Comparison: Wood-steel joists and Open Joist Triforce® Part 1

Combining wood and steel in joists is nothing new. But is this combination of materials really the best choice when it comes to handling, installation and long-term use?

In this first of two blog posts on the subject, let’s see a head-to-head comparison of a typical wood and steel Joist with TRIFORCE® open joist. Both are within the same price range. We’ll leave out all-steel joists as they are typically much more expensive.

First comparison: joists with wood chords using steel webbing


As these joists are relatively light, they are easy to manoeuvre; however, their lightness can also be responsible for floor vibration unless continuous bridging or blocking is added.

These types of joists need to be handled carefully prior to installation as a direct hit to the steel webbing can bend the steel and jeopardize the joist’s load carrying ability. Steel also presents a handling danger because of sharp webbing edges, and those often interfere with the installation of mechanicals.

Some manufacturers of this type of joist claim the product is green due to its use of engineered wood however the metal webbing it contains gives it a much heavier eco-footprint compared to an all wood joist, because of environmental impact of metal production methods.

Finally, although the product does have a convenient open web design, it is still generally higher priced than TRIFORCE® open joist products. Delivery can be between 2-6 weeks.

TRIFORCE® open joist


Combining lightness and open web design without metal, TRIFORCE® open joist is easy to handle in comparison and ideal for MEP installations. It is made entirely from #2 SPF and MSR SPF certified wood making it the best environmental choice. It is designed to provide floor assemblies with strength and rigidity, and is trimmable onsite.

Finally, TRIFORCE® open joist is also the most competitively priced in this comparison and is available in 11 7/8, 14” or 16” sizes. Delivery can take between 1-3 weeks.

Which joist would you rather have on your site?

In our next blog post we’ll compare TRIFORCE® open joist to Wood Trusses with metal plates.

Triforce Open Joist
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