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A wall plate is a load-bearing structural member used horizontally and part of a timber framework.
In the UK, the term typically refers to a length of timber bedded on mortar on top of the internal leaf of an external cavity wall. This provides a fixing point for the feet of rafters, and distributes the load exerted by the roof structure down through the walls without creating pressure points where each rafter meets the wall, and also acts to prevent wind uplift.
Generally, wall plates are in lengths of not less than 3m. As the mortar does not bond the wall plate to the wall, steel straps are used to ensure that the roof structure remains secure. These are typically 1.2m long with a cranked end and are fixed to the wall plate at 2m centres. If the strap is not turned into a bed joint, it should be fixed to the wall with at least four screw fixings.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
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