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Flooring - Deflection and Vibration


Many people remember hearing dishes rattling whenever someone walked by the china cabinet in their childhood home. Deflection and floor vibration annoy home-owners, and they are usually not identified until after people move into their homes. Bounce is another common complaint about flooring systems. Cracked ceilings, ridges in floors, uneven floors and obvious movement reveal excessive floor deflection.

When possible, builders should check with homeowners about special loading conditions in their homes or specific furnishings that may be susceptible to vibrations or deflections.

Special designs can then be drawn up and precautions taken to accommodate the occupant's requirements.

The properly positioning of bearing walls, installing extra blocking, reducing joist spans or even changing the direction of floor joists can be inexpensive and may help to achieve total customer satisfaction.

Oversized joists or specialized products such as stress-rated lumber and manufactured floor trusses can also satisfy homeowner requirements.

Floor vibration is addressed in most building code span tables. However, it may be necessary to go beyond the requirements presented in building codes to achieve the vibration free floors that some homeowners expect.