How to Install Steel Floor Joists

What You'll Need
Steel floor joists
Hydraulic jack
Joist brackets

Commercial buildings, and larger homes, use steel floor joists in order to handle the load of the structure. These steel floor joists are especially important for the ground floor of the structure as they have the most load upon them. Many homeowners are finding that they can eliminate sagging and bouncing floor problems by replacing their wood joists with steel floor joists. Even though this might seem like a large project, it is easily done with the right instruction, the right tools, plenty of help, and taking your time. 

Step 1 - Measure Joists for Length

Making sure you have the right size floor joists is the most important part of the installation. Steel floor joists are thick steel and are not easily cut without specialized equipment. Before ordering the steel floor joists make sure you take accurate measurements. It is highly recommended that you take several measurements along the floor area to ensure accurate lengths of the steel floor joists. 

Step 2 - Purchase Correct Steel Floor Joists

There are different grades to steel floor joists that give the amount of load they can handle. When ordering the floor joists, make sure that you purchase the joists that are strong enough for your home. 

Step 3 - Install Joist Brackets

In order for the steel floor joists to be installed properly, you will need to first install the joist brackets on the ledger boards. Hold the joist bracket up to the ledger boards and predrill the holes for the bolts. Drive in carriage bolts to secure the joist brackets to the ledger board. Continue to install the joist brackets beside each of the wooden joists. 

Step 4: Install First Steel Floor Joist

The steel floor joists are going to be heavy. In order to install them without any injury or damage to your home you will need to have some help carrying them in your home. Also, have some hydraulic jacks ready to lift the steel floor joists into position to negate the need to hold them for a long period of time. Line up the first steel floor joist with the joist brackets. Secure the joist to the bracket with the use of nuts and bolts. Tighten the bolts with a ratchet wrench. 

Step 5 - Remove Wood Joist

Once the steel floor joist is installed next to the wood joist, you can remove the old joist. Keep the hydraulic jacks under the steel joist for added support while the wood joist is removed. 

Step 6 - Continue Installing Steel Floor Joists

Following the same installation method, continue to install the individual steel joists. It is important to keep a hydraulic jack under each new joist while you complete the installation process. This will allow the home to settle on the steel joists without causing a lot of stress. 

Step 7 - Remove Jacks

To finish off the installation of the steel floor joists you will need to wait a few weeks. After 2 or 3 weeks have passed, remove the hydraulic jacks slowly to make sure that the house has settled upon the joists. Remove every other jack first, then go back and remove the rest.