Is framing with screws legal


A friend used trim head screws for ALL of the 2×4 framing (including the outer walls) of his 2400 sq. ft. house. The house uses 8x8s to carry the load; none of the 2×4 framing is load bearing. The inspector did not see a problem with it (but maybe she didn't even see the screws).

Edit- the picture below shows a similar (post and beam) style of building. The original building was a wood/furniture shop (not commercial); it was erected about 20 years ago (±5 years). The old exterior walls were removed (I don't know anything about them); the new walls are 2×4 construction with trim head screws, including the exterior walls. The friend is a maintenance guy… not an engineer.

Is it built to code? Would it be correct to assume that (at least) the outer walls are in danger of windy conditions and earthquakes?

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Best Answer

According to Table R602.3(1) of the International residential code (IRC), you have to use two 16d (3 1/2" x 0.135") fasteners to end nail the top or sole plate to a stud. If the studs were toe nailed to the sole plate, then either three 8d (2 1/2" x 0.133") or two 16d (3 1/2" x 0.135") fasteners would be required.

International Residential Code 2012

Chapter 6 Wall Construction

Section R602 Wood Wall Framing

R602.3 Design and construction. Exterior walls of wood-frame construction shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and Figures R602.3(1) and R602.3(2) or in accordance with AF&PA’s NDS. Components of exterior walls shall be fastened in accordance with Tables R602.3(1) through R602.3(4)...

Table R602.3(1)

If by some chance these screws are equivalent to 16d nails, then they should be acceptable. However, I doubt they're equivalent, and therefore should not be used.

There's no specific fastener schedule for interior nonbearing walls, while interior load-bearing walls are required to be framed the same as exterior walls.

R602.4 Interior load-bearing walls. Interior load-bearing walls shall be constructed, framed and fireblocked as specified for exterior walls.

R602.5 Interior nonbearing walls. Interior nonbearing walls shall be permitted to be constructed with 2 inch by 3 inch (51 mm by 76 mm) studs spaced 24 inches (610 mm) on center or, when not part of a braced wall line, 2 inch by 4 inch (51 mm by 102 mm) flat studs spaced at 16 inches (406 mm) on center. Interior nonbearing walls shall be capped with at least a single top plate. Interior nonbearing walls shall be fireblocked in accordance with Section R602.8.