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Get Wind of Hurricane Ties

Different types of hurricane ties are shown in detail.

The integrity of a home’s roof and its ability to withstand high winds is only as strong as the weakest link in its construction. Hurricane ties are one of the most commonly specified roof fasteners for new home construction, especially for homes in the coastal regions of the Southeastern United States. Hurricane ties play a critical role in the building’s resistance to both uplifting forces and lateral forces caused by hurricanes and severe storms. Hurricane ties play such a role by providing a path for uplifting and lateral loads to travel from the roof down to the foundation of a building. This allows strong forces to be distributed throughout the entire building’s structure, rather than just the roof. In this post, we dive deeper into hurricane ties, what they are, how they work, and important factors to consider to ensure you have all the information necessary for your project.

What Are Hurricane Ties?

Hurricane ties (also known as hurricane clips or straps, rafter ties, or truss ties) are metal fasteners used in construction that connect the rafters or beams of the roof structure to the wall structure of the building. Often made from stainless or galvanized steel, these specially designed fasteners help buildings resist strong upwards forces that result from hurricanes and severe storms – forces that could lift the roof off a building and cause catastrophic damage. However, hurricane ties are also used in regions with high seismic activity and can provide additional support to a building’s structure during an earthquake. By connecting the rafters to the wall structure, which itself is attached to the foundation, forces are distributed throughout the entire building’s structure rather than just the roof. This enables a far more robust structure capable of withstanding even the strongest storms or earthquakes.

How Do Hurricane Ties Work?

Oftentimes jointed connections are only as strong as the fasteners used to hold components together. During strong winds, many joints and connections at the roof of a structure will be subjected to exceptionally high shear forces. Screws are notoriously weak and break easily when excessively high shear forces are applied. This is due to stress concentrations that develop on the threads when shearing occurs. If you take a cross-section of a screw, the threads form a sawtooth pattern with several sharp corners. Shear stresses concentrate in these sharp corners and inevitably break the screw.

On the other hand, nails are much stronger in shear and preferred in framing due to having a smooth shank body that doesn’t concentrate stresses. Nails are also much more resistant to bending than screws for the same reason. This makes nails ideal for mounting hurricane ties over screws to secure members.

By fixing the roof trusses and the walls together, forces applied to one component will be distributed to the other components – depending on the location and direction of the load. Since wall components are fixed to the foundation of a building, using hurricane ties essentially fixes all components to the foundation.

How to Install Hurricane Ties?

Proper installation of hurricane ties is crucial to successfully protect a building against strong winds and earthquakes. In general, hurricane ties fasten together the angled trusses that form the roof and the horizontal wall plate of the wall structure. The angle and positioning of the trusses in relation to the wall plate, as well as the dimension of the beams, determine the type of hurricane tie that is used. Some hurricane ties join two components (the trusses and wall plate) while others join three (trusses, wall plate, and vertical wall beams). 

In new construction, installation of hurricane ties is straightforward and can be completed before any drywall or shingles go up. However, installing hurricane ties on existing construction is more nuanced. Listed below are the 4 steps to installing hurricane ties on an existing structure:

  1. Examine your Roof –  Climb into the attic and count each angled beam that forms the roof structure. Measure the cross-section dimensions and thicknesses of both the trusses and the horizontal beams to determine which size hurricane ties are needed. Purchase a sufficient amount of ties.
  1. Mark and Position the Hurricane Ties – Place your purchased ties in the locations where they will mate with the trusses and horizontal beams. Mark on the wooden components where nails will be driven through the holes of the hurricane tie. Orient the hurricane tie correctly based on the type of tie you are using. More on this is below. 
  1. Secure the Hurricane Ties to the Structure – Secure the tie to the horizontal beams first, in the locations you marked previously, then to the trusses. Ensure you use nails that are sufficient length, as shorter nails will negatively affect the structural integrity of the beams. A length of at least 2.5” is generally recommended. Additionally, ensure the nails are the same material as the tie. Dissimilar material nails and ties will cause galvanic corrosion in the components and compromise structural integrity. Refer to a galvanic corrosion chart and check the compatibility of your nail and tie if they are dissimilar materials.
  1. Verify your work – Ensure all components are sturdy and not loose. Ascertain that all holes of the tie contain a nail. A single missing nail is enough to compromise a joint.
Two hurricane ties are shown installed in a house under construction.
Hurricane ties are installed in a house under construction.

Important Factors to Consider Before Your Purchase

Purchasing hurricane ties is as easy as finding a tie that exceeds the uplift force rating of a roof’s trusses, right? Wrong. Picking the right hurricane tie requires careful consideration. Picking the wrong tie can be detrimental in the event of a storm. Aside from picking a properly sized tie, pay special attention to these points before your purchase:

Load Requirement

Selecting a hurricane tie that is capable of withstanding a certain uplift force is simply not enough. There are several loads that are applied simultaneously to buildings during a storm. Often a tie’s ability to resist uplift is limited by the lateral forces that are simultaneously applied. Therefore it’s important to consider all loads, not just uplift. You must also factor in dead weight (the weight of the roof itself and associated components) and live weight (the weight of environmental factors such as snow, plant debris, etc.) If a single tie at a connection is not sufficient to handle the applied loads, use multiple ties if possible.

Roof and Wall Framing

While most roofs and walls are square and aligned with one another, some are not. If roofs and walls are indeed square, consider using the same type of hurricane tie, such as an H2 style tie. This will help simplify both load paths and the installation of hurricane ties. If roofs and walls are not aligned, you may be still be able to use multiple H2.5 style ties to simplify installation. Failing that, it may be necessary to use multiple types of hurricane ties.1

Final Thoughts

Hurricane ties are a true lifesaver for both homes and people in coastal regions susceptible to hurricanes and heavy storms. Contact an Albany County Fasteners sales representative today to discuss which hurricane tie is right for your project.


Beveled Washers – What Are They and How Do They Work?

Beveled washers in various materials.

Beveled washers, like flat washers, are a type of hardware used with bolts and other fastening devices. In general, washers are used to help distribute loads from a bolt head across a wider area to reduce potentially concentrated loads from damaging components. Beveled washers are no different. However, beveled washers are used in special cases where two non-parallel surfaces must be joined together. Because of beveled washers, more complex vehicles, buildings, bridges, and products have been made possible. There are a number of factors to consider when picking the right beveled washer for your project. This article will review everything there is to know about beveled washers, from what they are and how they work, to different types and their advantages.

What Are Beveled Washers?

Unlike flat washers which are used for parallel mating surfaces, beveled washers are used for non-parallel surfaces. A beveled washer is a special type of washer that has a sloped side and a flat side. The sloped side can accommodate for different installation angles and allows the two non-parallel faces to be mated and aligned with a stable and tight fit. There are different types of beveled washers that come in both various shapes and sizes and with different surface finishes that can affect the strength of a joint. Therefore, it’s important to pick the right type of beveled washer for your project to ensure a strong, resilient joint.

How Do Beveled Washers Work?

When mating components by an externally threaded fastener and an internally threaded hole, a load called the clamping load, pretension, or bolt preload is developed. As the bolt is turned into the threaded hole, the bolt stretches, tension is created, and a clamping force from the bolt head exerted onto the mated component is developed.  The greater the turning force, or torque, that is applied to the bolt, the greater the clamping force will be. To prevent damage both to the part and to the bolt, a washer is placed underneath the bolt head. In general, washers are used to help distribute this load over a greater area and to help both reduce concentrated loads on the mated part and vibration throughout the system.

Distributing bolt preload with a flat washer is impossible in non-parallel mating surfaces. This is where beveled washers shine. As bolts are tightened on non-parallel surfaces, the angled face of the beveled washer provides a flat surface for the bolt head to rest. Like flat washers, beveled washers increase the surface area of the preload and protect components from damage.

What Materials can Beveled Washers be Made From?

Beveled washers can come in a variety of materials – from metals to rubbers and thermoplastics. For structural and load-bearing applications, beveled washers are commonly made from metals. Oftentimes, these metal beveled washers will also be surface treated so they can be used outdoors and have a high degree of environmental resistance. Some common metals and coatings used for beveled washers are listed below:

  1. Plain iron
  2. Hot-dipped galvanized steel
  3. 304 stainless steel
  4. 316 stainless steel

Plain cast-iron washers are highly susceptible to corrosion. However, they are no less effective than other metal beveled washers at reducing vibration, distributing high loads, and providing movement resistance to the bolt. Hot-dipped galvanized and stainless steel beveled washers can do everything plain cast-iron beveled washers can do, except they can do so in harsh environmental conditions. Be mindful of where beveled washers will be used in your project as cast-iron washers may corrode and compromise the strength of a joint. Additionally, make sure to match the beveled washer material to the bolt material. Reference a galvanic corrosion chart to determine which washer and bolt combination is best to prevent corrosion from occurring in the joint.

While most beveled washers seen are made from metals, beveled washers can also be made from rubbers and thermoplastics. Beveled washers made from these materials are generally not for load-bearing; they are more often used for sealing and mounting of non-parallel surfaces.

When Are Beveled Washers Used?

Non-parallel mating surfaces are where beveled washers are used. Some of the applications of beveled washers are described below:

Structural Beams in Construction

Use in structural beams is one of the areas where beveled washers are most commonly used. Structural beams often have angled flanges and require a beveled washer to fix the beam securely. While cast iron and iron alloy washers are malleable and can accommodate stretching and contraction of bolts during temperature fluctuations, they are vulnerable to the environment and consequently, corrosion. Consider using stainless steel beveled washers or surface-coated washers in environments susceptible to corrosion.

Watch our video below for an example of how beveled washers are used with I-beams.

Kitchen and Bathroom Sink Faucets

Another area where beveled washers are commonly used is kitchen and bathroom sink faucets. Oftentimes, beveled washers are used in faucets where stem travel is worn or its seat in the sink is damaged. In this application, beveled washers help seal water directly from the opening of the seat rather than the edges on the perimeter of the seat. These types of washers are often made from rubbers or thermoplastics rather than metals. Yet, their purpose is the same – to mate two non-parallel surfaces together.

How to Pick the Right Type of Beveled Washer?

When shopping for the right beveled washer, consider the application and environment where the washer will be used. Will it be outside where it is exposed to the elements? Will the beveled washer be subjected to extreme loading conditions? Will a square or a circular beveled washer work better? Asking yourself these questions will get you in the right direction. After design is complete and you know what type of bolts will be used in your system, there are two things you should do to ensure you pick the right type of washer:

  1. Match the washer size (that is, the washer inner diameter) with the bolt size being used.
  2. Match the washer shape with the application
  3. Match the angle of the beveled washer with the application.
  4. Pick a washer with an appropriate surface finish for the intended use environment.

Additionally, consider whether a square or circular beveled washer would be better for your project. Circular type beveled washers can be more aesthetically pleasing, but are more likely to rotate around the bolt and provide a weaker joint. Square type beveled washers make aligning surfaces easier and help distribute loads more evenly. Next, consider the angle needed for the beveled angle. Angles are determined by the thicknesses at the deepest and thinnest points of the washer. Finally, consider a washer with an appropriate surface finish that protects it from the environment and ensures a long-lasting, resilient joint.

Flat Washer vs. Beveled Washer

Flat washers are the most used type of washer used with bolt and screw fasteners. They are used to distribute the preload exerted by the bolt or screw head over the surface of the fastened part. Additionally, flat washers help reduce bolt spin-out due to vibrations. Beveled washers are designed to do everything flat washers can but also are used for mating non-parallel, flat surfaces.

Final Thoughts

With so many different types of washers, it can be hard to determine which is best for your project. Needless to say, if your project requires two non-parallel flat surfaces to be mated, consider using beveled washers. From there, determine which size and what surface finish would be best for your beveled washer to ensure a secure and resilient joint. Contact an Albany County Fasteners sales representative today to discuss which beveled washer is right for your project.

Shop beveled washers

Everything You Should Know About Rivet Nuts

Finding the right fastener for a project requires more thought and deliberation than you would expect. Finding the right fastener can seem impossible, especially when trying to fasten thin or brittle materials together. This is where rivet nuts shine. From use in aerospace and automotive manufacturing to furniture and consumer goods, rivet nuts are an innovative and easy fastening method that’s both revolutionized and simplified how products are assembled. In this article, we dive deeper into rivet nuts and discuss everything there is to know about them – from what they are and how they’re used to different types of rivet nuts and their advantages.

What are Rivet Nuts?

Rivet nuts, alternatively known as RIVNUTs®, were developed by the BF Goodrich Company in the late 1930s. Also called blind rivet nuts or threaded inserts, rivet nuts are internally threaded components that are completely anchored on one side. Originally used to secure deicing boots to aircraft wings, rivet nuts have since been adapted into many different forms and types for various fastening applications. 

Rivet nuts are derived from standard rivets and are paired with standard sized bolts. Rivet nuts can have round, square, splined, or hexagonal bodies. Because it’s considered a blind fastener, rivet nuts are used in applications where only a single side of the workpiece is accessible. This makes rivet nuts one of the most versatile fastening devices that exist.

How do Rivet Nuts Work?

Like a normal rivet, rivet nuts are punched into a workpiece to fasten two or more materials together. The difference between a rivet and a rivet nut is that the rivet nut is only punched into a single piece of material, not all the constituent materials to be joined. Once the rivet nut is installed into one material, the remaining materials to be joined can be fastened with an externally threaded fastener, like a bolt, to the rivet nut. It’s that simple.

The simplicity in how rivet nuts are used to fasten materials together is what makes them so versatile. It can be argued that rivet nuts are easier to use and better at joining materials together than self tapping screws or pressed inserts.

How to Install Rivet Nuts?

To install a rivet nut, have a drill, appropriately sized drill bit, and a rivet nut tool available. Installing rivet nuts is as easy as following the 5 steps below:

  1. Drill a pilot hole with the same diameter as the rivet nut to be used in the workpiece.
  2. Take the rivet nut and thread it until flush onto the mandrel of the rivet nut tool.
  3. Pull the opposite end of the mandrel as far back as allowed and thread the adjuster back to contact it.
  4. Install the rivet nut using the rivet gun by inserting the rivet nut into the drilled pilot hole and squeezing the handles of the tool until it reaches a stop.
  5. Remove the rivet nut tool by unscrewing the mandrel from the rivet nut.

Be careful not to apply too much force on the rivet nut during installation as this may ruin the internal threads of the rivet nut.

When are Rivet Nuts Used?

Rivet nuts can be used to fasten a variety of materials together – including different types of metals, plastics, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. Like a normal rivet, rivet nuts are blind – as in, only one side of the workpiece is visible when installing the rivet nut. While the rivet nut will be permanently fixed to the material it is attached to, materials assembled to the rivet nut via a bolt, pin, or other devices can be removed. 

Because of their light weight, small size, and easy installation, they are often used in applications where weight reduction is critical (i.e. aerospace and automotive). Additionally, rivet nuts can have high shear and tensile strengths, making them ideal for load bearing applications. This makes them also great for use in furniture, certain consumer goods, and electronics. While weight reduction and load-bearing are certainly advantages of using rivet nuts, manufacturers can also benefit from reduced costs due to faster assembly. Rivet nut installation can even be automated through 6-axis robots or other automotive processes.

Different types of Rivet Nuts

Round Rivet Nuts: These nuts are made for circular holes and have a smooth or knurled surface on the shank of the nut. Knurled surfaces provide greater spin-out resistance by gripping the installation material. Round rivet nuts can be made either with open or closed ends. Closed-ended rivet nuts provide a barrier for liquid or particles entering the blind side of the installation material.

Hexagonal Rivet Nuts: Hexagonal (hex) rivet nuts, like round ones, provide great spinout resistance and are used for hexagonal shaped holes. Hexagonal rivet nuts have hexagonal shaped shanks and are usually designed for more load bearing applications.

Slotted Rivet Nuts: Slotted rivet nuts come with slots cut into the shank of the rivet nut body. These often come pre-bulbed for a secure grip and easier installation. Slotted rivet nuts offer an extensive grip range ideal for fastening varying thickness materials.

Floating Rivet Nuts: Floating rivet nuts allow for flexible fastening of workpieces. In these types of nuts, there is room for the internal thread to be positioned at differing angles, allowing for flexible bolt installation.

Rivet Nut Studs: Composed of two pieces, rivet nut studs contain the rivet nut and an externally threaded stud. When the rivet nut is installed, the stud allows conventional fasteners, like standard hex nuts, to be mated onto the threaded stud.

Final Thoughts

While finding the right fastener for your project may be a challenge, it doesn’t have to be. Rivet nuts provide an innovative and flexible fastening method that rivals traditional methods such as the use of bolts or welds. Rivet nuts are easy and cost effective to install, have exceptional tensile and shear strengths, and enable the function of many of the goods and modes of transportation we use every day. Contact an Albany County Fasteners sales representative today to discuss which rivet nut is right for your project.

What Are Belleville Washers?

What is a Belleville Washer?

installed belleville washer with bolt

These cupped spring washers flatten out as pressure is applied to them. They are commonly used to produce exceptionally high loads in small areas. Coned disk washers can absorb and dampen shocks and vibration as well, making them useful in many industries and applications.

The Many Industry Terms of Belleville Washers

BellevilleConed – Disc
ConicalCupped Spring
Spring LockSpring
Conical SpringDisc Spring
Belleville Spring

How Conical Washers Work

The conical spring washer has a cone shape that presses against the underside of the bolt head and into the installation material. This increased tension has a number of benefits including:

  • Vibration Control (Lock Washer)
  • Pre-Load
  • Increased Load
  • Increased Deflection
  • Spacing
  • Dampen/Absorb Shocks

Relevant Definitions

Refers to the axial load placed on a fastener. Pre-load is considered to be 75% of the proof-load.
A test load a fastener MUST be able to hold without causing any compromise in its integrity. Considered the maximum safe load of a fastener.
The degree to which a structural element is displaced under a load.

Due to their resistance to vibrations, conical washers are also considered to be lock washers as they perform a similar function. These disc spring washers are not only useful on their own but can be stacked in several different structures for increased resistance / absorption as well.

Belleville Spring Washer Stacks

Spring washers can be stacked in several structures to increase certain characteristics they produce for optimal performance.

series stack belleville washers

Series Stack

A series stack involves placing the washers top to bottom so that they create a gap in the middle. This can greatly increase the deflection of the stack by adding a spring like effect to the washers. *Note: This stack does not increase the load capacity of the fastener assembly.

parallel stack belleville washers

Parallel Stack

A parallel stack involves placing all of the washers in the same direction. Each added washer increases the load capacity of the stack. *Note: The deflection does not increase based on this stack.

parallel/series stack belleville washers

Parallel/Series Stack

The mixed parallel/series stack involves performing both types of stacks in a single fastener assembly. This increases both the load and deflection and can be arranged to suit almost any situation as needed to comply with the project needs.

Please note that while Belleville spring lock washers are exceptionally versatile and can be stacked in multiple configurations, the washer that rests against the installation material must always have it’s widest portion against the material.

Belleville Washer Uses

Due to Belleville washers being so versatile, they have many different uses and can be found in many different industries.

Spring Washer Uses
Locking (Prevent Fasteners Vibrating Loose) Limit effects of Relaxation
Spring Resolve Thermal Expansion
Spacer Dampen/Absorb Shock
Deter Bolt Yield Extra Tension
Industries That Use Conical Washers
Energy Utility Transmission
Distribution Pump and Valve Manufacturing
Chemical Automotive
Transportation Industrial Automation
And Many More

Can Belleville Washers Be Reused?

Yes, Belleville conical washers can be reused, repeatedly, as long as they are not damaged. Overloading and over-torquing these washers can wear them out over time. As long as they are used properly and checked before reuse, these fasteners can be used again and again to complete projects.

Belleville Washer Installation

Installing Belleville washers is very easy. There are only a few steps to consider:

  1. Determine the project load capacity and deflection.
  2. Decide which Spring Washer Stack will give you the optimal results.
  3. Slide the washers onto a bolt in the optimal stack.
  4. Slide the bolt through the installation material with the stack pressing against the installation material (remember the base washer must be facing down).
  5. Tighten the bolt against the other side of the installation material.
Shop Belleville Conical Washers

How to Measure Material Thickness for Rivet Installation

Determining Rivet Length

Blind rivets, often called POP rivets, serve a simple purpose in the fastening world: to fasten materials together while having access to only one side. That is how they came to be known as “blind rivets” since you’re attaching the rivet blind to whatever may be on the other side of your workpiece. Though efficient, this type of installation can cause problems when selecting a rivet to use.

Why is having access to one side of a material a problem?

The length of a rivet determines its effective grip range, or how much material it can effectively hold together. Having access to both sides of a material allows a user to easily install and gauge the size of the fastener they need. If you don’t have access to the opposite side of the rivet installation material, it can be a real pain to pick the right rivet.

Issues Caused by Only Seeing One Side of an Installation Material

  1. Impossible to use a traditional nut and bolt
  2. Cannot determine material thickness because the blind side material thickness is not known
  3. Often leads to users trying multiple grip lengths until they find one that works
measuring material thickness when only one side is available

Determining Material Thickness

In the event of needing to fasten one material to another with a rivet, it is relatively easy to determine thickness. The problem is determining thickness when you cannot access the back of both materials.

Many users will resort to using a multi-grip rivet at this point, as it serves as a best-case option for going in blind. While there is nothing wrong with multi-grip rivets, they are not always the best answer and can still not cover the thickness needed, or be suitable for every application.

Measuring Material Thickness with Access to Both Sides

Material thickness can be easily measured when you have access to both sides. All you have to do is place the two materials against each other and measure them with a tape measure or caliper, or measure both materials on their own and add them together: Material 1 + Material 2 = Material Thickness. For example, if both materials are 1/4″ thick, then you’ll need a rivet that can 1/2″ thick of material. Once you have the material thickness, you can figure out the grip of rivet you need.

Measuring Material Thickness without Access to Both Sides

What You’ll Need
  • A Drill
  • A Pencil/Marker
  • A Rivet Diameter
  • A Drill Bit
  • 1 Nail with the head smaller than the diameter of the drill bit.
determining rivet length
Determining the Thickness
  1. The first step is to line your materials up and determine where you will be putting a rivet.
  2. Mark that spot and use the drill bit to drill through both materials.
  3. With the hole drilled, take the nail and insert it head side first.
  4. Pull up on the nail and begin pulling it back out. It will catch on the inside material.
  5. Then, take the pencil/marker and mark the exposed portion of the nail where it enters the drilled hole.
  6. Now stop pulling the nail up and remove it from the hole.
  7. Using a tape measure or caliper, measure from under the head of the nail to the mark. That number is your material thickness.


Using the thickness, we can determine the grip that we will need. For example, the hole is 3/16 of an inch in diameter, and the measurement from the nail is 0.30 inches. This means that we would need a 6-6 rivet, which has a 3/16 inch diameter and a 0.251 – 0.375 inch grip range.

A best practice is to choose a rivet with a grip range that your total material thickness falls within, without being at the minimum or maximum of that grip range. Following the example previously, a material thickness of 0.30 inches falls comfortably within the 0.251 – 0.375 inch grip range of our chosen pop rivet. This practice can help ensure tensile and shear strength of the blind rivet and improve its overall longevity.

For an added bonus, check out our Rivet Measuring Guide view rivet diameters and grips to determine the number rivet you need.

How to Measure Material Thickness For Rivet Installation
How to Measure Material Thickness For Rivet Installation Transcript

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Bob: Welcome back to Albany County Fasteners – Fasteners 101. I’m Bob, today we’re going to show you how to measure two pieces of material to receive a rivet. So let’s get started.

So everybody’s asking “how do I measure material, in place, on a jobsite? How do I measure the two pieces of material for a rivet?” We’re gonna demonstrate to you here how to do it.

Let’s just look at this as if it’s in place, and you can’t see the backside, but we’ll show you the backside. All you need is a nail or a screw, a flathead screw. Something that has some type of lip on it that you can grab the backside with. That’s what we’re looking for.

You would put the nail in the hole and you just pull it. Then you take a sharpie or a marker and just pull on it, and then put a mark on you nail. You see, there’s the mark. Take a caliper or tape measure and then you would measure it. This comes out to about 0.478”.

You can then find a rivet within that grip range. This is an 8-8. This grip range is between a quarter inch and a half inch. We needed 0.479″ which falls in that range. This rivet goes between 0.25″ and 0.50”. So I’m gonna slide it in. Take my tool, and I’m going to show you that this will work perfectly.

There you go. It’s installed. The proper size. And that’s how you measure product when you can’t get to the other side.

Thanks for watching.

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