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From floor joists to rim joists to the subfloor, the product choices you make determine how well your floor performs.
In an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to think about your floor’s performance. But when a floor has a problem, you’ll notice it. It squeaks. It sags. It vibrates.
A solid, properly designed and framed floor is level, quiet, and stable. It is properly designed to handle the load indicated in the plans. After all, the needs of a kitchen floor supporting a large, heavy island are different from that of a hallway.
Soft spots. These areas have a spongy feeling that feels weak. At its worst, it can seem like the floor is at risk of giving way. These soft spots are caused by deflection, or the amount of bend in the floor when weight is added to it by people walking or by supporting furniture or cabinetry. A certain amount of deflection is to be expected (check your local code for the proper limits), but too much can cause problems like sagging over time.
Squeaks. When your floor starts talking back to you, it’s a sign that the subfloor is separating from the floor joists. Squeaks are annoying but not necessarily a sign of structural damage. In this case, however, prevention is worth hours of repair work.
Vibrations. Maybe your shelves jiggle when you walk by or the spin cycle of your washing machine makes the whole house shake. In wooden floors, often you’ll find the culprits are deflection or a loose subfloor.
A poor performing floor is annoying for a homeowner. But floors can cause a whole host of business headaches for contractors who must satisfy homeowners’ expectations while protecting their bottom lines and reputations. After all, the cost of materials is one thing. The cost of redoing a project for an unhappy customer is quite another.
If you’re a homebuilder or contractor, Boise Cascade® engineered wood products and software can help you get the job done right the first time.
When paired with proper design and installation techniques, BCI® Joists, Versa-Lam® LVL, and Boise Cascade® Rimboard make it easy to eliminate common floor problems. What follows is a run-down of each of these products and how they work together to deliver high-performance floors.
These engineered joists are the perfect solution for floors. They allow for long spans — they are 20 percent stronger than traditional, dimensional lumber — and without twisting, shrinking, and bowing. Plus, they’re more lightweight and easier to handle than traditional lumber, which can cut down on installation labor costs and install time.
BCI® Joists are made from sustainable and responsibly managed sources. Each engineered floor joist is crafted with about half the wood of traditional lumber, including webbing made from oriented strand board (OSB). The flanges are made of Versa-Lam® laminated veneer lumber and feature wide nailing surfaces to cut down framing time.
Manufactured wood products such as BCI® Joists have other advantages: They greatly reduce the chance of uneven surfaces by eliminating imperfections found in traditional lumber. Every BCI® Joist is designed to be consistent so you can build the straightest surface and flattest possible, with fewer opportunities for deflection and uneven spots.
In some parts of the country, Boise Cascade® also offers AJS® Joist.
Determine the correct floor joist size with our free joist span charts.
Rimboard — also known as rim joists — are an essential component in building sound, level floors. Rimboard is installed perpendicularly at the perimeter of the floor to close the joists. Together, Boise Cascade® engineered rimboard and BCI® Joists create a solid unit that evenly distributes the floor’s load, or weight while reducing the risk of squeaky, vibrating, or bouncy floors. Often, rim joist insulation is added for additional sound-proofing and to reduce heat loss.
Boise Cascade® Rimboard gets rid of the guesswork because it is sized to be used with I-joists and beams. It matches BCI® Joist depths, needs no special backing, and comes in long lengths for additional ease and speed of installation.
Once you’ve installed level, BCI® joists, and rimboard, it’s time to top it with the subfloor. It’s important to use the proper adhesive then nail or screw subfloor panels to the joists to create an even layer that is less susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity. Boise Cascade® Plywood offers great dimensional stability to further reduce the risk of flooring problems. You can find it in a number of grades, including Sturd-I-Floor single-layer floor panels, sheathing, and sanded panels.
Boise Cascade® offers a full suite of floor design and analysis software to help you design, analyze, and even price your floor before you build.