What is Structural Hardware?

Structural hardware are the large substantial pieces that are used to build projects such as decks, pergolas, pavilions, arbors, and more. Often crafted from thick galvanized steel, structural equipment includes connectors, brackets, and post bases that attach joists, beams, posts, and rafters securely together for a long-lasting construction.

With its incredible strength, structural hardware components can withstand larger weight loads and shear strength levels above than building industry standards. Structural Hardware pieces include thick, steel timber screws and bolts for a tight hold on wood-to-wood attachments allowing for nearly any lumber size.

Virtually able to be used on any wood construction project, structural hardware is not only stronger and more powerful than regular deck or construction equipment. It's also designed to be more ornate and decorative to create a more beautiful DIY pergola build or backyard pavilion than ever before.

Here is a breakdown of the what the different kinds of structural hardware are, what the differences between them are, and how they're used. This way you can start planning, shop once, and get building.

What the Kinds of Structural Hardware Are

Learn what joist hangers, post base kits, beam hangers and more are so you can build the backyard structure of your dreams

Joist Hangers

Used to hold and attach your lumber joists in place against your structure's beams. Joists are typically sized 2x6 in, 2x8 in, or 2x10 in depending upon the size and design of your backyard pergola, pavilion or deck. Joist hangers are usually three-sided components which wrap around the bottom, left, and right sides of the roof joist.

Available in either a flush or tab installation design, Joist Hangers are fastened to the ceiling joists and beams with tough OZCO Timber Screws or Simpson Strong-Tie Connector Screws.

Beam Hangers

Similar to joist hangers in that they are used to fasten together joists, beams, and rafters in construction projects. Attached at a 90° angle, beam hangers are installed by structural fasteners or bolts through the pilot holes in the hanger.

Beam hangers are generally larger than joist hangers to accommodate the larger lumber size of beams for backyard decks or porches. Typical beam sizes include 2x6 in, 2x8 in, 2x10 in, and 2x12 in boards.

Truss Base Fans

Also commonly referred to as Gable Plates provide strong reinforcement for wood beam to wood brace pieces. These connection points generally take place at the front of the pergola or pavilion and also provide a stunning architectural detail to the DIY structure.

Gable Plates are offered in several different angles and designs to accommodate nearly any structure design while adding a decorative piece to the space. Choose from a 3 Point design, T-Strap design, an 8:12 angle, a 10:12 angle, or a 12:12 angle to perfect your pavilion, arbor, or pergola. Truss Accents are available to mount on your Truss roof plate and enhance the style of your shade structure.

Post Base Kits

Also referred to as Post Anchors, are a structural component that attaches posts to their foundation. These pieces of hardware can be used to mount wood deck posts to the deck surface, to anchor deck support posts to a concrete footing, or to create support posts for pavilions, pergolas, and arbors.

Post Base Kits are generally offered to fit either 4x4 in or 6x6 in wood post and feature an adjustable range of up to a 1/2 inch. All hardware for attachment of the Post Anchor or Post Base Kit to the wood deck post will often be included with the piece itself.

When mounting a deck post on a wood or composite decking surface, DecksDirect recommends using a standard structural screw such as the GRK RSS. For post installation on concrete, brick or stone, DecksDirect recommends using a specialty screw such as the Caliburn XL Concrete Screw. Choose a screw length of 4 inches or longer to properly anchor into the blocking or material below.

Rafter Clips

Also known as 90 Degree Angle Brackets are a highly versatile piece of structural hardware that can be used for essentially any construction project. Ideal for fastening rafter boards perpendicularly to ceiling beams and ridge boards, rafter clips can be used anywhere, vertically or horizontally.

These 90 Degree Brackets feature pre-drilled pilot holes, generally include structural screws for installation, and are the perfect fastening choice for nearly any wood-to-wood connection. High Velocity Rafter Clips are also available for buildings and structures in highly windy climate regions. High Velocity Rafter Clips are hurricane zone tested and are approved for up to 120 mph.

Rafter Seams

Used to create seam connections for long rafter arcs in larger structures such as pergolas, gazebos, and pavilions. Rafter Seams allow the builder to create joints within curved or bowed rafters allowing you to dramatically increase the arc of your entire rafter piece. Build a one-of-a-kind unique arbor or greenhouse design right in your backyard with the innovative profile of Rafter Seams.

Post to Beam Brackets

Create a solid attachment between support posts and ceiling beams in your backyard structure with Post to Beam Connectors. Offered in several different profiles, Post to Beam Brackets can resemble either a straight-sided "S" design or a as a 3-sided post top with uprights for beam attachment.

Post to Beam Couplers are also available for attaching two beams to a single deck or pergola post. Post to Beam Couplers can accommodate both rough cut or smooth cut lumber to allow you to build your dream backyard design with whatever materials you have on hand.

Find out what the kinds of structural hardware are so you can build your own DIY pergola right in your backyard

In different designs, profiles, sizes, and shapes; structural and architectural hardware can do it all. Rugged pieces from top brands like OZCO Building Products and Simpson Strong-Tie allows builders of any level, from DIY to professional contractor, to create the gorgeous backyard structure or deck they need.

Learn more about the basics of deck framing and building in the Deck Framing Guide and learn the specific deck part names in the Glossary of Deck Terms and Lingo.

Browse more deck design and railing style notes to upgrade your backyard space and deck in the DecksDirect Railing Style Guide. The quickest way to learn if your home is more suited for a classic aluminum deck railing or a strong, composite railing line.

The more you know, the better your deck and backyard projects will be! Whether you're looking at a brand new start or a fresh end-of-season deck renovation, give our deck designers a call at 1-888-824-5316 or send us an email at hello@decksdirect.com. Our deck experts will help you get the information, products, and tools you need for a gorgeous deck that you created and designed!