What’s the minimum penetration for lag screws into wood?

Per the 2015 National Design Specification for Wood Construction (NDS 2015), section 12.1.4.6, the minimum length of lag screw penetration Pmin not including the length of the tapered tip, E, of the lag screw into the main member of single shear connections and the side members of double shear connections shall be 4D where D = the diameter of the lag screw.

Refer to the NDS standard for more information including tables and other factors that affect lag screw strength or contact us for a consultation for your product or project.

 

Historical:

Per the National Design Specification for Wood Construction (NDS) 2012, Section 11.1.4.6 the minimum penetration (not including the length of the tapered tip) of the lag screw into the main member for single shear connections or the side member for double shear connections shall be four times the diameter, Pmin = 4Ø. A 1/2″ lag screw would therefore need roughly 4 * 1/2″ = 2″ penetration.

However, if you have 4Ø, that  does not mean full capacity for the connection because in the tables of LAG SCREWS: Design Values, you will find footnote 3 which states that when the penetration is between 4Ø<=p<8Ø the lateral design loads values (Z) shall be multiplied by p/8Ø (penetration factor) or shall be calculated using the provisions of Section 11.3.

At first look in Section 11.5 Adjustment Factors for Dowel-Type Fasteners in lateral loads, there is no Cd (penetration Depth Factor) applied but the footnote referenced above refers to a specific section in order to calculate it.

 

 

Last Update: March 31, 2021  

April 18, 2016 9288 admin  Codes & Standards, Engineering  
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