How to install a beam using joist hangers

Written by beau keyes
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Joist hangers make constructing a sturdy and dependable floor a simple and speedy process. Cut wood is naturally prone to shrinking, drying out, twisting and warping that may cause more traditionally bound joists to weaken or pull free over time. These metal fabricated connections allow wood beams to slip into place and be anchored with framing nails by almost anyone regardless of construction know-how. When installed properly, they will make the joists stronger than simply nailed-together wood beams.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Beam joists
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Hammer
  • Joist hangers
  • 3 1/2-inch framing nails
  • 2-inch framing nails

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  1. 1

    Determine the number of beam joists needed for the floor. Joists are placed 16 inches apart along the frame. Find the centre of the frame board and note that as the location of the first joist.

  2. 2

    Move out from that centre point toward the edges, marking each 16-inch span. If the last joist will not be exactly the needed 16 inches, find the centre point between the second to the last and the end board and mark the centre of that span.

  3. 3

    Position the joist hanger over the frame board so that the 90-degree tabbed top lies over the board. These help keep the hanger straight on the board while nailing it in.

  4. 4

    Connect the joist hangers to the frame boards using 3 1/2-inch framing nails. Long nails drive in smoothly, and unlike deck screws offer more strength of bond and are less prone to snapping.

  5. 5

    Slip the beam into down into the joist hangers without dropping it into place and bending the frame. Square the beam with the frame, and use shims to tighten the beam into the hanger. Drive 2-inch framing nails through the holes in the hangers and into the beam to secure them together tightly.

Tips and warnings

  • Use the correct joist hanger for the size of beam you are mounting. Don't try to force it into a smaller hanger or overshim into a larger one.
  • Fill all nail holes in the hangers to make sure the beam is properly secured.
  • Don't cut, reshape or in any way alter the hanger to function in a way it was not designed for. This could lead to safety issues.
  • Use eye protection and gloves when working on any large wood construction project.

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