To understand lags—which are traditionally referred to as bolts—you’ll also have to know about their counterparts. Ledgers are boards and structures, and the lags are assigned to fix pieces of them together during construction. Spacing is critical when measuring how far apart lag bolts should be when making anything, as it could compromise the structure if not done correctly.

Understanding Lag Bolts

Taking the ledger into perspective, the lags or lag bolts you’ll be using should be placed along with the ledger all the way down from end to end in two rows. There should also be hog panel fasteners in between the lag bolts for extra support. Your spacing will be determined by the International Residential Code table (the IRC), which gives all the measurement and spacing codes you’ll need when building homes or large constructions.

Building on Large Scale

When you have larger projects, your spacing will need to be adjusted. For instance, if your deck has a joist span of fifteen feet, then your lag bolts will need to be spaced at least eleven inches apart. The first bolt will need to be no less or more than three inches from the edge of the ledger. The next lag bolt will need to be eleven inches over on the deck below to maintain the pattern throughout the ledger.

Building on a Small Scale

On a standard ledger, there will need to be at least two inches of clearance in between lag bolts on both the top and bottom parts of your ledger. In special circumstances—such as having a twelve-foot board—place your joist bolt at sixteen inches to increase the range. This should give you an idea of close and distant spacing when you’re building to code.

Now that you have a basic understanding of lag bolts and the ledgers they fit into, you can build confidence knowing you built something with a strong structure that’ll last a long time. When spacing your bolts, you should always know how far apart lag bolts should be from top to bottom alongside your ledger. This will ensure all parts are evenly constructed for the greatest strength and endurance.

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