BUILD A BETTER HOME

As science and engineering evolves so do our building products.  So, despite the fact that traditional lumber is still used for building and framing there are now better options that can eliminate a lot of consumer complaints and costly callbacks.

Engineered lumber is made from wood veneers and particles, glues, and resins to create large structural elements that virtually never fail if used correctly. Manufactured in a controlled environment, the load factors for these materials are precisely calculated for every size. 

COMPLAINT 1 – UNEVEN FLOORS

Why this happens.  There are actually a couple of reason. 

  1. Traditional lumber is milled from softwoods like spruce and then kiln-dried for stability. However, it will expand and contract based on the temperature and its moisture content.  Also, traditional lumber will have a natural crown or bend to it; this is inconsistent and even when properly installed can lead to unevenness.

  2. Depending on the sheathing used and how long the structure is left exposed, swelling is a common occurrence at the joints.  This swelling is very pronounced when hardwood or laminate floorings are used.

SOLUTION – I-JOISTS WITH NO-SAND OSB SHEATHING

I-joists are considerably stronger, more stable and consistent (predictable) than traditional lumber.  These factors eliminate issues associated with dimensional lumber and result in a straight and level floor.  The addition of a no-sand OSB like TN350 means that any risk of swelling along the joints is basically eliminated.  That straight and level floor stays straight and level. 

COMPLAINT 2 – SQUEAKY FLOORS

If you have an uneven floor, you’re going to have a squeaky floor.  So, a lot of what is discussed in point one applies to this complaint.

SOLUTION – I-JOISTS WITH NO-SAND OSB AND PROPER INSTALLATION

Like the uneven floor complaint, the use of I-Joists with a no-sand OSB will reduce squeaking an issue.  However, using engineered products isn’t always enough.  The installation of the floor is just as important as the products used.  Using glue between the I-joist and the sheathing is a must.  Also, using a serpentine pattern when applying the glue is significantly better than applying it in a straight line.

The fastener you choose will certainly play a part in whether your floor squeaks or not. Nails have greater potential for causing squeaking floors, due to their temperature flexibility. Movement between the subfloor and nail (even a ring shank) inevitably causes the two to become loosened over time, which creates floor squeaking – particularly in high-traffic areas.

 

Screws, if driven properly, prevent creaking floors. A screw firmly holds the subfloor in place, which ensures a squeak-less floor for years to come.

COMPLAINT 3 – VIBRATING FLOOR

While walking through the dining room the dishes in the china cabinet rattle and clink together.  A vibrating or bouncy floor is a pretty common complaint amongst homeowners and an aggravation to any builder.

Vibration is the tendency of a floor to continue moving after it has experienced an impact load (ie. people walking around).  This vibration can radiate throughout the floor system in all directions and cause annoying effects like dishes rattling in nearby cabinets when someone walks through the room.  It can also be felt by people who are sitting in the room.  This is similar to the feeling when standing on a bridge and a vehicle drives past.

SOLUTION – BUILD A BETTER FLOOR

To control vibration and deflection, here are some things we can consider:

 

  • Gluing and nailing the subfloor to the joists

  • Attaching gypsum board to the bottom of the floor

  • Decreasing the joist spacing to reduce loads applied to each one

  • Using deeper joists (deeper is cheaper)

  • Using a thicker sub-floor, i.e. ¾” or 7/8” instead of 5/8”

  • Installing full depth, I-joist blocking panels at mid span between floor joists.

  • Designing to a maximum deflection level that is less than the building code allows.

    © 2020 by OWL Distribution (A Division of Gillfor Distribution Inc.)