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I've built a loft bed for my 4 year old following the plans posted here:

http://ana-white.com/2012/07/plans/camp-loft-bed-stair-junior-height

I modified the plans slightly to use a ladder instead of stairs, and added diagonal braces in each corner to connect the legs to the side rails to prevent the frame from wobbling. The bed seems to easily handle up to 200 pounds, and everything feels very secure.

My primary question regards the strength of the pockets screws, which are the only joinery method used. Are the 2.5" pocket screws really going to be strong enough in the long run? I used 2 pocket screws on the end of each 2x4, and 6 on the 2x6 pieces. Should I be concerned about these eventually failing?

Photo of the bed frame

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Pocket screws are NEVER adequate for structural support. Something like this bed should be assembled with lags and carriage bolts, or better yet, Simpson brackets. Having said that, the most important joint in this piece is the connection between the bed rails and the posts so you could just use a combination of ship laps and bed bolts at those intersections.enter image description here Glue and screw the ship lap together but don't glue the long rails. This will be strong but allow you to disassemble the frame into manageable pieces. I also think you should consider adding cleats to your ladder rungs to keep them sturdy. Cheers!enter image description here

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    Given that I've already assembled with pocket screws, are there any obvious structural upgrades I could make with lag screws? Maybe the attachment points where the horizontal bed frame support is attached to the legs? – john Sep 2 '14 at 15:33
  • The web-page you linked to says "This bed has NOT been weight tested or guaranteed. If you feel you need extra support - add metal brackets under the 2x6s." – RedGrittyBrick Sep 2 '14 at 15:44
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    See Wood joint strength testing for an interesting destruction-test of the strength of various jointing methods. M&T seems to come out top. – RedGrittyBrick Sep 2 '14 at 15:55
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    I had hoped the joints were at least glued, but after looking at the instructions, it appears the designer specifically tells you not to glue the main structural pieces together. That gets a huge red flag for safety in my book. – Doresoom Sep 2 '14 at 15:55
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    @RedGrittyBrick - re: adding metal brackets under the 2x6s - would a metal corner brace help add some structural integrity? Something like this? Would these be secured with basic wood screws? Or something a bit stronger? – john Sep 2 '14 at 16:15

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