Tag Archives: joist hanger nails

Simpson Drive Screws

Simpson  SD#9112 Screws

Our clients tend to build great relationships with the Hansen Pole Buildings’ Wizardess of Deliveries…Justine. Due to this, she fields more than a few questions from clients which should be directed to our Technical Support Department. Justine has learned enough, however, so she has the ability to answer a plethora of the questions which come her way.

Here is one from just this morning:

“Good Morning Justine,

 I have a question about building fasteners. I looked at the plans and see they spec a LU24,LU26, LU28, H1 and LSTA12 for the Hangers/ connectors. These would normally take a 10d 1-1/2″ hanger nail. I see that Simpson Strong tie makes a screw #SD9112 that meets the specs for all the connectors that I’ll be using. Does engineering have any issue using these specific screws instead of nails?


For those of you who are unfamiliar with Simpson Drive Screws, you can read more about them here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/01/strong-drive-screws/.

Personally I adore clients like David. They are on the ball about coming up with solutions – which is why Hansen Pole Buildings is what it is today – we listen to clients who offer good ideas founded in fact. We take every even semi-practical solution to heart, doing an analysis as to does it make our buildings better, easier to construct and without insurmountable added costs.

I truly like screws. When I did the framing portion of the remodel of our home near Spokane, Washington, I used screws to assemble everything. In the long run it was faster, allowed for changes without destroying materials and I saved my left thumbnail.



There is no  problem with using Simpson Drive Screws to replace 10d common nails when specified for Simpson connectors  – one should use the 1-1/2″ part 9112 for applications where screwing into 1-1/2″ (single 2x) and 9212 for screwing into 2 members (like hangers into the interior double trusses).
Here is where I get myself into hot water by suggesting Hansen Pole Buildings increase our inventory. My recommendation to Justine (and Eric, the Managing Partner) is we can buy these in bulk from Simpson and then offer them as an option after the sale – or even better program them into the Instant Pricing™ and just include them. It would be a heck of a sales tool, in my humble opinion.

Reading this article and have an opinion? We would love to hear from you….is this a benefit which would be of interest to you on your new post frame building?

Hangers & Toenailing

As the Nail Turns….

Every once in a while I write something which “touches a nerve” for someone.

Here is an, “Ask The Pole Barn Guru” exchange which got an engineer entertained:


And here is the feedback:

“You are very knowledgeable on almost every topic I read, but from one PE to another I am sad to read this post from you.  The toenails that “Novice” is inquiring about are a requirement in numerous hangers from Simpson, they are called double-shear nails.  For you to promote the use of the 1 1/2″ hanger nails amazes me.  The three particular hangers you call out do not need the toenails, but there are several issues with those hangers, if you are using 1 1/2″ nails you have to take a severe penalty to the load values listed, as well as the fact that those hangers do not offer the best solution.  If there is one thing that makes me cringe on projects is improper fasteners, and to see you promoting it amazes me.  I sincerely hope you write a new article on the matter.”

To begin with – let me say I am highly flattered for a PE (Registered Professional Engineer) to assume I am also a PE. My training is in architecture and while I am structurally highly versed in post frame design, I would be remiss if I did not make it perfectly clear to my readers …..(disclaimer time – drum roll)…..

I am not a Registered Design Professional (RDP). Any recommendations I make, are based upon my educational training, as well as over three decades of actual experience in the prefabricated metal connector plated wood truss industry and the post frame industry. My advice has always been – and always will be – to consult with a RDP prior to taking any structural course of action.

While “novice” may have indeed been concerned about double-shear nailing, I am more inclined to believe the nails into the hangers on decks viewed by novice were not.


Engineered hangers are typically selected due to ability to carry the required loads, ease of installation and price.

Using (6)-10d common nails into the header and (4)-10d x 1-1/2” nails into the joist a Simpson® LU26 hanger will carry 700# of floor load, 795# of roof at a 15% increase for Duration of Load, or 565# of uplift. All of these values are for use with DF-L (Douglas-Fir/Larch) lumber.

A double-shear alternative to the LU26 would be the LUS26, with (4) 10d nails into both the header and the joist. The comparative values are 865# / 990# and 1165# respectively.

All of these values are based upon a minimum nail penetration into the side member (the piece of the nail is being driven into) of 12 times the diameter of the nail. In the case of a 10d common (0.148 inch diameter) the nail must extend 1.776 of an inch into the “holding” member. Where a 1-1/2” long 10d common is used, the above values would need to be decreased by multiplying by 0.845. Popular framing lumber species such as SPF have a lower specific gravity and the values much be further reduced by multiplying by 0.86.

Mind numb yet? Just wait…..it gets better!

So, what kind of loads are going to be placed on either of these example joist hangers? Either of them will support either a 2×6 or a 2×8. For a 2×8 #2 DFir, placed on edge as a roof purlin and spanning 12’, spaced every 24”, will support a combined live and dead load of roughly 43.4 psf (pounds per square foot). The reaction at each end of the purlin would be 520.8#. The LU26 above supports 990 X .845 X .86 (for nailing into SPF) or 719.4# using all 10d x 1-1/2” nails.

Either hanger is going to adequately carry the majority of loads placed upon it in typical pole building construction (of course every specific case should always be verified by a RDP).

Simpson HangerEase of installation….according to Simpson Strong-Tie, the LU26 is virtually tied with the LUS26 for ease of installation.

Cost….the $64,000 question…..Simpson’s catalog online has a list price of $0.88 for the LU26 and $1.17 for the LU26. For most installations the 33% increase in cost, does not justify the unneeded 24% extra strength.

Back to the original posting which began this brouhaha…..Eric’s self-storage building has a design where roof purlins are hung into the side of a single 2x rafter, this design solution negates the ability to utilize a nail into the rafter of longer than 1-1/2”.

A typical Hansen Pole Building kit package utilizes a two-ply ganged wood truss, which is three inches thick. Our installation instructions for Simpson LU series hangers are to attach them to the double truss with 10d common x 3 inch long nails, therefore getting full value from the length of the fastener.

My summary to the responding PE…..

Due to cost, it is unlikely “Novice” has viewed many installations using Simpson JUS series hangers. I still believe the great majority of any splitting he has seen in deck installations is due to improper nailing, or the particular species of wood as it is being used.

For this particular set of circumstances the “severe” penalty of being able to utilize only 84.5% of the tabulated strength does not jeopardize the safety of the completed structure.

While there may be “better” design solutions, the Simpson LU series hangers are adequate for the loads being imposed, as well as less costly than other alternatives.

I am in total agreement about the use of proper fasteners – there are a plethora of cases of building failures of all types due to inadequate or improper fasteners – from backyard sheds to high rises.

When in doubt (which will be in most situations) consult with an RDP for an adequate design solution or solutions to any sort of structural construction question. And be sure to have them sign and seal any plans or calculations done for you.

P.S. In case the average reader has not deduced, I am a firm believer in sound structural design done by an expert, not just doing it the same way it worked for Uncle Billy Bob’s second cousin’s friend’s neighbor.

Tico and 10d Common Nails

TICO nails

They actually no longer exist.

TICO was the name of a company which manufactured 10 penny, also known as 10d common nails (0.148 inch diameter) which were 1-1/2 inches in length. The company is now defunct, but the name has stuck.

Joist Hanger Nails

These nails are also referred to as “joist hanger nails”, as their original design was for use in joist hangers. This terminology is not necessarily correct, as many joist hanger applications require the use of nails longer in length than 1-1/2”.

The major manufacturers of joist hangers in the United States (Simpson and USP) both provide detailed instructions online, which specify the minimum sizes of fasteners which will be adequate to carry the maximum design loads of any specific hanger.

Do NOT use these nails!

Some fasteners NOT to use include deck screws.  Besides the issue of diameter, they are also made from steel alloy which is fairly brittle – as such, they can snap when loaded in shear. Nails with diameters of less than 0.148 of an inch (such as 6d, 8d or roofing nails) should also not be used.

The 10d common nail diameter (0.148”) is going to be fairly typical as a specification of the hanger manufacturer. As to length, judge the nail length needed, by the thickness of the member the nail is being driven into.

LU  Hanger Applications

As an example, a fairly common part for attaching a dimensional lumber floor joist or roof purlin (2×4, 2×6, 2×8, etc.) to a beam or prefabricated wood truss would be a member of the “LU” series (LU24, LU26, LU28, etc.). When nailing through the holes in the hanger into the carried joist, normally a maximum 1-1/2” long nail can be used.  With longer nails, the nail tip would come out the opposite side of the lumber. This is not necessarily a “ bad” thing, but the tip hanging out there is not doing anything, and becomes a potential danger for hooking important things on it, like fingers!

10d NailsSingle member = 1-1/2” & double members = 10d common nails (3”)

When nailing through the hanger holes into the carrying member, if the member is a single 2x in width, then 1-1/2” long nails will be the limitation. In the event the member is a double 2x, or a thicker beam, then it may well be appropriate, as well as prudent, to go to 10d common nails (0.148 x 3” long).

Tap…Tap…Tap…Nail Guns!


Growing up as the son (and nephew) of six framing contractor brothers, I drove probably a few more nails by hand than the average teenager.

My Dad was big on any technological improvements which allowed for more efficient use of time. As such, we were probably one of the first framing companies to use air nailers. Back in the day, the nail guns were both bulky and heavy, but they were a time saver.

Even with the nail guns we had, joist hangers still had to be nailed by hand. In my case, my left thumb always seemed to develop a bulls-eye when it came to trying to drive those 1-1/2 inch long nails.

One of the few items not supplied in Hansen Pole Buildings kit packages, are nails which would normally be driven by a nail gun. Why not? Too many different choices of nail guns – nails in coils, nails in strips, different angles on the nails.

Last week, we had a client who questioned why it was we did not send nails to be driven in by hand for the joist hangers, as (according to him) there is no nail gun which will shoot them. Well, I am happy to say, there is a gun which drives joist hanger nails.

In most cases joist hangers are being attached to a single ply 1-1/2” thick member. Because of this, the nails to attach the hangers need to be short enough in length, to not protrude out the other side – which would pose a hazard.

Not just any 1-1/2 inch long nail will work either, as sufficient diameter needs to be provided to keep the nail from shearing off when under load. Typically, the equivalent of a 10d common diameter (.148”) nail will adequately carry most loads. In order to prevent rust streaking, in the event of rain, snow or high humidity, it is recommended to use only galvanized fasteners.

Since my teenaged years of thumb smashing, innovators have developed nail guns which should keep people like me from ever having to drive a joist hanger nail again. These metal connector guns are nothing short of amazing. They are slightly different than most traditional nail guns in the way the nails sit prior to the gun being fired. The nail point actually sticks out of the end of the gun so the nail can be “placed” in the hanger hole prior to firing. Basically, put the gun up to the hole, feel it’s inside the hole and pull the trigger! The guns will even sink the nail fully into high strength engineered lumber products like LVLs (Laminated Veneer Lumber) or paralams.

Whether buying a gun, or renting, things to look for – a compact design which will fit between joists which are spaced 12 inches on center; low nail lockout to prevent “dry” fires; safety system to prevent misfires; exposed nail tip design which fires in the hole for faster, more precise nailing; and the ability to drive 1-1/2 inch paper tape collated metal connector nails .148” in diameter.

These nail guns can be used for joist hangers, hurricane clips, steel strapping, rafter tie connections and more. This is a tool which will easily pay for itself in time savings and thumb nails!