DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum (
-   Building & Construction (
-   -   Space between joist and beam on deck (

schveiguy 08-04-2009 01:34 PM

Space between joist and beam on deck
Hi all,

I'm building a deck for the first time, and I've come to the point where I'm hanging joists. I'm following the Home Depot book's instructions, and it said to attach the rim joists to the ledger, then attach the header to the rim joists, then install each inner joist using joist hangers. So far so good. One of the recommendations it says is to ensure the joists are flush with the header and the ledger. In this particular part of my deck, the size of the joists is only 5 feet. What is happening is that in order to make the joists flush, they aren't exactly resting on the beam, there is a small space (about 1/8 inch) between the beam and the joist.

One of the further steps is to attach a hurricane tie to the beam and the joist, thereby fixing the joist from moving. So it makes me uneasy that it's not resting on the beam, even though it's such a short distance. It also makes me uneasy that the beam is supporting the joist only through the hurricane ties, and through the header joist attached to the rim joists. So my questions are:

1. Is it more important to have the joist flush with the header, or more important to have the joist resting directly on the beam?
2. Should I even install the hurricane ties where the beam isn't touching?
3. If I need to fix this, how do I do it?
3. Am I worrying too much about something that doesn't matter anyways?

Some fun facts about my deck:

All 2x10 PT lumber
Beams are 2 2x10's tied together, supported by 4x4s every 8 feet
Joists are 16" O.C.
Surface of the deck is only 28 inches off the ground.



Scuba_Dave 08-04-2009 03:29 PM

A picture would help

A header is used over an opening in a doorway/window
Hurricane ties are used to hold rafters down on a roof
So we need more info or a pic to see what you are doing

Green Giant 08-04-2009 03:59 PM

Steve, I think I have a good understanding of what your problem is. By header, you mean the 2 x 10 that runs in front of all the joists and parallel to the house, correct? If your joists are not sitting on top of the beam, what are they sitting on? If its even gap along the whole beam, maybe you can just raise up your beam 1/8 of an inch. The important thing is that the top of the joists are flush with the ledger board and the header joist.

schveiguy 08-04-2009 04:13 PM

Green Giant, yes, that is what I am trying to say by header. I'll post some pictures later, I'm at work and can't do it right now.

The rim joists *are* sitting on the beam, it's the inner joists that are not. The inner joists are held up because the header (or whatever it is called) is holding them up. They are not resting on the beam because I thought it was paramount to make sure the joist tops were flush with the header. Apparently, either I am off slightly on the rim joists, or the header is slightly curved, or the joists are slightly smaller...

If the important thing is that the top is flush, then is it minor that some (not all) of the joists aren't resting on the beam? I've only added 3 joists when I noticed it, so if I should tear it apart, now would probably be the time...

Thanks for your help.

Green Giant 08-04-2009 04:25 PM

How long is the overall beam length? The header piece, does it have a crown in it? if you already installed all the hangers, let the other joists sit in place. This way you can see if you have issues at other joists, or if its just these few. If you have it at others, you should raise the beam and then notch the beam underneath where the joists sit, so it can be flush with the header. I had similar issue as you did and decided to raise the beam, but then that caused other joists to be off. Ultimately, a 1/8" gap shouldn't be a problem if u get install the hurricane ties(i prefer the double ties for inner joists). If you don't have one, a palm nailer is a great investment for the metal connectors and saves alot of times, and headaches from hitting your hand trying to bang in the nails.

schveiguy 08-04-2009 08:30 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Here are pics of my issue. I don't want to raise the beam, since it's level with the bottom of the ledger, that seems like an extreme measure. Are there any other options, or does it just not matter?

The beam is 16' long, the joists are 5' long in this section. I have another section that will be 16x16, I don't anticipate this issue there since the span is so much longer, but maybe I will attach the header last in that case to avoid this issue.

I'm installing the hangers one at a time to try and keep the joists flush with the header/ledger, so only 3 joists are affected.

I can double up the hurricane ties, maybe that's the best option.

lemon714 08-04-2009 08:47 PM

go to lowes and pick up a packof composite shims....

CrpntrFrk 08-04-2009 08:59 PM

With that span there should not be that much crown but your crown on all joists should be up. Now if the problem is that the joists are different widths then I would shim. If they are all the same widths but the crown does not permit them to sit on the beam then my advise would be to complete the project with out nailing the metal connectors. After the project is done the weight will more than likely allow the joists to rest on the beam. Then I would nail the connectors. Yes it is a pain.

schveiguy 08-04-2009 09:13 PM

Yes, I made sure I marked the crown before I cut the joists (they were from 16' pieces)

The three joists that are not on the beam are from one piece, maybe it's a shorter width I'll have to check tomorrow. Yes, it might be a pain to do it right, but I'd rather do it right :)

Does this kind of thing happen often? Is there a way to avoid it for the other joists?

thanks for all your help.

CrpntrFrk 08-04-2009 09:32 PM

If they are different widths it is more common than you would think. Sometimes an old shipment will be from one place and a new shipment will be from another. It is best to find a supplier that tries to stay with a consistent supplier for them.

As far as crown it is most of the time by design. If you notice trusses will have a slight crown on the bottom cord. When the load of the roof is applied it settles a bit but that helps those trusses span such long distances.

rahfiki 08-04-2009 11:50 PM

Depends on whether you would like a firm deck or a bouncy deck. I personally like a firm deck....wife likes it that way also:laughing:.

If your joists are not on the beam, the beam is pretty much useless. It is supposed to support all of the joists or you will get bounce in the deck as you walk on it ( the 1/8" gap will press down as it gets wieght of people walking on it).

Either use some shims under each joist (not best solution...they can work our years down the road), or take the header off and flip it around ( so the old screw holes dont line up to the new ones) or just get new header, and split the 1/8" differance with the top and bottom of where it attaches to the rim joists and joists. That way at the end (header side) there will only be 1/16th of an inch off of perfect flush and the deck board on top will cover that and not be noticable, and the same thing on the bottom, the small amount of 'not flush' only 1/16th will not be noticable.

I feel it is more important to have the joists on the beam so the beam can do what it is supposed to the deck not allow it to bounce.

lumber is never the exact same size, so you will encounter this often.

Remember to trim the bushes around your deck....makes it look bigger and wife will love it! :laughing:

schveiguy 09-08-2009 09:15 AM

FYI, for anyone still following this, here is what I did (and it seems pretty good):

1. The 5-foot section I left alone -- not really that important since I'm using 2x10s :) Most of the joists rested on the beam, and the ones that didn't don't move or bounce at all after the hurricane ties are on there.

2. I realized my ledger followed the line of the house, but was not level (!) By the end of the house, the ledger was a half inch lower. So I had to follow the ledger line, and make my beams slightly shorter on that side, I split the difference, so the joists were about 1/4 inch above the ledger on the end, which shouldn't be a big deal. Since I was trying to make my joists level with the top of the ledger, that may have contributed to the gap problem.

3. I found that many of the joists were significantly different widths, so for some of the longer joists (16'), I used a jigsaw to remove a small portion where the joist hit the beam. The 5 footers, I just trimmed the whole joist. Almost all the long joists are directly on the beams, so that was no problem.

The framing is pretty much all done now, and it looks beautiful. A friend of mine who does contracting came over and showed me how to use string to set the joists -- I highly recommend to anyone framing a deck to learn how to tie a very tight string to mark the top of the joists, it works better than anything else I've tried, I was able to hang almost all the joists by myself, including the 16 footers.

Thanks to everyone who replied. I'll post pics of the finished deck, if I ever get it done :) Damn New England weather!

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:21 PM.

vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1