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
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
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.
Photo by Mark Donovan
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