If you’re relatively unfamiliar with home repair, the term “sistering” is likely pretty confusing. Today we’re going to learn what it means to sister a floor joist, and what mistakes you should look out for!
Simply put, sistering simply means adding extra material to strengthen a damaged material , typically floor joists. The most popular material for this is framing lumber, but engineered lumber products will actually provide more stiffness than dimensional lumber. Ensuring that the floor joists are properly sistered is highly important. You should allot a good chunk of time to accomplish this task; for safety’s sake, you cannot rush. It also worth noting that this job will require some strength and stamina, as lifting joist materials and fastening it into place can be physically demanding. It iis also important that the new material extends in both directions past the damaged area a sufficient amount, often 2 feet beyond is enough.
A common mistake is using sistering as a coverup for the actual problem. Generally, a floor joist will need sistered because of either water damage and the subsequent rot, termite damage that has caused the joist to crumble away, or where someone notched too much of the joist. It is imperative that you get to the bottom of these issues before anything else. If the problem is water damage, get the leaky pipe or condensation issue repaired. If the problem is termites, call an exterminator. Why would you take all the effort to sister the floor joist, only to allow the damage to happen again and need to repair everything all over again?
Finding damaged floor joists is a common find during a home inspection. Typically it is from cutting away too much of the joist for pipes or duct work.
Sistering is a fantastic way to repair sagging floors or damaged floor joists. It may be intimidating at first, but if you do your research and take your time, you are more than capable of making this home repair on your own. Just make sure you address the initial problem, and ensure your joist is level and supported, and it should be smooth sailing from there!
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