Cutting into floor joists, that reoccurring irritation

Let’s face it: sorting out how to cut through an inconveniently placed floor joist is a reoccurring irritation that comes up during the MEP installation phase of construction.

Theoretically, cutting into floor joists shouldn’t even happen, but sometimes the exact location of a drain can’t be known beforehand, as the plans don’t go to that detail. By the time the plumber gets on site, it is too late to move the joist and the plumber encounters the problem, in which case he needs to bring it to the foreman’s attention.

Worst-case scenario though, the plumber goes ahead and cuts or notches without notification, and the joist is compromised. You then find yourself wasting precious man-hours coordinating with the framer or the carpenter and the plumber to figure out a solution. More time is wasted if the architect needs to be involved.

A good way to avoid this kind of situation is to ask the Plumber (HVAC tech and electrician also) to draw up a plan of their installation before going ahead with the work. Yes, it’s more painstaking for them but you can explain that it will help everyone avoid a costly problem.

Then there is that other issue that can arise when using regular I-joists, and doing the standard cuts: If the hole is cut too big and the joist is compromised, you find yourself back to your emergency planning with the framer and the tradesmen.

So why not opt for a joist that you don’t need to drill? An open joist, such as the TRIFORCE® open joist has several advantages:

  • It simplifies installation for plumber, the electrician, and the HVAC techs as they get to run their equipment as they choose thanks to joists open design.
  • It will accelerate their installation, as they no longer have to drill through joists. No one enjoys being up on a ladder with a right-angle drill cutting 4-inch holes.
  • It reduces the amount of possible cutting errors and helps stop the blame game. Whether it’s the plumber blaming the framer or everyone blaming the architect, nobody needs that kind of aggravation.

Cutting into floor joists should be avoided at all times. Why not take advantage of a joist design that actually reduces the probability of that happening while saving you time and hassle?

Triforce Spec Guide

3 Responses

  1. We create “affordable eco-homes” in ten states which might seem like a conflicting statement since many regard eco-features as being an extra cost and not something that fits into the eco-equation. We use materials, systems and products that simplify construction and reduce labor and material waste. By using Triforce open web joists we save time and money by eliminating joist interference issues and being able to route utilities easily beneath floors and above ceilings.

    • Eric Pendland

      Thanks Charlie. Glad to hear Open Joist Triforce is part of your materials. You are right about Eco-materials cost. Open Joist Triforce is a good example. Thanks very much.

  2. Joe St Denis

    As a folow up to my previous e-mail. Want to build approx 30×42 1 1/2 story hillside home. Wondering about using open joists for main,second and cathedral ceiling to achieve highest R value for net zero home with solar panels on roof. Can we feisably eliminate any support beams in basement and main floor? Walls would be double stud wall.

Leave a comment