Steel Tie Rods

Timber Construction

Steel tie rods solve the age old problem of roof construction; they hold the walls from bending out as the roof is loaded with wind or snow. In age old timber frame buildings, like the gothic cathedrals of the middle ages, enormous stone buttresses stabilized the walls – allowing for graceful arched beams to create a beautiful timber ceiling.

The buttresses eliminated the need for a bottom chord on a timber truss, which gave the truss a great open feeling. Today, many people want that great open look inside their homes and churches, but don’t want to go to the expense of building buttresses. A steel tie rod is the solution. It acts as the bottom chord of the truss and give a very open and light feeling.

Give us a call at 802-886-1917 or e-mail to learn how we can help with your post and beam project. Scroll down to learn more about timber framing and post and beam construction.

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Steel Tension Rod Connection

Steel tension rods can carry in excess of 35,000 pounds of tension in large timber trusses. That load needs to be transferred from the rod to the timber truss. The detail on the left shows ones solution. A boot is attached to the timber tie with bolts and shear plates transferring the load. To keep the end of the boot from bending a short 3x3 HSS (hollow steel section) is welded on for reinforcing and routed into the timber tie.

Timber Truss with Steel Tie Rod

The steel rod completes the bottom chord of this graceful timber truss. The tension loads are transferred to the timber with steel plates and bolts at the ends of the rod.

Hidden Steel Rod

There are often great tension loads within the members of a timber truss. By concealing a steel rod, those loads can be resolved.

Hammer Beam Truss with Hidden Steel Tension Rods


Steel Tension Plates

When a timber bottom chord needs to be split, like when a truss spans more than 40', steel side plates can be used to transfer the tension from one member to the other. In this joint, 4" shear plate connectors are also used to give the bolts greater strength.

Timber and Steel Tension Ring

This joint was used in a beautiful 60' Octagon Chapel. It allows for a great vertical space while holding the chapel's roof together.

Hidden Steel Tension Plate for Timber

Log Column with Steel Tension Rods


In order to gain an interactive 3D view of some of these joints and connections, download the required specialized applications below. Then click on the icons listed to view the interactive PDF.

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Vermont Timber Works