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A Quick History of Wind Uplift Rod Systems

Rod tiedown systems have been used by the light-framed wood construction industry to resist wind uplift forces. Yet codes and standards have not provided detailed guidance for design of these systems. Designers, consequently, have been forced to rely entirely on engineering judgment and/or trust a rod manufacturer’s literature or substitution submittals to create this load path. This lack of guidance sometimes led to rod-restraint spacing based on rod tension and bearing plate capacities alone.

This design neglects the wood components of the system and may lead to rods spaced too far apart, compromising the continuous load path, causing building damage and creating life-safety issues.

Wind Uplift
Figure 1 — Excessive Spacing of Rod Restraints to Resist Uplift Forces Causing Top Plate Failure

Industry Guidance

In June 2010, ICC-ES passed and made effective Acceptance Criteria 391 after multiple public hearings that garnered engineer, manufacturer, building official and other third-party input. AC391 established guidelines for the evaluation of either:

  • The steel components making up continuous rod tiedown runs (CRTR) only. If a manufacturer has a CRTR report, the designer or Engineer of Record must take the time to evaluate how the light-framed wood members will transfer forces to the CRTR.
  • The entire continuous rod tiedown system (CRTS), which includes CRTR and the light-framed wood structure used to resist wind uplift. If a manufacturer has a CRTS report, this saves the designer or Engineer of Record time.

These same guidelines in AC391 can be used by project designers themselves to lay out continuous rod tie-down systems to resist wind uplift.

Following the key design considerations, an effective uplift rod system is designed and detailed to:

  • Efficiently transfer wind uplift loads from wood components to steel components of the rod runs
  • Keep wood top plate bending within acceptable limits
  • Control wood top plate rotation
  • Limit steel rod elongation
  • Restrict crushing of wood top plate under bearing plates
  • Address deflection caused by wood shrinkage

From the Roof to the Foundation

Strong-Rod Uplift Restraint System Components
Strong-Rod Uplift Restraint System Components
Connection Location Application Criteria Section AC391 Requirement
A Roof Framing or Truss-to-Top-Plate Restraint
  • Use of continuous rod tiedown runs (CRTR) and continuous rod tiedown systems (CRTS) is limited to resisting roof wind uplift in light-frame wood construction.
  • Specifically excluded from AC391 is the use of CRTR to resist shearwall overturning forces or use in cold-formed steel framing.
B Wood Top Plates


CRTS allowable loads shall be evaluated and be limited by

  • Wood deflection limitations per, or
  • Flexural (bending) stress per, or
  • Shear stress perpendicular to grain per, or
  • Combined axial (chord/drag force) and flexural (bending) stresses per Approved top-plate splice details must be provided for the CRTS to utilize both top plates in bending, otherwise only the capacity of a single top plate may be used. The deflection of the top plates in bending occurring between CRTR is limited to L/240, where L is the length of the top plates between tiedown runs. Additionally, the sum of the rod elongation, top plate crushing under bearing plates, deflection of any take-up devices and the deflection of the top plates between tiedown runs shall not exceed 0.25 inches at the applied (ASD) load.
C Top Plate-to-Stud Rotation Restraint Top-plate torsion (rotation) must be prevented due to offsets between the point of load application, such as hurricane ties at the sides of the top plates and load resistance (rods at the center of the top plate for example). This can be accomplished by providing a positive connection from the top plate to stud on the same side of the wall as the roof framing to wall connection.
D Shrinkage Compensating Device and Bearing Plate 3.1.1,, and
The effects of wood shrinkage on the overall deflection of the CRTS shall be analyzed by a registered design professional, and a method of addressing wood shrinkage in the system shall be provided. If shrinkage compensating devices are used, they shall meet AC316 requirements. See the Simpson Strong-Tie® Wood Shrinkage Calculator for more information. and
Figure 1
Steel bearing plates shall be sized for proper length, width and thickness based on steel cantilever bending action and wood bearing. Deflection from bearing compression (up to 0.04") must be included in overall deflection calculations.
E Steel Threaded Rod


CRTS allowable loads shall be evaluated and be limited by

  • Tiedown run steel component capacities per 3.1.1 Rod elongation is limited to 0.18 inches for total rod length at the applied (ASD) load. Visit strongtie.com/software to access our Rod Elongation Calculator.
F Coupler Nut 1.4.6 and
  • Proof of the positive connection between threaded rod and threaded rod couplers shall be provided, such as Witness Holes™ or other method.
  • Rod couplers must also be tested to prove they can develop at least 100% of the rod’s tensile strength and 125% of the rod’s yield strength.
G Anchorage and
Design of the anchorage is the responsibility of the design professional and must be performed in accordance with the applicable code.