How to Size a T Plate
For homeowners wanting to upgrade the look and value of their home, exposed beams are an attractive option. In order for these beams to have a secure and structurally sound connection, you’ll need one or more wood connectors in addition to nails, screws or bolts. When choosing the right connector size for your projects, it’s critical that you take all relevant factors into account while remaining conscious of aesthetic considerations. In this blog post we break down the basics behind selecting a suitable wood connector size for exposing beam applications.
How do I choose a wood connector size for my exposed beams?
This is one of the most common questions home owners and builders have when trying to incorporate decorative or structural iron beam straps with timbers. On determining what size of a custom iron face plate to add to an existing beam structure that you want additional support or even if the iron brackets are being added for a purely decorative purpose, you should keep in mind that you are simulating a structural beam support. It is best to make the size large enough to appear that it has a true structural value. I have found that the most efficient way to choose a size for a construction tie or decorative beam plate is to cut a template out of paper or cardboard and tape/staple/ or tack it to your beam.
How do I make a template for a T plate?
You will want to cut the template out of paper or cardboard and tape/staple/ or tack it to your beam. I like to start with 2” wide and 8” long or tall. (The measurement is from end to end.) As a rough guide, I would suggest 4 ½” down from the top of the post, then you have to take the width of the beam into consideration as well to find the height of your T plate. Remember that if the bottom arm of the T does not go far enough down on the post it will not appear structural. This can also happen if the strap is not wide enough. Another good tip would be to use black poster board or paint your template black to be able to visualize it better, but don’t worry about cutting the actual design, you are only worried about the basic size.
What size fastener should I use?
For new construction an engineer or an architect will specify the requirements for your application including a minimum thickness, size, and width for the iron face plates. Most importantly they will specify the diameter and length of the fasteners (bolts or lags) used to attach the wood construction tie, which is what determines the structural value of the post beam connection. For instance, a bolt can be rated as a structural grade 8, since it is bolted through the beam with a nut on the other end, whereas a lag has a pull out value which only allows it to be rated as a grade 5 in structural integrity. The larger the diameter and the longer the lag, the more structural the fastener will be, to an extent of course.
When choosing an appropriate wood connector size for your exposed beams, all elements should be taken into consideration. Your available space, the thickness of the beam you’re connecting and the desired aesthetic are all relevant. Consider shopping around for connectors that provide an exceptional connection and add to your room’s decorative appeal. As an authorized supplier of T-plates for connection applications, we have a great selection of sizes to accommodate both thick and thin beams in various sizes with a variety of finishes also available. We hope this blog post proved helpful in your quest to find the right wood connector size for your exposed beams. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions related to wood connectors before making your final decision – we will be more than happy to assist you. Shop our T plates now and find the perfect one to elevate your home today!