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What are Joist Hangers?

Joist hangers are metal brackets designed to anchor floor or ceiling joists securely to beams, enhancing structural integrity. They ensure a sturdy, lasting connection, critical in construction for safety and durability. By properly distributing weight, they prevent potential warping or collapse. Intrigued by how these small components make a big impact in building? Let's examine their role further.
B. Turner
B. Turner

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.

Joist hangers connect joists and support beams to the surrounding framing system.
Joist hangers connect joists and support beams to the surrounding framing system.

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.

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Discussion Comments


My father is very old school, and he went through the roof when we told him we were using joist hangers on our new floor.

As it often happens, we had decided to replace our carpet with hardwood only to find lots of trouble when we got the carpet up.

The subfloor was in really bad shape, so we figured we’d go ahead and replace it before we put down the hardwood.

After all, part of hardwood’s appeal is its durability.

Regardless, my daddy informed us that joist hangers were nothing but trouble. He said that they served no purpose other than to get us to spend more money on unnecessary goods.

Does anyone have any idea whether or not this is true? I pretty well took for granted that you needed them since the hardware store sold them. But, if I can get off cheaper I sure would love to.


We had to tear out our old bathroom floor and put in a new one because we had bought an old house in desperate need of renovation. You could literally see the basement below through three places in the floor.

Regardless, it was an older home (obviously), and did not have joist hangers in use. We decided to use them, although you certainly don’t have to.

We found a few really good things about them. First of all, you didn’t have to worry about splitting your joist while you were hammering or screwing in your fasteners. You simply attached the hanger to the beam, and then once secured on both sides, drop the joist down into it.

I suppose you could also attach the joist to the hanger before, if you wanted to as well. I guess whatever is easiest for you is the best way to go.

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    • Joist hangers connect joists and support beams to the surrounding framing system.
      By: mtmmarek
      Joist hangers connect joists and support beams to the surrounding framing system.