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Joist hangers are a type of hardware device used to anchor floors, ceilings and decks within a building. These hangers are made of steel or aluminum, and are used to connect joists and support beams to the surrounding framing systems. These devices are much stronger than regular nails or screws, and offer increased stability and strength for structural components.
Most joist hangers are designed to wrap around three sides of a wood beam. Nails or screws are inserted into the hanger to connect it to the beam, then a connecting plate on the hanger is fastened to the framing nearby. When the building framing is made from steel rather than wood, the hanger may be welded instead of relying on nails or screws.
These devices can be purchased at most home improvement stores and lumber yards. They comes in many shapes and sizes to fit different beams and framing configurations. Some units have a heavy-duty design to support larger loads or heavier beams. Most joist hangers are U-shaped, which allows them to fit around three sides of a joist. Others may have a T-shaped plate to provide a more secure connection to the wall framing. Some have sloped plates or connecting arms, and others are designed to accommodate double beams in a single hanger.
When choosing joist hangers, it's important to select the right size for the job. Most manufacturers recommend using the largest size hanger that will fit your joists. Hangers should not be cut or modified, and should never be reused for multiple applications. All pre-cut or pre-drilled nails holes in each hanger must be filled with appropriate nails or screws to maintain the integrity of the joist. When choosing hangers for outdoor applications, look for galvanized units to withstand rust and corrosion over time.
Joist hangers offer a number of benefits over nails and screws for fastening joists and beams. They are much more likely to withstand warping and twisting of the wood over time without allowing the assembly to fail. Joist hangers will also last longer than nails or screws, and are capable of supporting much heavier loads for longer periods of time. While these hangers may be more expensive than nails or screws in terms of upfront cost, their extended lifespan may make them the more cost-effective option over time. Joist hangers are also easier and faster to install, and are much more likely to meet local building code requirements, especially when used by novice installers.