Keep Corrosion in Check

Just as knowing the load capacities of your metal hardware is crucial to the longevity and structural integrity of your building project, so is understanding the potential for corrosion. The likelihood of rust and rot increases when building outdoors in wet environments and other corrosive conditions. Having a solid awareness of the corrosive threats posed by the environment and your building materials will help you to choose the fasteners, connectors and anchors that will best mitigate corrosion risk and keep your project structurally sound for the long haul.

Start by evaluating the exposure levels in your environment. Is it an interior dry- or exterior wet-service job, for example? Generally, outdoor environments are more corrosive to steel because of the elevated moisture levels relative to interior spaces. Projects near the ocean or waterfront are at increased risk for corrosion due to airborne chlorides and salt splash prevalent in marine locales. Salt is also a danger if building materials will be exposed to de-icing salts.
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Prescriptions for a Perfect Pergola

Building a custom pergola, gazebo or patio cover is one of the best ways to enhance an outdoor living space. Beginning your project with a few simple construction tips in mind — and the right hardware on hand — can go a long way toward making your job easier, and to ultimately creating a pergola that’s both structurally sound and stylish. Here are five tips on how to build your perfect pergola or other backyard structure.
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How to Build a DIY Garage Storage Wall System

Is your garage workshop starting to feel a little cluttered? Elisha Albretsen from Pneumatic Addict has teamed up with Simpson Strong-Tie to bring you an easy DIY garage storage wall system.

I love my garage. I love having a space where I can get creative and build things. Organizing said garage is a different matter. Until lately, I’ve had virtually no storage space for my tools. Everything was piled up in boxes or on the floor.

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Triple Feature: Three Companies Join Forces to Enhance Jobsite Safety

Simpson Strong Tie, Bosch Power Tools, and Ergodyne Work Gear team up for the ultimate road trip.

Quick, what do the Atlanta Falcons and Apple Computer have in common? Give up? Well of course they’re both incredibly popular consumer brands, but they’re also both behind some of the biggest U.S. construction projects in recent history. And that’s not all: Apple’s $5 billion mothership headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. and the Falcons’ $1.6 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium were also recent stops on the Bosch Power Tour, a contractor safety and tool demonstration road trip that last year hit close to 200 jobsites across the country.

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DIY: How to Build Suspended Garage Storage Shelves

This Suspended Garage Storage unit was designed and built by Amy from Hertoolbelt. She’s a tractor-driving, tool-loving mom of two. We’re delighted to share her DIY project using the Simpson Strong-Tie® Workbench/Shelving Hardware Kit.

I’m always looking for great storage ideas and solutions, especially in the garage where things tend to pile up. There is a lot of empty space above the garage door, so why not take advantage of it and add suspended garage storage? These shelves are great for seasonal item storage and stuff that you want to keep but do not need that often. Simpson Strong-Tie connectors make these DIY storage shelves easy to build and install. The depth of the shelves are 2-feet deep but can be easily modified for 3-feet deep. Continue reading “DIY: How to Build Suspended Garage Storage Shelves”

5 Ways Simpson Strong-Tie Collaborates with Construction Students

We’re not only focused on building strong structures, we’re focused on building strong relationships with the next generation of architects, engineers, builders and trade professionals who will help shape our communities. With the shortage of skilled laborers and fewer young people joining the trades, we believe it’s important to create and cultivate relationships that have a positive impact on the future of our industry.

To do that, Simpson Strong-Tie has appointed a select group – aptly titled Outreach Coordinators – who are dedicated to creating relationships with young people who are interested in our industry. Here are five ways that Simpson Strong-Tie and this passionate team are helping the next generation of engineering and construction professionals plan their careers.

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A Well-Connected Home Is a Smart Home

In the digital era, we’ve observed technology grow ever “smarter,” as our devices, tools and appliances advance steadily toward greater connectivity, autonomy and responsiveness. Even homes are getting smarter as lighting, temperature and security systems operate with increasing integration and diminishing oversight on our behalf.
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Does Tension Keep Your Deck Up at Night?

Whether you’re building a brand new deck or retrofitting an existing one, concerns about the strength and safety of your deck can be a significant source of tension. Other than the quality of the wood itself, how the wood members of a deck are connected to each other and to the adjacent structure is the most important part of the deck. Connections that don’t meet code requirements or that have become loose, corroded or decayed over time, compromise a deck’s strength and safety.
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5 Steps to a Safer and More Storm-Resistant Home

As we’ve seen with the hurricane seasons of that past decade or so, homes are not always built to be storm resistant. During the 2017 hurricane season, countless homes and buildings were severely damaged or destroyed, leaving thousands of families displaced. It will take years for communities to rebuild and recover from such devastation.

Fortunately, there are solutions that can help protect your home from a hurricane or high-wind event. Building your home to meet or exceed code requirements can have a significant impact on whether your home withstands the next big storm. Many parts of the country follow the International Building Code, which establishes design standards for new home construction. If properly enforced, these codes help strengthen homes and protect them from storm damage.
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Retrofitting Your Home for High Wind — 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

Nearly all parts of the country are subject to high winds. It’s important that your house is designed to withstand a high wind storm. Knowing whether your house is storm ready requires a few simple steps.

One of the first things to consider is where you live. Coastal areas, for example, are more susceptible to powerful winds such as hurricanes. Local building codes for these areas typically require homes to resist much higher wind speeds than inland homes. You’ll want to check with your local building department to learn about the codes that govern your area.

Another indicator of a storm-ready house is when it was built. Older homes may not have been built to resist high winds. In Florida, for example, the building codes became much stricter after Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992 and caused severe damage to thousands of homes. A study showed that Florida homes built after 1996 suffered significantly less damage from Hurricane Charley in 2004 than did homes built before 1996.

In addition, to knowing your location’s climate challenges, the local building codes, and the age of your home, answering these five questions can help inform you in determining whether you need to retrofit your home.

1. Have you inspected your home?

 

Building inspector checking for proper retrofitting.
Building inspector checking for proper retrofitting.

This may seem like an unusual question, but in order to determine if your home should be retrofitted, you need to look at some of the critical areas of your home, such as how your roof, walls and foundation are attached, as well as window and garage door protection. These are key to protecting your home from wind damage. Unless you have experience with home construction, we recommend hiring a qualified, licensed home inspector or structural engineer to perform an inspection and point out for you any areas that needed to be retrofitted. The following (#2–5) are the things they should look for.

2. Is your roof properly secured?

You may have seen homes that have lost their roofs after a storm. The reason? Typically, these roofs were only nailed to the home’s walls instead of being attached with metal connectors. Nails can pull out, especially during a powerful wind storm. If you have an attic that you can access, look at the area where the roof framing meets the wall and see if you have metal connectors attaching your roof to the wall framing. If you don’t have an attic or can’t access that area, see whether you can remove some of your soffit (the underside of your roof overhang) and look at the connection from the outside of your house. If you don’t see any metal hardware, you’ll want to add it. This can help ensure that your roof stays attached during a wind event.

In addition to looking at the inside of your roof, you’ll want to look at the roofing material on the outside of your house. Your roofing material, whether it consists of shingles or tiles, should be properly fastened to the roof decking. You’ll want to make sure shingles are each nailed with six nails if you’re in a high-wind area, and concrete or clay tiles are fastened with screws or fully set in mortar or adhesive. Roofing materials held in place with “pads” of mortar or a couple of nails are less likely to withstand high winds and can become destructive, projectile objects during a storm.

3. Are your windows storm ready?

 

Measuring For Storm Shutters
A carpenter measuring a window for hurricane shutters.

Windows in older homes or in homes outside of coastal areas are not likely to be wind or impact rated and are therefore more susceptible to breakage from wind. There are many windows on the market today that can provide wind protection. First, you want to make sure your windows are rated for the pressure of the wind in your area. There should be a sticker on the window frame with a “DP” (Design Pressure) rating. The higher the DP rating, the more resistant it is to wind. Then you want to ensure your windows are designed to resist objects that may be picked up by the wind and turned into flying projectiles during a storm. Options include the use of impact-resistant windows or hurricane shutters that can be installed when storms are threatening. This applies to any glass in the home, especially sliding glass doors.

 4. Are your garage doors secure?

Because of their size, garage doors — especially two-car garage doors — are more susceptible to wind damage than other exterior doors. Garage doors need to be properly attached to the frame of the house. You’ll want to install additional bracing, heavier-gauge tracking, and other necessary hardware to help keep the doors in place during extreme winds. You may also want to consider replacing your garage door with one specially rated for wind resistance. These doors are designed for high-wind events, keeping the wind out where it belongs. As an alternative to a new door, there are also bracing systems available that can retrofit older doors.

 5. Is your house properly attached to the foundation?

Wind will find the weak link in your house, which is why you want to make sure all the key connections within your home are properly fastened. If you have a crawl space underneath your house or an unfinished basement, you can determine whether you should reinforce your foundation connection. The lower story of your house should be bolted to the foundation. In older homes, this typically is not the case, so when a storm comes through your house can slide or rotate off the foundation. You’ll want to add bolts and connectors if they’re missing, as well as repair any cracks in your foundation.

If you live in a two- or multiple-story house, you’ll also want to ensure your walls are properly connected from floor to floor using metal straps. This, of course, is not the easiest thing to determine — you have to look behind your drywall. However, if you’re tackling a remodel or addition, it’s a good time to check how your floors are connected and to add the appropriate hardware if needed.

Once you’ve determined the areas in your home that need retrofitting, we recommend working with a qualified, licensed contractor to make the upgrades. It’s important that local building code requirements are always followed when tackling a home retrofit project.