Floor Joists: Eco-Friendly Solutions

Floor Joists: Eco-Friendly Solutions

Home construction practices and procedures had changed drastically over the years. Floor joists once constructed with 2×10’s has been replaced with engineered I-beams and LVLs (Laminated Veneer Lumber) capable of spanning distances without supporting structural members which were often required to carry the load of additional floors. Affordable and lightweight, engineered I-beam floor joists have subsequently replaced the antiquated double or triple 2×12 floor joists, with proven engineered designs that are far superior to old traditional methods. Engineered I-beams provide superior strength, uniformity and level perfection of all completed subfloors, essential for the installation of all interior flooring finishing material, especially hardwood flooring.

Constructed with the visible appearance of an “I”

I-beams consist of a top and bottom rib normally 2×4’s dimensional lumber. Sandwiched between the top and bottom ribs, specially designed OSB, (Oriented Strand Board) completes the simple but extremely load carrying capacity of the I-beam with precision and accuracy. Integrated into the design of the I-beam are pre-designed and placed “knockouts” which allow for the installation of plumbing and electrical artifacts through the I-beams at pre-determined locations, saving time in pre-drilling standard 2×12 floor joists, with a reduction in labor costs.

Capable of spanning lengths of up to 24′ or more without supporting basement floor jacks, engineered I-beam floor joists allow full basement completion without loss of floor space and the “boxing in” of supporting columns when using old 2×12 joist framing methods. Available in widths from 10″ to 16″, and a variety of top and bottom rib specifications, engineered I-beam joists offer versatility in home construction which continues to receive national recognition.

The way of installing a new hardwood floor

When installing a new hardwood floor, nothing is more important than the precision and accuracy of all substrate material, including the joists. Old 2×12 floor joists often have crowns with inconsistent sizes and shapes which produce numerous problems when finishing the interior floors of a newly constructed home or the remodeling of existing structures. New finishing floor materials cannot be installed over old 2×12 floor joists due to imperfections or the “crowning effect”, leaving finished substrate floors unlevel and questionable. I-beam floor joists remain consistent in sizes, with no crowns or imperfections when installed correctly, providing a level surface that is “squeak free”.

When installing a new hardwood floor over newly constructed substrate material, of vital importance is the moisture content of the substrate material. Installing hardwood flooring over substrate material with high moisture content will eventually lead to problems with the finished floor including warping, buckling and seam separation. Professional, experienced floor installers will always check the moisture content of the substrate material as well as moisture content of the hardwood flooring material to be installed, with a specially designed meter which measures moisture content, before installation of the finished flooring.

Typically intermediate floor joists typically have a moisture content of 10-12% while ground floor joists are normally at or near 14% moisture content levels. Floor joists with high moisture content will dissipate moisture at alarming rates under ideal weather conditions and may shrink by 8-15mm resulting in a finished floor with a noticeable “bounce” effect. When possible, floor joists and substrate materials with high moisture content should be allowed to adequately dry by normal means or accelerated with high power ventilation fans, before installation of any or all finished flooring material.

As with any material, hardwood flooring should be brought to the installation site to accumulate to existing conditions for a period not less than one week prior to installation. The accumulation process allows the material to “breathe” becoming accustomed to the environment to which it will be installed. Installing hardwood flooring in high humidity conditions is not recommended and should be postponed until suitable conditions are prevalent.

Resume

With increasing concerns about the present environment and the detrimental effects of using products that add to this growing concern, engineered I-beams are manufactured with materials that are eco-friendly; using renewable resources while preserving and maintaining natural wildlife habitats. With the continued use of engineered floor joists for all new home construction and remodeling of existing homes, together we will continue to provide eco-friendly solutions.