Structural Beam Clamps and Connectors: A How-to Installation Guide

As an experienced contractor, you know that structural support beams are essential for providing stability and integrity to commercial and residential buildings. However, securely joining beams together or connecting them to columns and walls requires specialized hardware that can handle the significant loads and forces at work. Structural beam clamps and connectors are designed specifically for these demanding applications, allowing you to create sturdy joints and connections that will last.


In this article, you'll learn about the most common types of structural beam clamps and connectors, including beam clamps, beam hangers, beam saddles, and beam anchors. We'll explore how each component works, key specifications to consider, and provide step-by-step installation instructions. With the proper selection and installation of these purpose-built hardware pieces, you can have confidence in the structural stability and safety of your building project. Read on to discover how structural beam clamps and connectors provide an engineered solution for your beam connection needs.


An Overview of Structural Beam Clamps and Connectors

Structural beam clamps and connectors are essential hardware components used to securely join and support beams in building construction. To properly install these structural beam clamps, it is important to understand the various types and their specific applications.


The most common types of structural beam clamps and connectors include:

  1. Beam clamps: Used to join two beams together at a 90° angle. Beam clamps wrap around the beams and are tightened to hold them in place. They are adjustable to fit different beam sizes and shapes.
  2. Beam brackets: Also used to join two beams at a 90° angle but provide more rigid support than beam clamps. Beam brackets bolt directly to the beams.
  3. Beam hangers: Suspend beams from other overhead beams or structures. They allow beams to be hung in a level manner. Beam hangers require bolting to both the suspended beam and the overhead support beam.
  4. Straps and plates: Used to secure beams to walls or other vertical surfaces. They help stabilize beams during and after construction. Straps and plates are bolted through the beam into the vertical surface.
  5. Beam anchors: Attach beams to concrete slabs or walls. They are embedded directly into the concrete using expansion anchors and bolts to grip the beam.

To install any of these connectors, carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions. In general, you will need to position the beams, place the connectors to join them, drill pilot holes, and bolt the connectors onto the beams. Be sure to check that the beams are level and securely fastened before finishing the installation. With the proper selection and installation of high-quality structural beam clamps and connectors, you can ensure strength, safety, and stability in construction.


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The Different Types of Structural Beam Clamps

When installing structural beam clamps, it is important to select the proper type for your specific needs. There are three main categories of beam clamps:


1. Adjustable Beam Clamps

These provide versatility as they can be secured to beams of varying widths. The clamp grips are adjustable along a center bolt, allowing installation on beams from 6 to 24 inches wide, for example. Adjustable beam clamps are a good general-purpose option for many projects.


2. Fixed-Size Beam Clamps

As the name suggests, these clamps are designed for a specific beam size. They provide a very secure grip but lack the flexibility of adjustable clamps. Fixed beam clamps are best when you know the exact beam size in advance.


3. Beam Clamp with Eye Nut

These clamps include an eye nut, or circular opening, at the end of the clamp arm. The eye nut allows for the attachment of a clevis, turnbuckle, or other hardware. Beam clamps with eye nuts are ideal when you need to securely connect two beams or attach a beam to an external structure.


By understanding the types of beam clamps available, you can choose the most suitable option for your installation needs. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when installing any beam clamps to ensure maximum holding strength and safety. With the proper selection and installation, beam clamps provide an extremely secure method for connecting and bracing beams in construction projects.


Choosing the Right Structural Beam Clamp for Your Project

Determine the Load Requirements

The first step in choosing a structural beam clamp is determining how much weight it needs to support. For heavy-duty industrial applications, you'll want a clamp rated for several tons of weight. For lighter residential or commercial purposes, a clamp rated for 500 to 5,000 lbs should work well. Consider both the weight of the beam itself as well as any additional loads, like machinery, that will be attached.

Choose a Clamp Style

There are three main styles of structural beam clamps:

  1. Beam clamps: Wrap around and connect the sides of two adjacent beams. Best for securing beams at a 90° angle.
  2. Beam hangers: Attach to the bottom of a beam to provide support from below. Often used when installing beams at an angle.
  3. Beam anchors: Bolt through the side of a beam to attach another beam at a 45° or 60° angle. Provide a very secure connection but more difficult to install.

The style you choose will depend on how the beams are oriented and the level of structural support needed. Beam clamps typically provide the most flexibility while beam anchors offer the most strength.

Consider the Clamp Material

Structural beam clamps are available in a range of materials including:

  1. Steel: Strong, durable and economical but can corrode over time if not galvanized or stainless.
  2. Stainless steel: Corrosion-resistant for use in humid or outdoor environments but more expensive.
  3. Aluminum: Lightweight but not well-suited for heavy loads or high-stress connections. Prone to damage under extreme pressure.
  4. Iron: Traditional material but tends to corrode quickly and stains surrounding areas. Not recommended for most applications today.

For most residential and commercial purposes, galvanized or stainless steel beam clamps are a good choice. They provide superior strength and longevity for the price. Aluminum or iron clamps should only be used for very light-duty, temporary connections.

Follow the Manufacturer's Installation Instructions

Once you've selected the appropriate beam clamps for your project, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully during installation. Structural beam clamps must be properly torqued and tightened to ensure safety and code compliance. Take your time and double check all connections before putting the system into use.


Installing Structural Beam Clamps: Safety First

When installing structural beam clamps, safety should be your top priority. These components are securing heavy beams and loads, so proper installation is critical.

Use Protective Equipment

Always wear protective gear like steel-toe boots, work gloves, safety glasses, and a hard hat. The equipment you’re handling can be extremely heavy, and the installation process may require tools that can cause injury if mishandled.

Check Load Ratings

Ensure the clamps you choose have an appropriate weight capacity for your needs. Structural beam clamps are rated to securely hold a maximum load, so choose a clamp rated for at least the total weight of the beam(s) and anything being supported. For heavy commercial loads, you may need specially-rated seismic clamps or connectors.

Inspect Beams

Carefully inspect the beams before installation to ensure they are secure, level, and structurally sound. Installation of beam clamps on unstable or damaged beams could lead to collapse. Check that beam dimensions match the requirements for your chosen clamps as well.

Follow Installation Instructions

Follow the instructions provided for your specific beam clamps closely. In general:

  1. Position the beam clamp around the beam and tighten the bolt to finger-tight.

  2. Check that the clamp is level and evenly distributes weight before fully tightening.

  3. Tighten the clamp bolt to the recommended torque setting using a torque wrench. This secures the clamp in place while avoiding damage to the beam.

  4. Inspect the installation to ensure the clamp is secure and the beam remains level before loading or continuing construction.

Consider Temporary Support

For heavy beams, temporary bracing or support may be required during installation to prevent shifting or collapse. Wooden beams in particular may require bracing on both sides of the beam clamp for support. Remove bracing once installation is complete and load is stabilized.


By following proper safety precautions and installation best practices, beam clamps and connectors can provide secure structural support. However, improper installation could lead to construction failure, injury, or even loss of life. When in doubt, consult an expert.


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Tools Required for Installing Structural Beam Clamps

Safety Equipment

When installing structural beam clamps, safety should be your top priority. You will need:

  1. Safety glasses to protect your eyes from debris and sparks.
  2. Work gloves to protect your hands. Structural beam clamps can have sharp edges and the tools required can cause injury if mishandled.
  3. Steel-toe work boots for foot protection from heavy clamps or tools that could potentially fall.
  4. Ear plugs or noise-canceling headphones to protect from loud noises when drilling or grinding metal.


The tools needed will depend on the specific type of structural beam clamp you choose. However, some essential tools include:


  1. A drill/driver for drilling pilot holes and driving screws. Choose a drill bit specifically meant for drilling into steel.
  2. A grinder for smoothing cut edges or grinding off excess weld material.
  3. A wrench or socket set for tightening nuts and bolts.
  4. A level to ensure clamps are installed evenly.
  5. A tape measure for measuring and marking where clamps will be installed.
  6. A permanent marker for marking cut lines or pilot hole locations.
  7. A cutting tool like an angle grinder with a cutting disk or reciprocating saw with metal cutting blade for cutting clamps to size.
  8. Welding equipment if you need to weld clamps in place. You will need an arc welder, welding rod, welding mask, and welding gloves.

The specific measurements, cuts, and modifications you make to install the structural beam clamps will depend on the dimensions of your beams and the load requirements. Always follow the instructions provided by the clamp manufacturer to ensure they are installed properly and securely. Installing structural beam clamps incorrectly could lead to structural instability and failure.


Preparing the Structural Support Beams

To properly prepare structural support beams for beam clamp installation, several key steps must be taken.

Clean and Inspect the Beams

First, thoroughly clean the beams to remove any dirt or debris. Inspect the beams for any cracks, dents or signs of water damage before proceeding. Damaged or compromised beams should be replaced for safety.

Measure and Mark the Beam

Use a tape measure to determine the exact placement of the beam clamps on the support beams. Clearly mark the beam with a permanent marker to indicate the proper positioning. Double check your measurements to ensure accuracy.

Attach Temporary Bracing (if needed)

If the structural support beams are not securely installed, temporary bracing such as strongbacks may be required to prevent shifting during the installation process. The bracing should be securely attached to adjacent beams or walls. Remove the bracing once the permanent beam clamps have been installed and tightened.

Position and Secure the Beam Clamps

Place the first beam clamp component over the marked position on the beam. Hand-tighten the bolts to hold it in place. Position the second beam clamp component on the opposite side of the beam and hand-tighten.

Tighten the Bolts

Use a socket wrench or impact driver to firmly tighten the bolts connecting the two beam clamp components. Apply torque in an alternating pattern, tightening bolts on opposite sides of the beam clamp a little at a time until all bolts have reached the recommended torque for your specific beam clamp model.


  1. Double check that all bolts are securely tightened and the beam clamp is fixed firmly in place with no shifting or movement.
  2. Repeat the installation steps for any additional beam clamps needed to properly support the beam.
  3. Once installation is complete, test the stability and security of the beams before proceeding with any additional construction.

Following these steps will help ensure your beam clamps are properly installed for maximum support and safety. Take your time and check your work to guarantee the best possible outcome.


Positioning the Structural Beam Clamps

Once you have selected the appropriate structural beam clamps for your project and secured the support beam in place, you are ready to position and install the clamps.

Determining Clamp Placement

The number and position of clamps you use will depend on the size and weight of the beam, as well as the level of support required. As a general rule of thumb, space clamps no more than 6 to 8 feet apart for most residential and light commercial applications. For heavier structural beams, decrease this spacing to 4 to 6 feet.

Securing the Clamps

  1. Place a clamp over the beam at one of your pre-determined spots. Make sure the clamp completely encircles the beam for maximum surface contact and support.

  2. Hand-tighten the bolt using a wrench or socket to hold the clamp in place. Do not fully tighten yet.

  3. Check that the clamp is level before proceeding. Use a level or plumb bob to verify. Adjust as needed.

  4. Add washers to the bolt for extra stability, if desired. Washers help distribute the pressure from the nut and reduce the chance of crushing the wood.

  5. Tighten the nut in a clockwise direction using a wrench. Apply firm and even pressure.

  6. Repeat the same steps to install the remaining clamps, spacing them as outlined above.

  7. Double check all clamps to ensure they are securely installed before loading or applying weight to the beam. Tighten any loose nuts and double check levels.

  8. Once weight has been applied, re-check clamps after a day or two to make sure no further tightening or adjustments are needed. Retighten and re-level as required.


Following these guidelines will help you properly position and secure structural beam clamps for maximum support and safety. Be sure to also follow any instructions provided by the clamp manufacturer regarding torque requirements or other specifications. With the right technique and periodic re-checks, these clamps can provide dependable reinforcement for years to come.


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Photo by Joshua Tsu on Unsplash

Securing the Structural Beam Clamps in Place

Once the structural beam clamps have been properly installed around the support beam, it’s time to secure them in place. This is a crucial step to ensure the stability and safety of the beam.

Tightening the Bolts

The bolts on the structural beam clamps must be tightened to the recommended torque specifications using a torque wrench. Tightening the bolts by hand or with a regular wrench can lead to over-tightening and cause damage. Follow the torque specifications found in the instructions for your specific clamps. In general, tighten opposite bolts in an alternating pattern, checking torque with each turn.

Adding Washers

For added security, install washers with the bolts on either side of the beam. The washers help distribute the pressure from the bolts and reduce the chance of denting or scratching the beam. Flat washers are typically sufficient for most applications.

Securing Nuts

Once the bolts have been tightened to the proper torque, the nuts must be secured in place to prevent loosening over time. There are a few options for securing nuts:


  1. Lock washers: Place a lock washer between the nut and the clamp or beam. The lock washer has a split ring that prevents the nut from backing off.
  2. Double nuts: Put two nuts on the bolt and tighten them against each other.
  3. Safety wire: For critical applications, the nuts can be wrapped with safety wire as an added insurance. The wire must be installed in a manner that prevents the nuts from loosening.
  4. Tack weld: As a permanent solution, the nuts can be tack welded to the bolts to securely lock them in place. Only perform tack welding if you have proper welding experience and equipment.

Following these best practices for securing structural beam clamps will help ensure they remain properly installed for the lifetime of the structure. Periodically inspect the clamps and check for any signs of loosening or damage to ensure safety.


FAQs: Your Questions on Structural Beam Clamps Answered

Structural beam clamps and connectors are essential for safely and securely joining beams together in construction. However, installing them properly requires careful planning and execution. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about structural beam clamps to ensure safe and effective installation.

What types of clamps are available?

There are many styles of clamps for different beam materials and connection needs:

  1. Steel clamps for connecting steel beams. These include beam clamps, girder clamps, and truss clamps.
  2. Wood clamps for connecting wooden beams. These include timber connectors, joist hangers, and truss plates.
  3. Concrete clamps for anchoring beams to concrete slabs or walls. These include anchor bolts, concrete anchors, and concrete beam clamps.

How do I determine the correct size and quantity of clamps?

You must consider the size and load requirements of the beams being connected to choose properly sized clamps:

  1. For steel or wood beams, choose clamps that are at least 1/2 the depth of the beam. More clamps may be needed for longer spans or heavier loads.
  2. For anchoring to concrete, the clamp size depends on the anchor bolt size, which in turn depends on the load. More clamps are needed for heavier loads.
  3. Clamp spacing should not exceed 4 to 6 feet. Closer spacing, around 2 to 3 feet, may be needed for heavier loads.

What is the proper installation procedure?

Follow these steps:

  1. Plan the layout and make necessary measurements. Mark the locations of the clamps on the beams.

  2. Drill pilot holes in the beams if needed for the clamp bolt sizes.

  3. Install the clamp bases or anchors on one beam.

  4. Raise and position the second beam. Align and connect to the installed clamp bases.

  5. Tighten all nuts and bolts to the recommended torque to securely clamp the beams.

  6. Double check all connections to ensure proper alignment, tightness, and load bearing capability before loading the beams.

How often should clamps be inspected?

All structural beam clamps should be regularly inspected to ensure safety:

  1. Inspect clamps upon installation and re-tighten nuts and bolts as needed.
  2. Perform periodic inspections, at least annually or as required by local building codes. Check for any loosening, damage, corrosion or other issues and address as needed.
  3. Inspect clamps after any major loading changes or events such as an earthquake to verify structural integrity. Tighten, repair or replace damaged clamps immediately.

Following proper sizing, installation, and inspection procedures for your structural beam clamps will help ensure safe and long-lasting beam connections in your construction projects. Let me know if you have any questions.


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Photo by Jason Richard on Unsplash


As you have seen, installing structural beam clamps and connectors is not an overly complicated process but does require careful planning and execution to achieve safe and secure results. By taking the time to evaluate your structural needs, select appropriate hardware, and follow the provided instructions, you can complete this type of project yourself. However, for large or complex installations, it is always best to consult an expert to ensure it is done properly according to all building codes. With the right knowledge and tools in hand, you will have the confidence and capability to provide strong, long-lasting support for your structural beams. The end result will be a solid infrastructure that withstands the test of time.

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