Methods to Strengthen a Floor

Written by david ferris
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Methods to Strengthen a Floor
Strengthening the joists is one way to reinforce a floor. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Even sturdily built homes and buildings need rehabilitation and renovation as the years go on. Wear and tear, climate effects and the forces of gravity may cause a floor to sag or weaken. Additionally, "bounce" in a floor, evident when the floor buckles or warps slightly underfoot, suggests structural weakness. Homeowners and contractors can strengthen a floor via a number of methods.

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Sister the Floor Joists

The joists underlying a floor give it support and keep it from caving in. A process known as "sistering" involves reinforcing the joists by fixing additional material to the side of the joist. Sistering can be achieved in several ways: securing a new joist alongside the original joist, attaching supporting lumber on one side or creating a new support on both sides of the joist for extra reinforcement. The new material can be screwed or nailed in place and usually takes the form of engineered lumber, framing lumber, steel or sheet metal.

Attach Wood Shims

A quicker and easier but less reliable way of strengthening a floor involves attaching wood shims to the joists. Wood shims are reinforcing pieces of lumber that can serve as a temporary fix for a weak floor. The method involves inserting the shims between the joists and the floorboards

Install Trusses

Installing trusses, which are triangularly structured units of reinforcement, can effectively prop up a floor in need of strengthening. Trusses are cut according to their fit with existing joists and nailed in accordingly. Cut only the end blocks of the truss, as altering their chords and webs could render them structurally unsound. The truss' diagonal web should point downward after installation.

Install Supporting Clips

Clincher clips, or hurricane clips, are metal brackets that add structural support to a floor or roof. Made of galvanised steel, these clips are nailed or screwed into the intersection of the floor and the wall. More specifically, they link the top plate, wall and joist and the beam-to-post connections for extra floor support.

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