Bracing a House With Steel

Where glass walls eliminate the possibility of shear panel construction, welded connections between steel columns and beams provide the necessary resistance to lateral wind pressure. To simplify the application of wood finishes, the moment frame is clad in nonstructural framing lumber attached with powder-actuated fasteners.

The moment frame begins at the foundation. MDO templates ensure that the holes in the column baseplates match the bolt holes in the concrete.

The baseplates rest on setting nuts, which are used to plumb the column and adjust it to finished elevation.

The top nuts rigidly hold the columns in place. After the complete frame is assembled, the author packs the voids under the plates with fast-setting hydraulic cement.

The drift-punch handle of a rigger’s wrench aligns beams for bolting.

Though bolting alone is sufficient, the author likes to add a couple of tacks to the joints to eliminate all possibility of movement.

At welded perpendicular joints, the beams are coped for a snug fit.

Bolt-on angle clips can support wood framing, as in the case of this LVL stairwell header.

A welded bolt flange stiffens the beam web beneath a second-floor column location and also supports a right-angle beam.

A welded bolt flange stiffens the beam web beneath a second-floor column location and also supports a right-angle beam.

Beveled edges on the tops of the columns expose the full thickness of the tubing wall for an optimal welded bead.

Wood cladding on the underside of the perimeter beam precluded the use of bolting flanges for the columns. Instead, they’re direct-welded.

Where an LVL header meets the steel post, the author welded 3-inch-deep bearing plates to support the beam. Though the LVL adds no structural strength to the frame, it matches the column thickness and provides stiff backing for the finish trim.

Adjustable form braces provide the fine-tuning required to compensate for the jostling that occurs when heavy perimeter beams are set.

The author clamps 2x6 cladding to a column and secures it with powder-actuated pins.

Working with a 68-foot boom, the crew set the first-floor perimeter beams in one long day. Installing the wood cladding while the steel was still at the shop saved plenty of on-site labor.

Because steel parts tend to pull toward the bead during welding, a worker uses an extension handle on the rigger’s wrench to steady a beam while the welder applies a tack.

Web stiffeners at column locations are critical to preventing distortion of the beam flange during welding.

Stainless steel shims help plumb second-floor columns.

Three projecting steel beams support the wood I-joist framing in this 7-foot-deep roof overhang.

A cantilevered shading trellis projects from the western face of the house.

The projects from the western face of the house, attached to the steel posts by welded butt connections.

The projects from the western face of the house, attached to the steel posts by welded butt connections.

Join the Discussion

Please read our Content Guidelines before posting

Close X