The post and beam method of building uses a strong skeletal frame so distance between members are greater. This method of construction is used for decks and steel building construction. A steel beam and post is connected differently than a wood beam and post. The connection methods used to attach the post to the beam can also be different for each type of construction.
The most common wood post and beam connection method is nailing the two members together. This connection method uses long galvanised steel spikes to secure the beam to the post. The disadvantage of this type of connection method is that the nails begin to pull out from the beam and post over time. The expansion and contracting of the wood post and beam loosens the nails causing the structure to separate. This weakens the strength of the connection and causes movement in the roof.
Post-to-beam connectors are another method of connecting wood posts to the beam. These connectors are made of steel or aluminium and mount to the post by the use of nails or screws. The beam is slid down into the mouth of the connector and secured to the connection device. The connectors are "U" shaped with an opening on the top so the beam can slide into the bracket connector. These post-to-beam connectors are found at any home building centre.
One connection method for connecting steel posts and beams utilises welding techniques to secure the steel beam to the steel post. This is a commonly used when constructing steel buildings and provides strength to the joint where the beam connects to the post. The disadvantage of this type of connection method is when disassembling a steel building the connections are difficult to take apart. Cutting the joint or connection is the only way to disconnect the beam from the post.
Bolting is a common connection method used for both wood and steel beams and posts. A hole is drilled through the beam and post where they are going to connect. A bolt is slid through the hole and a nut is placed on the end and tightened down to secure the post to the beam. A bracket is sometimes used to connect a steel post to a beam. This bracket is made from angle iron and is primarily used to connect steel 'I" beams and posts.
Notching is another post and beam connection method, but is not as common as the other methods. This method can be used for both steel and wood posts and beams. A notch is cut into which the beam sits and is then secured by nails, welding or bolting the post and beam together. This connection method is one of the strongest used to to secure or attach a post to a beam.