If you’re looking to build a commercial space, custom addition, or single or multi-family home, you’re probably in the market for sturdy, durable, cost-effective, and time-saving structural solutions. And when it comes to floors, you typically have two choices: floor trusses or engineered floor joists.
Below, we’ll outline the difference between floor trusses vs. floor joists, and then we’ll touch on the pros and cons of both — giving you all the information you need to decide which is best for your next build.
Floor Trusses vs. Floor Joists: What’s the Difference?
Floor trusses and floor joists are both solid choices for your floor’s structural frame — but they are quite different in terms of functionality, design, and installation. Before we dive deeper into their pros and cons, here are some simple definitions of each of them:
- Floor trusses are prefabricated structural flooring components, consisting of various 2×4 pieces of lumber that are held together with metal connector plates. They’re built off-site, then transported to and installed on the job site as whole pieces.
- Engineered floor joists are individual beams that run perpendicular to the structural beams that make up the skeleton of a floor frame. Engineered lumber is typically stronger and more lightweight than traditional lumber.
Floor Trusses vs. Floor Joists: The Pros and Cons
So between floor trusses and floor joists, which one is best for your application? At Zeeland Lumber & Supply, we think both options have a lot of benefits. It’s important to understand the details of trusses and joists, then factor that into your project scope before making a decision. Below are some pros and cons to keep in mind:
Floor trusses are a popular choice for many construction applications. Since they’re prefabricated off-site in a controlled environment, they’re likely to offer strong and accurate results.
- Span farther between bearing points, which allows for larger, more open rooms below unobstructed columns and partitions.
- Reduce the need (and cost!) for extra load-bearing walls, posts, beams, and/or footings.
- Handle larger loads than floor joists.
- Offer a wider nailing surface (3 ½”) that makes it easy to fasten components together.
- Offer an open design that allows for efficient installation of plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems.
- Delivered to your site, ready for installation – no cutting or fitting is required.
- Live load deflection criteria provides a high degree of resistance to floor vibration (bounce).
- Small chance of warping, shrinking, and twisting after being manufactured in a controlled environment.
- Save timber resources by reducing the amount of wood waste generated during construction.
If the floor trusses aren’t built perfectly right the first time (a rare circumstance due to all the advanced engineering that goes into them), the trusses aren’t easily adjusted on-site. So, if there is a problem with them, they’ll likely need to be sent back and built again from scratch. This, of course, can hold up production — but, again, with the right supplier and the right equipment, it’s an unlikely occurrence.
Engineered Floor Joists
There are a few different types of floor joists (regular dimensional lumber, I-joists, etc.). At Zeeland Lumber & Supply, we recommend I-joists from LP® as the highest quality solution. These floor joists are known for their cost-effectiveness, their resistance to warping and splitting, and their larger nailing area for improved stability. They’re also a sustainable product, as the lumber is sourced from programs certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative®.
- Installation is an easy and cost-effective process.
- Weighs less than traditional lumber.
- Can bear and transfer a load of buildings and structures onto the corresponding vertical members, which are also a part of the foundation framework of floors.
- Work with open spaces in buildings/structures, helping to support and offer strength.
- Can bear the extra load of people and furniture when utilized to the maximum output.
- Capable of carrying the weight of whole new floors.
- Resistant to warping, splitting, shrinking, and twisting.
Compared to floor trusses, floor joists don’t span as far or carry as heavy of loads. While floor joists may offer lower upfront costs, that might not make a difference after you factor in higher labor costs for a more detailed and lengthy installation process.
Get Custom, High-Quality Floor Trusses at Zeeland Lumber & Supply
Interested in seeing how manufactured floor trusses and engineered floor joists can help improve your production efficiency? Contact Zeeland Lumber & Supply. No matter which choice to decide to go with, we can support your project!
We’ve been manufacturing our own building materials for over a combined 100 years in our six dedicated facilities throughout Michigan and Northern Indiana, and we’re experts in giving you the solutions you need to get jobs done quickly and effectively.