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System Description

All buildings and structures must be engineered to withstand loads of varied amounts . The two types of loads that will act on wood frame system are live and dead loads. 


Live Loads - Loads that are temporary and not permanent with the structure. This includes environmental loads:

  • people

  • furniture

  • snow and rain

  • hurricanes and tornadoes

  • earthquakes


Dead Loads - Loads that are permanently part of the structure. This also includes the weight of the structure itself:

  • electrical and HVAC systems

  • windows

  • walls

  • beams and column

  • self weight




Below are the load paths and how they terminate into the ground. Live loads and dead loads, weather and the weight of the roof itself, respectively, originate at the top of the structure. They are then carried down vertically as well as horizontally through the footings and foundation and eventually into the ground.







                                                                                   Complete load transfer diagram


The image below depicts the horizontal loads, vertical loads and diagonal loads through the joists, studs and roof/rafters, respectively.















                                                                             Typical Load transfer path on a wood frame.


The figure below displays how loads are carried through a wood frame system versus structural columns. Wood framing helps aide the loads to be distributed evenly while the steel or concrete columns take heavier loads directly down the columns.










                                                                                                Load on wood frame vs.

                                                                            Load on a structural column (steel or concrete)

Typical Load transfer path on a Wood Frame.jpg
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