Choosing Structural Bolts: Through Bolts vs Lag Bolts
Deck Structural Connector Brackets & Plates
CONNECTORS, FASTENERS, TIES - CONTENTS: Guide to choosing & installing Deck & Porch Construction & Structural Joist Hangers, Brackets, & Connectors. Deck & Porch Post & Beam Connectors: steel post cap connectors, plywood post to beam cleats, other connectors
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.
InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.
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.
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
Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Steve Bliss's Building Advisor at buildingadvisor.com helps homeowners & contractors plan & complete successful building & remodeling projects: buying land, site work, building design, cost estimating, materials & components, & project management through complete construction. Email: email@example.com
Steven Bliss served as editorial director and co-publisher of The Journal of Light Construction for 16 years and previously as building technology editor for Progressive Builder and Solar Age magazines. He worked in the building trades as a carpenter and design/build contractor for more than ten years and holds a masters degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Excerpts from his recent book, Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, Wiley (November 18, 2005) ISBN-10: 0471648361, ISBN-13: 978-0471648369, appear throughout this website, with permission and courtesy of Wiley & Sons. Best Practices Guide is available from the publisher, J. Wiley & Sons, and also at Amazon.com
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones