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Floor Joist Bracing

Floor Joist Bracing Prevents Floor Squeaks and Reduces Floor Deflection

By Mark J. Donovan

In order to stiffen up a floor and prevent floor joists from flexing and twisting when put under heavy load floor joist bracing is employed. Floor joist bracing also helps to reduce squeaks and floor deflection.

There are two main types of floor joist bracing employed. Solid blocking and cross bracing (X bracing). Solid blocking provides the most support in preventing floor joists from flexing, however they can become impediments for running electrical wire and plumbing pipes between floor joist bays. 


Cross bracing, on the other hand allows electrical wire and plumbing pipes to be easily snaked through floor joist bays, however it does not provide quite the same level of rigidity.

Solid floor joist bracing should be installed where floor joists overlap over a center beam, and are normally installed every 8 feet between floor joists that are equal to or taller than 2x10s. Typically you will find solid floor joist bracing or cross joist bracing centered over the length of the floor joists in most homes.


New Home Construction Checklist and Bid Sheets

Building codes vary so make sure you check with your local building inspector to ensure proper floor joist bracing.

Cross joist bracing is usually constructed out of 1x4 lumber however metal cross bracing ties are also commonly used. It is important when installing 1x4 cross bracing to not split the ends when nailing them to the floor joists, as this will weaken the bracing.


Floor joist bracing should also be installed prior to installing the floor sheathing. This will help to ensure proper and consistent spacing between floor joists which will help during the floor sheathing installation.

If you are using treated lumber keep in mind that ACQ treated lumber is highly corrosive to metal hardware and fasteners. Consequently make sure you use stainless steel, or ACQ corrosive resistant nails or fasteners.


Likewise, if you are using metal cross bracing make sure that that they are coated in an ACQ corrosive resistant material.

Plumbers and electricians occasionally knock out cross bracing pieces when running wires and pipes and neglect to reinstall them when finished with their work. Make sure you go back and reinstall them after they have completed their work, or better yet ask them to reinstall them.

Floor joist bracing like these metal cross braces help to prevent the floor joists from flexing under heavy load.

Photo by Mark Donovan


For a comprehensive new home construction checklist, see my New Home Construction Bid Sheet. The New Home Construction Bid Sheet provides a request for quote checklist section that you can provide to prospective building contractors. It also includes a comprehensive new home construction cost breakdown table, in Microsoft Excel format, that allows the contractor to include his projected new home construction costs for every phase of the project.


How to Finance your New Home Construction Project -  can help provide funds for your new home improvement project if financing is required.


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