Although truss-designed roofs are predominant throughout most of the residential construction industry, there are regions where building with stick-frame roofs is still common. In this post, Randy Shackelford discusses some design choices available to stick-frame builders, the challenges they pose, and the solutions offered by the Simpson Strong-Tie® three-connector system for stick-frame roofing. Continue Reading
This week’s post was written by Jhalak Vasavada, Research & Development Engineer at Simpson Strong-Tie.
When we launched our new, patent-pending MPBZ moment post base earlier this year, the evaluation of the moment capacity of post bases was not covered by AC398 – or by any other code, for that matter. There wasn’t a need – there were no code-accepted connectors available on the market for resisting moment loads. Continue Reading
One of the first mixed-use designs I worked on as a consulting structural engineer was a four-story wood-frame building over two levels of parking. Designing the main lateral-force-resisting system with plywood shearwalls was a challenge for this project that required new details to meet the high design loads. The high overturning forces were resisted using the Simpson Strong-Tie® Strong-Rod™ anchor tiedown system, which incorporates high-strength rods, bearing plates and shrinkage compensation devices. Continue Reading
Experiential learning — has it happened to you? Certainly it has, because experiential learning is learning derived from experience. It happens in everyday life, in engineering and in product development, too. For example, experience has taught us that after a product is launched, our customers will find applications for the product that were never expected or listed in the product brief. Also, experience has shown us that larger fasteners tend to be placed in applications that have greater structural and safety demands.
When the larger Deck-Drive™ DWP screws were manufactured, we decided that they should be marketed as “load-rated” screws because they were big enough to support physically large parts and would be expected to provide structural load resistance.
So what is a “load-rated” screw? To Simpson Strong-Tie, a load-rated screw is a threaded fastener that has controlled dimensions and physical properties, as well as validated connection properties. Load-rated fasteners are also subject to the same quality inspection that would occur if they were undergoing an evaluation report.
Written by Brandon Chi, Engineering Manager, Lateral Systems at Simpson Strong-Tie.
Wood shearwalls are typically used as a lateral-force-resisting system to counter the effects of lateral loads. Wood shearwalls need to be designed for shear forces (using sheathing and nailing), overturning (using holdowns), sliding (using anchorage to concrete) and drift, to list some of the main dangers. The Simpson Site-Built Shearwall Designer (SBSD) web app is a quick and easy tool to design a wood shearwall based on demand load, wall geometry and design parameters.
The web application provides two options for generating an engineered shearwall solution: (1) Solid Walls; and (2) Walls with Opening using the force-transfer-around opening (FTAO) method. Both options generate solutions that offer different combinations of sheathing, nailing, holdowns, end studs and number/type of shear anchors. The app can generate a PDF output for each of the possible solutions. Design files can be saved and reused for future projects.
Figure 1 shows the input screens for the “Solid Walls” and “Walls with Opening” designs with common wall parameters that are applicable to both design options. The user interface uses quick drop-down menu and input fields for the designer to select the different options and parameters. Unless otherwise noted, all the input loads are to be nominal (un-factored) design loads. The application will apply load combinations to determine the maximum demand forces for the shearwall design.
Figure 2 shows the allowable stress design (ASD) load combinations used for calculating the demand loads for the different components of the wood shearwall (i.e., holdown, compression post, sheathing and nailing design, etc.).
In addition to the lateral loads (wind and seismic) applied at the top of the wall and the wall’s own weight, uniform loads on top of the wall and concentrated point loads at the end posts can also be modeled. (See Figure 3.)
Embedded anchor or embedded strap holdowns can be modeled by the app. (See Figure 4.) For the embedded strap option, additional input parameters are required since they will affect the allowable load of the selected strap holdown.
The Designer has the option to include additional sources of vertical displacement for drift calculation. (See Figure 5.)
For hand-calculated design when the demand forces are determined, the holdown size and shear anchorage can be selected from tabulated values. Design for the sheathing/nailing and compression post is relatively straightforward as well; however, the shearwall drift calculation may take a bit more work. This is where the SBSD app comes in handy. Below are two sections on the shearwall drift and strap force calculations and assumptions used in the SBSD application. If you are interested, please contact Simpson Strong-Tie for other design assumptions used in designing the SBSD app.
The Δa value from the third term of the equation is the total vertical elongation of the wall holdown system from the applied shear in the shearwall. The third term accounts for the additional displacement from holdown displacement. For holdown deflection, the deflection value depends on the post size used with the holdown size. When hand-calculating shearwall drift, Designers may have to perform a couple of iterations to come to the final post and holdown size. The SBSD app accounts for the holdown displacement and the post size used for overturning force calculation.
For shearwall-with-opening deflection calculation, EQ-2 is used in the SBSD app.
The solid wall, ∆solid wall, term is calculated using EQ-1 above. For the window strip and wall pier deflection terms, the height “h” used in EQ-1 is taken as the height of the window opening. ∆a is the deflection from nail slip in the shearwall. For more information regarding shearwall deflection with opening, please refer to Example 1 in Volume 2 of the 2015 IBC SEAOC Structural/Seismic Design Manual.
Strap Force Calculations:
For the Wall with Opening design option, there are several methods (Drag Strut, Cantilever Beam, SEAOC/Tompson, Diekmann) to calculate the force transfer around the opening. In the SBSD app, the Diekmann technique is used to calculate the pier forces in the shearwall and the strap forces around the opening. When calculating the strap forces, the SBSD app assumes they are the same at the top and bottom of the opening. In addition, contribution of the gravity load only affects the overturning forces in the holdown and post design but not the wall pier forces or strap forces.
Once all design parameters are entered and calculated, a list of possible solutions (where available) will be shown. (See Figure 6.) Common parameters such as sheathing material and type, wood species, minimum lumber grade, etc., are shown first, followed by other design parameters. The user can filter the solutions by seismic drift or wind drift.
The Designer can select the PDF button next to the desired solution to see a PDF design file on a separate screen. (See Figure 7.) The PDF design file contains the detailed design criteria input by the Designer, calculated demand loads, shearwall material summary, and a design summary for holdown, sheathing, and compression post design. A detail summary for shearwall deflection is also shown, with each term of the shearwall deflection equation (EQ-1) separated. Shear anchorage and design assumption notes follow the design summary section. This PDF file can be saved and printed by the Designer.
I hope you find the SBSD web app helpful for your day-to-day wood shearwall design needs. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below.
How would a six-story light-frame wood building perform in a large earthquake? Back in 2009, Simpson Strong-Tie was a partner in the World’s Largest Earthquake Test, a collaboration of the NEESWood project, to answer that question. This was a full-scale test which subjected the building to 180% of the Northridge earthquake ground motions (approximately a M7.5). Within the building, Simpson Strong-Tie connectors and Strong-Frame SMF were used, with the Strong-Rod™ anchor tiedown system (ATS) serving as holdown for each shearwall.
The NEESWood building was designed under Performance-Based Design methodology, and the test was conducted as validation for the approach. Buildings of similar size to the NEESWood building are built to current codes using similar products. Mid-rise light-frame wood structures continue to be a popular form of construction in various densely populated cities across the country. As part of the lateral-force-resisting system, continuous rod systems are used as the holdown for the shearwall overturning restraints. Simpson Strong-Tie has been involved with continuous rod systems since the early 2000s when we launched the Strong-Rod anchor tiedown system.
Today, rod manufacturers design the continuous rod systems with design requirements (loading, geometry, etc.) Supporting documents (e.g., installation details, layouts, RFI/markups and calculations) are submitted for each unique project. Over the years, engineers have asked many questions related to the design of these systems. In this week’s blog, we will explore Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to Strong-Rod ATS systems used as shearwall overturning restraints (holdowns).
The majority of these components are designed in accordance with the building code and reference standards (e.g., NDS, AISC). A project-specific calculation package is submitted for each job that addresses the evaluation of these elements. Therefore, these elements are not listed in evaluation reports.
Shrinkage compensation devices, on the other hand, are proprietary components which are not addressed by the building code or reference standards. Therefore, they are tested in accordance with ICC-ES acceptance criteria AC316 and are listed in ICC-ES ESR-2320.
What is the material specification of the rods used above concrete?
The specified rod materials are shown in Table 1.
Can threaded rods or couplers be welded to steel beams?
Simpson Strong-Tie generally does not recommend this practice. Of the materials listed in Table 1, ASTM A307 material is the only specification that contains supplementary requirements for welding. When standard strength rod is supplied to the job, it is not guaranteed that this will be the material provided.
ASTM A449 and A193-B7 high-strength rods develop strength and ductility characteristics through controlled quenching and tempering treatments. Quenching is the rapid cooling of metal (usually by water or oil) to increase toughness and strength. This process often increases brittleness. Tempering is a controlled reheating of the metal which increases ductility after the quenching process. Precise timing in the application of temperature during the tempering process is critical to achieving a material with well-balanced mechanical properties. It is unlikely that field welding will satisfy the requirements of quenching and tempering.
Coupler nuts are generally fabricated from material exhibiting characteristics similar to high-strength rods. Thus, it is not recommended to weld coupler nuts to steel beams due to the potential for embrittlement.
Simpson Strong-Tie specifies a weldable cage which is fabricated from ASTM A36 material for such applications.
How do you calculate the Maximum ASD Tension Capacity provided in the job summary?
Simpson Strong-Tie provides a comprehensive design package for continuous rod systems used as holdowns for multi-story stacked shearwalls. The individual run calculations, as shown in Figure 1, provide the Maximum Tension Capacity, which correlates to the maximum force the system can deliver. Plan check often requests justification on how these values are derived at each level. These values are calculated, and the process explained below may be used on any Simpson Strong-Tie ATS Job Summary as justification.
The maximum tension capacity published within the Job Summary and the Installation Details is derived using the following procedure:
Step 1: Evaluate the top-most level. Compare the published capacities of the rod in tension, plate in bearing and the take-up device. The lowest of these three will govern and becomes the Maximum Tension Capacity for this level.
Step 2: Evaluate the next level down. (a) Sum the Maximum Tension Capacity from Step 1 and the published capacity of the take-up device from this level. (b) Sum the Maximum Tension Capacity from Step 1 and the published capacity of the plate in bearing from this level. (c) Compare derived values from (a) and (b) to the published capacity of rod in tension. The lowest of these three values will govern and becomes the Maximum Tension Capacity of this level.
Step 3: Repeat Step 2 as necessary until the bottom-most level is reached.
Applying this procedure to the sample run, SW9, will wield the following result:
Step 1: Evaluate capacities published at Level 4
Plate in bearing (PBRTUD5-6A) = 7.06 kipsgoverns
Take-up device (RTUD6) = 20.83 kips
Rod in tension (ATS-R6) = 9.61 kips
The lowest value in Step 1 is the plate in bearing, hence 7.06 kips is the maximum load that can be delivered at Level 4 and is the Maximum Tension Capacity.
Step 2: Evaluate capacities at Level 3
Maximum Tension Capacity from Level 4 = 7.06 kips (See Step 1)
Maximum Tension Capacity from Level 4 + take-up device (ATS-ATUD9-2) = 7.06 + 12.79 = 19.85 kips
Maximum Tension Capacity from Level 4 + plate in bearing (PL9-3×5.5) = 7.06 + 10.03 = 17.09 kips
Rod in tension (ATS-R7) = 13.08 kipsgoverns
The lowest value in Step 2 is the rod in tension, hence 13.08 kips is the maximum load that can be delivered at Level 3 and is the Maximum Tension Capacity.
Step 3: Evaluate capacities at Level 2
Maximum Tension Capacity from Level 3 = 13.08 kips (See Step 2)
Maximum Tension Capacity from Level 3 + take-up device (ATS-ATUD9-2) = 13.08 + 15.56 = 28.64 kips
Maximum Tension Capacity from Level 3 + plate in bearing (PL9-3×5.5) = 13.08 + 10.03 = 23.11 kips
Rod in tension (ATS-R7) = 13.08 kipsgoverns
The lowest value in Step 3 is the rod in tension, hence 13.08 kips is the maximum load that can be delivered at Level 2 and is the Maximum Tension Capacity.
Step 4: Evaluate capacities at Level 1
Maximum Tension Capacity from Level 2 = 13.08 kips (See Step 3)
Maximum Tension Capacity from Level 2 + take-up device (ATS-ATUD14) = 13.08 + 24.39 = 37.47 kips
Maximum Tension Capacity from Level 2 + plate in bearing (PL14-3×8.5) = 13.08 + 13.98 = 27.05 kipsgoverns
Rod in tension (ATS-R11) = 32.30 kips
The lowest value in Step 4 is due to the plate in bearing, hence 27.05 kips is the maximum load that can be delivered at Level 1 and is the Maximum Tension Capacity.
In the System Deflection Summary page(s) of the Job Summary, is the Total System Deflection provided at Allowable or Strength levels?
Immediately following the individual run calculations in each job summary, Simpson Strong-Tie provides a summary of deflection of the rod system similar to what is shown in Figure 2. This breaks down the deformation of all components being considered. In the example below, the rod elongation and deflection of the take-up device are summed to provide the total deflection.
The calculated system deflection is presented at ASD level. See section below for how to use these system deflections for your drift calculation.
What system deflection limit do you typically design to, and what does that include?
Unless otherwise specified on the plans or required by the building jurisdiction, Simpson Strong-Tie will design the continuous rod system to satisfy the deformation limits set forth in ICC-ES Acceptance Criteria (AC316). In some instances, the Designer may need a more restrictive deformation due to project specific conditions (e.g., tight building separations) and will require rod manufacturers to design for a lower deformation. Some jurisdictions (e.g., City of San Diego, City of San Francisco) may also have specific design requirements that continuous rod systems must conform to. The minimum recommended per-floor deformation limit set forth in AC316 is:
PD = ASD demand cumulative tension load (kips) L = length of the rod between restraints – i.e., floor-to-floor (in.) A = net tensile area of the rod (in.2) E = Young’s Modulus of Elasticity (29,000 ksi) ΔR = seating increment of the shrinkage compensation device (as published in ICC-ES evaluation report) ΔA = deflection of the shrinkage compensation device at the allowable load (as published in ICC-ES evaluation report) PA = Allowable capacity (kips)
Should deformation limits be specified in the construction documents?
Simpson Strong-Tie strongly recommends this information be included in the construction documents. Along with the cumulative tension and compression forces, the required deformation limits for the holdown are important to ensure that rod manufacturers are designing the holdown to satisfy the desired shearwall performance.
How do I use the system deformation limit?
The System Deflection is the total deformation of the holdown system from floor to floor (refer to the last two columns in Figure 2). This information represents the total ASD holdown deformation term, Δa, for each level and is to be used in the shearwall drift equation from the Special Design Provisions for Wind and Seismic (2015 SDPWS 4.3-1).
ASCE 12.8.6 requires that shearwall drift be calculated at strength level. Therefore, the information provided within the System Deflection Summary page needs to be converted from ASD to Strength Level. The conversion factors in Table 2 can be used to convert the ASD deformations to strength level. For discussions and methodology in converting bearing plate deformation to strength level, please refer to the WoodWorks Design Example of a Five-Story Wood Frame Structure over Podium Slab found here.
Can rod systems be used in Type III construction?
Yes! 2015 IBC §2303.2.5 requires that Fire Retardant-Treated Wood (FRTW) design values be adjusted based on the type of treatment used on the project. Adjustment factors vary for each FRTW manufacturer; refer to the ICC-ES evaluation report of the specified FRTW manufacturer for the unique adjustment values. Rod manufacturers need to know what treatment is being used so this information can be taken into consideration when designing compression posts and incremental bearing (bearing plates).
What are Simpson Strong-Tie’s guidelines for fire caulking material?
While there are many options for fire-rated caulking, these products can be used in conjunction with the Simpson Strong-Tie ATS system. Below is a list of considerations when selecting and specifying a material for use where the rods penetrate the top and sole plates:
The fire-rated caulking shall not be corrosive to metal when used in contact with ATS components.
Direct contact with shrinkage compensating devices (e.g., TUD, ATUD, RTUD) shall be avoided. Shrinkage compensating devices have moving components and may not function properly with debris interference.
Indirect contact with shrinkage compensating devices shall also be avoided. Shrinkage compensation accumulates up the building and therefore the largest shrinkage occurs at the top of the building. As such, when the building shrinks, remnants of the material may still be stuck to the threads of the rod and may be detrimental to the performance of some shrinkage compensating devices (e.g., an RTUD). It is recommended to detail the installation with shrinkage taken into consideration.
The fire-rated caulking should be pliable to accommodate wood shrinkage and the building moving down during this process.
The performance and the suitability of fire-rated caulking are outside the scope of Simpson Strong-Tie.
Why doesn’t your design include compression post design?
If the Engineer of Record has already specified compression posts to be used with a continuous rod system, Simpson Strong-Tie will not provide these on the holdown installation drawings. This is primarily done to prevent discrepancies between the specification in the contract documents and what is shown on the installation drawings.
What is the maximum spacing between compression posts?
For platform-framed structures, the maximum spacing between compression posts is 9″. The large majority of Simpson Strong-Tie bearing plates will fit within the 9″ spacing requirement, eliminating the need for notching compression posts. In some framing conditions, such as balloon framing or a top chord bearing truss, the maximum spacing will be reduced to 6″. This is due to the limited amount of space between the top of the compression posts transferring uplift (via bearing) into the point of restraint (e.g., bearing plate) at the level above. To ensure this load path is complete, the posts need to be spaced closer.
What is the nailing schedule for the bridge block to the king studs?
Simpson Strong-Tie doesn’t recommend nailing the bridge block to the cripple as the bridge block member will shrink. Locking the bridge block in place may result in a gap forming between the bottom of the bridge block member and the top of the cripple studs, which is not accounted for in the Total System Deflection.
Are there any published documents with design examples of continuous rod systems used in mid-rise construction?
You might wonder what a quote about winning basketball games could possibly have to do with snow loading on trusses. As with basketball, the importance of close teamwork also applies to a project involving metal-plate-connected wood trusses – for the best outcome, the whole team needs to be on the same page. For purposes of this blog post, the team includes the Building Designer, the Truss Designer and the Building Official, and the desired outcome is not a win per se, but rather properly loaded trusses. Snow loading on trusses is one area where things may not always go according to the game plan when everyone isn’t in accord. This post will explain how to avoid some common miscommunications about truss loading.
Like all other design loads that apply to trusses, snow loads are determined by the Building Designer and must be specified in the construction documents for use in the design of the building and the roof trusses. But sometimes the loads that are specified don’t provide enough information to ensure that the design will be correct for the specific circumstances. In the case of designs for snow loads, there needs to be a common understanding among all parties regarding the following:
Which snow load value is to be used as the uniform design load for the snow – a ground snow or a factored ground snow?
If it is a factored snow load, then how is the ground snow to be factored?
What other conditions need to be considered besides uniform load?
For example, say the Building Designer specifies that the trusses are to be designed for a 25 psf roof snow load. At first glance, this may appear to make things easier, since there is no need to convert the ground snow to a roof snow load. So what does the Truss Designer do with this load? There are a few different possibilities:
If unbalanced snow loading isn’t required or specified, the Truss Designer may enter the 25 psf snow load as a top chord live load (TCLL), set the load duration factor to 1.15 for snow, and turn snow loading off completely. Or the 25 psf snow load could be entered as a roof snow load with the unbalanced snow loading option turned off. Provided that no slope reduction factor gets applied to the specified roof snow load, both of these methods result in the same design. However, as discussed in my first blog post on snow loading for trusses, whenever a snow load is run as a roof live load rather than a snow load, it may not be clear to all parties involved what exactly the truss has been designed for, since there will be no notes indicating the snow design criteria on the truss design drawing.
If unbalanced snow loading is required, things get a bit trickier. There are still two scenarios as to how the truss could be designed, but this time, the design results are different:
The truss could be designed based on the assumption that ground snow is being used as the roof design snow load (pg = 25 psf); or
The truss could be designed based on the assumption that the 25 psf roof snow load is a factored ground snow load, in which case a ground snow load is back-calculated using ASCE 7 based on the specified roof snow load (pg > 25 psf)
Therein lies the problem with specifying only a roof snow load. The determination of the drift load that is required for unbalanced snow load cases requires the use of the ground snow load, pg, not the roof snow load. If the ground snow load isn’t specified, then a ground snow load needs to be assumed – and the Truss Designer and the Building Designer may not be on the same page as it relates to this design assumption.
Even when the specification is clear regarding ground snow vs. roof snow load and the applicable snow load reduction factors, there is still the question whether any other conditions need to be considered besides uniform load. This includes not only unbalanced snow loads on standard gable roofs, but also drifting on lower roofs or in valleys, sliding snow, and any other snow-loading and/or snow accumulation considerations. Since trusses are designed as individual planar components, snow-loading conditions that go beyond the simple unbalanced load case on either side of the ridge on gable roof trusses must be detailed by the Building Designer.
As mentioned in a previous blog post, the truss industry’s Load Guide entitled Guide to Good Practice for Specifying & Applying Loads to Structural Building Components provides a tool to help Building Designers, Building Officials, Truss Designers and others more easily understand, define and specify loads for trusses. Similar to the wind-loading section discussed in that previous blog post, the Load Guide has an entire section on snow loading, how specific snow-loading provisions apply to trusses and how trusses are typically designed for snow loading within the truss design software.
With printable worksheets that can be used to define the snow loads and examples of multiple snow- loading conditions on different roof and truss profiles, the Load Guide is an invaluable tool for getting everyone on the same page. That’s what I would call a win!
How do you ensure that your design team is all on the same page regarding the loading of trusses? What are the biggest challenges for designing truss loads in your jurisdiction? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
For many years, builders have struggled with the awkward sole-plate-to-rim-board attachment. They often install a few nails and call it good, resulting in a connection with significantly less capacity than needed. This connection is critical to ensure that seismic and wind loads are adequately transferred to the lateral-force-resisting system. With screws becoming much more common in construction, we saw an opportunity to address this problem.
We offer a variety of structural wood screws that have shank diameters ranging from 0.135″ to 0.244″. They form our Strong-Drive® line of structural fasteners. The Simpson Strong-Tie® Strong-Drive SDWC Truss, SDWH Timber-Hex, SDWS Timber, SDWV Sole-to-Rim and SDS Heavy-Duty Connector structural wood screws as shown in Figure 1 can be used to attach sole plates to a rim board as shown in Figure 2. These screws provide structural integrity in the wall-to-floor connection.
The sole-to-rim connection is considered a dry service location. When the sole plate and the rim are both clean wood (not treated), then any of the screws can be used as long as they meet the design loads. However, if one or both members of the connection are treated with fire retardants or preservatives, then you must use the SDWS Timber screw, SDWH Timber-Hex screw or SDS Heavy-Duty Connector screw. The SDWS, SDWH and SDS screws all have corrosion-resistance ratings in their evaluation reports.
The Strong-Drive SDWV structural wood screw has the smallest diameter among these screws. The SDWV is 4″ long and has a 0.135″- diameter shank, and a large 0.400″-diameter ribbed-head with a deep six-lobe recess to provide clean countersinking. It is designed to be fast driving with very low torque. The Strong-Drive SDWS offers one of the larger diameters. It has a 0.220″-diameter shank and is offered in lengths of 4″, 5″ and 6″. It has a large 0.750″-diameter washer head which provides maximum bearing area. Longer screws allow designers to meet the minimum penetration requirement into a rim board, when the sole plate is a 3x or a double 2x member.
We have tested various combinations of sole plates, floor sheathing, and rim boards. Typical test assemblies were built and tested with two (2) Strong-Drive® screws spaced at either 3″ or 6″. Results were analyzed per ICC-ES AC233, “Acceptance Criteria for Alternate Dowel-type Threaded Fasteners.” The allowable loads listed in Table 1 are based on the average ultimate test load of at least 10 tests, divided by a safety factor of 5.0, and are rated per single fastener. The results of these tests can be found in the engineering letter L-F-SOLRMSCRW16.
The evaluated sole plates include southern pine (SP), Douglas fir-larch (DF), hem-fir (HF), and spruce-pine-fir (SPF) in single 2x, 3x or double 2x configurations. Floor sheathing thicknesses are allowed up to 1 1/8″ thick. Rim boards can be LVL or LSL structural composite lumber or DF, SP, HF or SPF sawn lumber. The load rating also assumes that the floor sheathing is fastened separately and per code.
See strongtie.com for evaluation report information if it is needed.
As a Designer, you can specify any of these Strong-Drive screws that fit your design requirements. Please visit our website and download L-F-SOLRMSCRW16 for more details.
The majority of Simpson Strong-Tie fasteners are used to secure small, solid-sawn lumber and engineered wood members. However, there is a segment in the construction world where large piles are the norm. Pile framing is common in piers along the coast, elevated houses along the beach, and docks and boardwalks.
While the term “pile” is generic, the piles themselves are not generic. They come in both square and round shapes, as well as an array of sizes, and they vary greatly based on region. The most common pile sizes are 8 inches, 10 inches, and 12 inches, square and round, but they can be found in other sizes. The 8-inch and 10-inch round piles are usually supplied in their natural shape, while 12-inch round piles are often shaped to ensure a consistent diameter and straightness. All piles are preservative-treated.
Historically, the attachment of framing to piles has been done with bolts. This is a very labor-intensive method of construction, but for many years there was no viable fastener alternative. Two years ago, however, Simpson Strong-Tie introduced a new screw, the Strong-Drive® SDWH Timber-Hex HDG screw (SDWH27G), specifically designed for pile- framing construction needs. It can be installed without predrilling and is hot-dip galvanized (ASTM A153, Class C) for exterior applications.
Simpson Strong-Tie tested a number of different pile-framing connections that can be made with the SDWH27G screw. This blog post will highlight some of the tested connections. More information can be found in the following three documents on our website:
The flier for the SDWH Timber-Hex HDG screw: F-FSDWHHDG14 found here.
The engineering letter for Square Piles found here.
The engineering letter for Round Piles found here.
The flier provides product information, and the engineering letters include dimensional details for common pile-framing connections that were tested.
Piles are typically notched or coped to receive a horizontal framing member called a “stringer.” The coped shoulder provides bearing for the stringer and serves as a means of transferring gravity load to the pile. The SDWH27G can be used to fasten framing to coped and non-coped round and square piles.
The connections that we tested can be put into four general groups that include both round and square piles:
Two-side framing on coped and non-coped piles
One–side framing on coped and non-coped piles
Corner framing on coped piles
Additionally, the testing program included four different framing materials in several thicknesses and depths:
The total testing program included more than 50 connection conditions that represented pile shape and size, framing material and thickness and framing orientation and details. We assigned allowable uplift and lateral properties to the tested connections using the analysis methods of ICC-ES AC13. Figures 2 and 3 show some of the tested assemblies.
Figures 4 through 9 illustrate some of the connections and details that are presented in the flier and engineering letters.
Some elements of practice are important to the design of pile-framing connections. Some of the basic practices include:
For coped connections, the coped section shall not be more than 50% of the cross-section.
For coped connections, the coped shoulder should be as wide as the framing member(s).
Fastener spacing is critical to the capacity of the connection.
When installing fasteners from two directions, lay out the fasteners so that they do not intersect.
In many cases, pile-framing connections use angled braces for extra lateral support. The SDWH27G can be used in these cases too.
In the flier and engineering letters previously referenced, you will find allowable loads and specific fastener specifications for many combinations of stringer and pile types and sizes.
What have you seen in your area? Let us know – perhaps we can add your conditions to our list.
When our company is considering a new or improved product, we like to start out by talking to our customers first. That’s what we did recently with a connector improvement project for attaching jack rafter hangers in roof framing – and we got lots of feedback!
We heard from installers that they really wanted a hanger that could be easily adjusted in the field for different slopes and skews. We were asked whether we could design a hanger that could be installed after the rafters were already tacked into place to support construction sequencing and retrofit applications. Also, having a hanger that could be installed from one side was a popular time-saving request.
Our Engineering innovation team took all this feedback and closely evaluated our current selection of hangers. After much consideration, the team decided that rather than adapt one of our existing hangers, they would try to come up with an all-new design that would satisfy our customers’ most pressing needs.
After months of designing and testing prototypes in the lab and in field trials, the answer was yes. The result is our new LSSJ field-adjustable jack hanger. It’s an innovative field-slopeable and field-skewable hanger that features a versatile hinged seat. This new design allows it to be adjusted to typical rafter slopes, with a max slope of 12:12 up or down.
What is a jack hanger and why does it provide a better connection than nails alone?
There are two basic types of wood roof construction: framed roof construction (stick framing) as shown above, and truss assembly. The main difference is that stick assembly takes place onsite, while trusses are prefabricated and ready to place. In the United States, the number of truss-built roofs versus stick-frame roofs is about two to one. The LSSJ jack hanger is used for stick-frame construction and provides a connection between the jack rafter to either the hip rafter or the valley rafter as shown below.
Connecting a 2X jack rafter to a hip is hardly new. The hardest thing is making a good compound miter cut – something an experienced framer can figure out (and most engineers marvel at). In many parts of the country, these are simply face-nailed into place. Often there isn’t a lot of engineering that goes into that connection. However, a closer look raises a couple of questions.
Random Nail Placement
Where exactly are those nails going? When there’s no seat support for the rafter, the allowable shear is reduced per the NDS depending on where the lowest nail on the rafter is. This is based on the split that develops at the lowest fastener. The LSSJ provides a partial seat which not only meets the bearing requirement of section R802.6 of the IRC but also delays the type of splitting found in a nailed-only connection.
Consistent Nail Placement
The LSSJ conforms to the bottom of the jack rafter slope and ensures consistent nail placement on both the rafter and the hip. Consistent nail placement promotes consistent performance based on testing (or as consistent as wood gets)! The highest nail on the hip is located near the neutral axis if the hip is one size deeper than the rafter. This assures that not all the load is focused at the bottom of the hip.
A Closer Look at the LSSJ Jack Hanger
Some of our customers may be familiar with our current product, the LSSU, which is used for the same connection. Here’s a closer look at the improvements that the LSSJ offers.
You can see the differences and improvements just by looking at these hangers, installations and load tables. Here’s a different way of showing the advances and benefits of the LSSJ:
One of the greatest improvements is the fact that there are fewer nails to install in the LSSJ, and the loads are very similar if not better.
In addition to the LSSJ, Simpson Strong-Tie offers a full line of connectors for wood-framed sloped roofs, including:
We look forward to hearing from you about our newest innovation. For more information about the LSSJ hanger, please see strongtie.com.