Choosing Structural Bolts: Through Bolts vs Lag Bolts
Deck Structural Connector Brackets & Plates
POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about what types of joist & beam hangers & connectors are required for deck construction: joist hangers, connectors, steel tie plates, etc.
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Structural connectors, fasteners, bolts, nails, joist hangers, rafter ties etc.: this article explains the proper selection and installation of structural connectors, brackets & tie plates used to connect deck or porch framing and support members.
USP connectors such as joist hangers, joist angles, joist supports, stud shoes, skew hangers, and face mount hangers used for connecting these hangers and connectors are described, their uses explained, and their applications and specifications linked.
Both galvanized steel and stainless steel joist hangers, connectors, & brackets may be applied.
We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.
How to Choose the Correct Bolts or Fasteners for Structural Framing Connections in Wood Frame Construction, Decks & Porches
Also see our BOOK REVIEW of that book. Our page top photo shows a hybrid deck structure that encompasses a boat. No fasteners were found securing the boat to the deck however.
At minimum, all structural hardware for decks should be
hot-dipped galvanized steel. For the best protection, use
stainless steel (see “Joist Hangers and Connectors,” below).
At connections carrying structural loads, such as deck
ledgers or railing posts, use through-bolts or lag screws.
Through-bolts are stronger and should be used where possible.
For the heaviest connections on a deck, such as
where ledgers attach to the house or to posts, use 1/2-inch
bolts or lags.
Place large washers under the heads of lags
and at both ends of through-bolts. Re tighten bolts and lags
after the first year and check periodically for tightness.
Machine-Threaded Bolts Used for Deck Construction
Where both sides of the joint are accessible, bolts
offer the strongest connections. Drill pilot holes 1/32 to 1/16 inch
larger than the diameter of the bolt so it will slide through
After drilling, saturate the hole with preservative.
Use large washers under both the head and nut. Re tighten
after the first year, since the wood may have shrunk.
For lag bolted deck connections, drill a full-diameter pilot hole for the unthreaded
portion and a smaller hole (65 to 75% of the lag’s
diameter) for the threaded portion. So, for example, a 1/2-inch
lag would get a 5/16-inch pilot hole for the threaded portion; a
3/8-inch diameter lag would get a 1/4-inch diameter pilot hole.
After drilling, saturate
the pilot hole with wood preservative. It is also important
that at least half the length of the lag is threaded into solid
For example, driving a 5-inch lag through a 4x4
post into a 2x joist will produce a weak connection with only
1 1/2 inches of anchoring. Instead, the lag screw should go
through the 2x and be threaded into the thicker 4x4. Use a
large washer under the head, and re tighten after the first year
in case materials have shrunk.
Joist Hangers and Steel Connectors Used for Deck Construction
At a minimum,
use hot-dipped galvanized hardware. With pressuretreated
wood, hot-dipped galvanized steel should conform
to ASTM A153 (for fasteners) or ASTM A653, G185 (for
Stainless steel offers the best protection.
Type 304 or higher stainless steel is recommended for very
wet environments such as poolside decks; or Type 326 for
exposure to salt or saltwater.
Watch out: Also, do not mix metals: Use
stainless-steel fasteners with stainless-steel connectors and
galvanized fasteners with galvanized connectors. And at Fasteners, Nails, Screws, Hidden, for Decks we include examples of fasteners that should not be used in joist hangers, such as drywall screws and other non-structural screws. or roofing nails.
Suppliers of Joist, Post & Beam Hangers & Connectors & the Nails or Fasteners used With Them
Stainless steel or galvanized steel joist hangers, connectors and similar products are produced by Simpson Strong Tie, Incom, Schuler Manufacturing, State Metals, Daytona Bolt & Nut, Hutchinson, Cleveland Steel, U.S. Lumber, Hohmann & Barnard, and Direct Tools & Fasteners as well as Paslode, Grip Rite joist hanger nails and other specialty nails.
Incom Distributor Supply, PO Box 868, Fort Wayne IN 46801, Tel: 260-748, 5469, Website: http://shop.incomsupply.com/shop/, "... a growing nationwide network of over 500 Commercial Industrial Distributors" Incom Inc, 73-5600 Kauhola St Ste C, Kailua Kona, HI 96740, Tel: (808) 329-1311
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