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Flooring - Load Transfer


This section attempts to provide practical solutions to common problems that result from improper transfer of loads through the flooring system. It should be noted that some of the fixes presented are not for retrofit as they must be installed at the time the house or building is undergoing rough-in framing.

Squeaking floors is one of the problems homeowners most often identify. Many people believe that floor squeaking must be tolerated, and they simply shrug it off. However there are homeowners who will not tolerate the least noise or squeak in their flooring.

The proper installation of flooring materials, in a well-designed flooring system, will result in reduced flooring system movement. Hence noise, especially squeaking can and should be eliminated.

New products used to frame floor systems must be properly designed and installed if noise problems are to be avoided.

Wood I Beam Floor Joists
Figure 1 - Georgia Pacific - Wood I Beam Floor Joists

For example, you cannot use wood I beam floor joists (Figure 1) in the same way as you would construct the flooring system if you were using dimensional lumber. Wood I beam floor joists must be installed in conjunction with proper blocking and adequate perimeter support.

Another common flooring system problem is floors that sag because the support beams were not properly installed or constructed. Beams that are realistically too small and that are inadequately supported will cause a host of problems in many parts of the house, not just in the flooring system.

Loads from the roof, upper floors, and walls must be properly transferred to the foundation, which is designed to carry them.

Building codes have specific requirements for the minimum size of structural framing members and the fastening of floor system components, and this section provides some ways to work with this information.

Remember that building codes are written to ensure that a house or building stays standing under almost any condition that can be placed on it. The building codes are minimum requirements and just because a structure is sturdy does not mean that it is well built.