Site-Built Portal Frame Solution
The Strong-Wall Site-Built Portal Frame System from Simpson allows framers to build their own portal frame to code in as little as 9-1⁄4 in. of wall width.
A typical stud wall relies on properly fastened sheathing for lateral resistance to racking. But when walls are skinny, such as on a facade with a garage door or big windows, those skinny walls have to pick up the slack. There’s a broad spectrum of options to deal with this issue, from expensive factory-built shear panels to the affordable but limited approach of following the IRC’s prescriptive Portal Frame with Hold-Downs (PFH) method. Now Simpson Strong-Tie has a solution somewhere in the middle, and with some impressive capabilities.
The Strong-Wall Site-Built Portal Frame System (PFS) is a kit that allows framers to build their own portal frame, similar to the PFH method—but the new Simpson Strong-Tie system can meet code in as little as 9-1⁄4 in. of wall width. The kit includes hold-downs, metal straps, structural screws, and standoff bases to accommodate built-up 2×10 or 2×12 posts. Yes, you read that right—this system is designed to rely on sandwiches of wide dimensional lumber and sheathing spacers or double LVLs as the posts. The headers are made of two plies of either LVL or solid-sawn lumber, with spacers required in some configurations spelled out in the product’s ICC-ES Evaluation Report, ESR-4455. PFS is available in single and double kits, for about $75 and $120 respectively.