The Cross Bridging of Floor Joists Helps to Create a Stronger and Stiffer Floor
By Mark J. Donovan
|Cross bracing floor joists, or cross bridging, is commonly done for stiffening up floors. Cross bracing helps to transfer heavy loads between adjacent floor joists so that vertical deflection and twisting of them is minimized. Cross bracing floor joists also helps to prevent squeaky floors. However, it is typically the result of an improperly installed subfloor, rather than the lack of cross bracing the floor joists, that is the main cause of squeaky floors.
In older homes cross bracing of floor joists was typically done by installing 1×3 or 1×4 boards in an X shaped configuration, center span between floor joists.
Today prefabricated metal cross braces are commonly used. Cross bracing floor joists should be done prior to the installation of the subfloor. By doing so, you can make sure that the floor joists maintain proper spacing over their full spans.
|When installing wooden cross braces it is important to take care not to split the ends of the 1×3 or 1x4s. If they are split when nailing them their strength is severely reduced.
If your floor joists or sheathing are constructed out of ACQ treated lumber, then make sure to either use wooden cross braces or metal ones that are sheathed in a protective ACQ corrosive coating material or stainless steel ones.
Electricians and plumbers commonly knock out cross braces when running their wires and pipes along floor joists bays.
Unfortunately more often than not they fail to re-fasten them back to the floor joists after they are done. So make sure to inspect the cross braces after the electricians and plumbers have completed their rough-in work.
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