by Stuart Jacobson, S.E., P.E.
Steel I-beams are a practical solution
for beams and headers carrying heavy
loads. Even with the advent of engineered
lumber beams, steel is still a
good choice: It's stronger, lighter, and
typically less expensive than engineered
lumber beams. The main problem
for home builders is how to
integrate the steel into the wood frame.
In many cases, builders will go to great
lengths to attach a steel I-beam to a
wood post using scabbed-on wood
blocking when it would be simpler —
and stronger — to use a steel post and
the kind of steel-to-steel connections
common in commercial construction.
In this article I'll explain the right
and wrong ways to attach steel