequr Rahaman

Email: [email protected]

Warren Truss Pros and Cons

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