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Old 08-16-2012, 09:36 AM   #1
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I beams vs joists


Im currently planning to build a 24x32' building with a second floor. Can I use I-joists instead an lvl to support the floor? I would like to avoid any posts in the first floor space and have more head room also. Do the I joists rest on the cap plates of the bearing walls? Also, how deep would those joists have to be to span 24'? If anyone has some thoughts on this, it would greatly help our newbie builders.

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Old 08-16-2012, 09:52 AM   #2
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I beams vs joists


I highly doubt anyone here is going to take the responablity of engineering a building that they have seen and have never been on site to look over the plans.

May want to contact the company that makes the engineered floor joist, there going to know the questions to ask to come up with a safe way to do it.
Even there web site will have a lot of info on sizing spans.
Your also going to need to buy there rim joist to tie it all in.

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Old 08-16-2012, 10:15 AM   #3
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I beams vs joists


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
I highly doubt anyone here is going to take the responablity of engineering a building that they have seen and have never been on site to look over the plans.

May want to contact the company that makes the engineered floor joist, there going to know the questions to ask to come up with a safe way to do it.
Even there web site will have a lot of info on sizing spans.
Your also going to need to buy there rim joist to tie it all in.

there will also be special joist hangers needed around the stairway opening. Some type of i joist floor plan kit will be in order..
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Old 08-16-2012, 10:27 AM   #4
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I beams vs joists


I'm finishing up a structure now that involved both PSL beams and steel beams.....

Each has advantages....but one of the downsides to using steel....you have to go through extra work to attach stuff to it. Simpson makes special hangers for I-beams....or you can stuff a nailer in the middle...but then you have to weld studs on the I-beam to hold the nailers....etc, etc, etc.

Another is cost....unless you can do the work yourself, it will be more expensive than engineered wood.

I would only use an I-beam where space is an issue....otherwise, look at PSL.....

And yes on the engineer....no building department is going to sign off on plans without a wet-stamped engineered drawing.
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:38 AM   #5
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I beams vs joists


to answer your question ....

in some cases the answer would be yes, but in most it would be no. It depends on the analysis of the loads and the span of the beam. Small spans and lower loads can be accomplished, again only after proper analysis.

I find it faster and cheaper to simply use an LVL beam to support the loads of I-joists because of the additional requirements of trying to use I-joists as a simple beam. You do not simply shove a couple of I-joists together to make it a beam. The additional time required to meet these requirements makes the LVL cheaper in my opinion.

You can go to your local lumber yard and they can have your floor framing system determined and sized. Most can provide a professional engineer's review and certification of the system components, usually at no additional charge (at least in my area).

There is nothing contained in the 2009 International Residential Code for the allowable spans of I-joists or structural composite lumber. This typically means there are no prescriptive requirements contained in the code and use of non-prescriptive solutions require the approval of a professional engineer. If you were using solid sawn lumber there are span tables in the code so you can meet the prescriptive requirements simply by looking up the spans for various dimensional joists.

Hope this helps!
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:00 PM   #6
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I do plan to have a mechanical engineer look at the plans- in order to build safely and staying within a budget I was hoping to use the best joists possible without losing too much height. Plus we,re planning on a gambrel roof with trusses that will also provide headroom. If I need to use a psl I think I could work it out. Thank you for all suggestions
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:02 PM   #7
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When the OP said I-joists...I assumed he meant steel I-beam....

I have got to read those posts better........
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Furn56 View Post
I do plan to have a mechanical engineer look at the plans- in order to build safely and staying within a budget I was hoping to use the best joists possible without losing too much height. Plus we,re planning on a gambrel roof with trusses that will also provide headroom. If I need to use a psl I think I could work it out. Thank you for all suggestions
if you are planning on trusses, why not ask about an attic room truss that will provide the floor as well as the roof?
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:48 PM   #9
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PSL and LVL have the same basic properties, the difference is LVL can come into plies (typically 1-1/2 to 1-3/4) which make lifting them into place easier than a single large beam, just a thought ....
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:19 PM   #10
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I beams vs joists


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Originally Posted by Furn56 View Post
I do plan to have a mechanical engineer look at the plans- in order to build safely and staying within a budget I was hoping to use the best joists possible without losing too much height. Plus we,re planning on a gambrel roof with trusses that will also provide headroom. If I need to use a psl I think I could work it out. Thank you for all suggestions
Try a STRUCTURAL engineer, unless you are talking about specing the heat/ac situation.
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Old 08-17-2012, 06:51 PM   #11
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I beams vs joists


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Originally Posted by Furn56 View Post
Im currently planning to build a 24x32' building with a second floor. Can I use I-joists instead an lvl to support the floor? I would like to avoid any posts in the first floor space and have more head room also. Do the I joists rest on the cap plates of the bearing walls? Also, how deep would those joists have to be to span 24'? If anyone has some thoughts on this, it would greatly help our newbie builders.
I've framed many 24' wide garages with rooms above them clear spanning with 24' 3-1/2" x 14" I-joists. No problems at all. All of these are sized by the architects with drawings, permits and inspections. You have options depending on what types of rooms you will be putting up there. Ask and you will get your answers.
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Old 08-17-2012, 07:02 PM   #12
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There are 3 or 4 suppliers of I joists in New England and all have engineers that will take your plan from the lumber yard and do the calculations, sometimes free, or usually $100.00 or less depending on complexity.

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