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What Are Joist Hangers?

Updated March 23, 2017

Joist hangers are used to securely connect two to three wooden beams on floors, roofs and ceilings. They are connector brackets constructed out of strong metals such as aluminium and galvanised steel. Joist hangers support a structure, making it strong enough to handle the weight of the other building materials. Types of joist hangers depends on where the beams are and what kind of beams are being connected together.

Joist Specs

Joist hangers are made of aluminium and galvanised and stainless steel for strength and durability. Aluminium is a lightweight, yet strong material that works well in homes because of its flexibility. One of the disadvantages to using aluminium joist hangers is that it corrodes quickly in the presence of high concentrations of copper, according to the FineHomebuilding.com. Use copper-free nails. Galvanised and stainless steel hangers work well on outdoor construction projects. Stainless steel nails work best with stainless steel joist hangers. Some construction material companies sell joist hangers designed to resist the effects of saltwater corrosion caused by ocean water.

How Joists Work

Joist hangers have small holes through which to drill nails to fasten the support beams, floor joists, headers and other boards together. Once you pick the size and style of joist needed for your structure, follow construction instructions and get nails that are the right size for your project. Some joist hangers come with speed prongs that temporarily keep materials in place until you get the right kind of nails. According to Home Addition Plus, joist hangers make carpenters' jobs easier and faster. To get the maximum support, put nails in all the holes.

Joist Sizes

Joist hangers are designed to hold beams and building materials of varying sizes. Most hanger packaging states whether or not they work with 2-by-4 or 2-by-6 wooden beams, common sizes used in home interior and deck construction. Architects and contractors working on bridges and multistory homes and office buildings need larger joist hangers strong enough for their projects. Stores like Home Depot or Lowes may not carry large hangers; speciality shops carry materials for massive construction projects.

Speciality Joist Hangers

Joist hangers are not only used to support walls, roofs and floors of a structure; you can now purchase specialised hangers designed for aesthetic purposes. Homeowners with log homes or homes with exposed beams may purchase rustic-looking hangers to match the decor, instead of metal-looking ones. Manufacturers also produce paintable joist hangers that you can decorate to match a room or patio furniture. No matter what kind joists you pick, though, make sure they fit your construction needs.

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About the Author

Based in Tucson, Ariz., Cicely A. Richard has been writing since 1996. Her articles have been published in the “Arizona Daily Star” newspaper and “ForeWord Magazine.” Richard earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and journalism from Louisiana State University. .