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Floor Joists

What are floor joists in a house?

Floor joists serve as supporting members that are utilized in constructing floors that bridge over an unobstructed area, and are positioned in a parallel and equidistant manner between load-bearing walls and structural beams. These joists connect to vertical members such as support beams and studs, which evenly distribute the weight throughout the framing.

Cracked Floor Joist
Cracked floor joist

Are floor joists load-bearing?

The load-bearing capacity is the key attribute of floor joists. They function as the primary support for upper levels and are responsible for transferring the weight to vertical supports within the foundation. Additionally, when upper levels are present, floor joists offer support to the walls.

Damaged Floor Joist
Damaged floor joist at bearing foundation wall
Cracked Floor Joist
Cracked floor joist
Cracked Floor Joist
Cracked floor joist

Is it OK to cut into floor joists?

The building code has established specific guidelines on where a floor joist can be cut, notched, or cored. These guidelines include limits on the depth and length of notches, and the size of core holes. The extent of these limits vary depending on the size of the floor joist and the vertical and horizontal location of the alteration along the span of the floor joist.

Improperly Notched Floor Joist
Improperly notched floor joist to allow for a plumbing drain pipe
Improperly Cored Floor Joist
Floor joist improperly cored for a gas line installation
Improperly Cored Floor Joist
Floor joist improperly cored for a gas and water line installation

Do floor joists sag over time?

The structural integrity of your floor joists, which function as the support beams that hold up your floor, can be compromised over time due to the presence of moisture, leading to sagging. The cost of repairing a sagging floor will vary depending on the extent of the damage and how accessible your crawl space is.

How much are my floor joists allowed to sag?

The building codes that govern framed floors allow for some amount of sagging, which may seem concerning at first. However, the permissible limit is only 1/360 of the span, which is relatively minor. For example, if you had a 30-foot-long joist, the amount of sag permitted under this code would be just one inch.

Floor Joist Repair
Retrofitted floor joists via method of sistering
Floor Joist Repair - Sistering
Repaired floor joists via method of sistering

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