19 Apr 2024

The Hidden Heroes of Home Construction: Joist Hangers 101

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Improperly Installed Joist Hangers

As a home inspector, I’ve seen my fair share of construction mistakes that can lead to costly repairs and even safety hazards. One often-overlooked culprit is the humble joist hanger. These small metal devices may seem insignificant, but they play a crucial role in supporting your home’s floors and ceilings. In this post, we’ll explore the correct way to install joist hangers and why it matters.

What are Joist Hangers?

Joist hangers are metal brackets that connect floor joists to the main beam or ledger board, providing a secure and stable connection. They come in various sizes and types, including galvanized and stainless steel options.

The Correct Way to Install Joist Hangers

  1. Choose the right size: Select a hanger that matches the size of your joist and beam.
  2. Position correctly: Install the hanger at the correct angle, usually 90 degrees to the joist.
  3. Secure with the right fasteners: Use the recommended nails or screws to attach the hanger to the joist and beam.
  4. Don’t over-tighten: Avoid over-tightening, which can damage the wood or hanger.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Incorrect sizing: Using a hanger that’s too small or too large can lead to reduced structural integrity.
  • Improper positioning: Installing the hanger at the wrong angle can cause the joist to shift or detach.
  • Inadequate fastening: Failing to use the recommended fasteners or not securing the hanger properly can lead to a weakened connection.

Why Proper Installation Matters

Correctly installed joist hangers ensure:

  • Structural integrity: A secure connection between joists and beams supports the weight of floors and ceilings.
  • Reduced risk of damage: Proper installation minimizes the risk of water damage, pest infestations, and other issues.
  • Peace of mind: Knowing your home’s structure is secure gives you confidence and peace of mind.


Joist hangers may seem like a small detail, but their correct installation is crucial for your home’s safety and integrity. By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure a secure and stable connection that will last for years to come.

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