Should I use 2 x10, I-joist or open joist TRIFORCE®?

Need to choose between 2 x 10 and an engineered wood joist such as I-joist or open joist TRIFORCE® for your project? Wondering what’s the main difference between I-joist vs 2×10? Well, first off, you need to know that engineered wood has a lot of advantages that can’t be ignored.

Engineered wood revolutionized the residential building industry. Appearing almost 50 years ago, it brought improved uniformity, stability and greater strength to many applications originally covered by dimensional lumber.

Engineered wood floor systems

Since its arrival on the market, engineered wood has certainly revolutionized floor systems. Indeed, it enabled builders to create longer spans and bigger open spaces, which have become quite popular. Average home square footage has also been on the rise almost every year since.

Aside from providing longer spans, I-joist and TRIFORCE® floor systems are superior in strength and precision to solid sawn lumber. They are stiffer, lighter and more easily maneuverable. They also provide a bigger nailing surface to attach the floor membrane than the commonly used  2 x 10.


Just like 2 x 10, both I-Joist and TRIFORCE® are adjustable on site. This is a major advantage when faced with inconsistent distances between bearing points. Corrections to the joist length that don’t require an engineer’s approval are made immediately.

Using the floor cavity to run MEP

Much more than solid sawn lumber, engineered wood enables builders to use the space between the floors to easily run mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment. This eliminates the need for bulky boxes built around plumbing or HVAC that can limit a room’s flexibility.

Important distinction between I-joist and TRIFORCE®

And this is where an important distinction between I-joist and TRIFORCE® comes into play. Whereas the I-Joist allows you to use the floor cavity under very strict conditions (i.e. number and size of holes drilled into the joists) TRIFORCE® offers much more flexibility. Its triangular webbing provides maximum space for the installation of mechanicals. Its design also reduces the time it takes to install plumbing, electricity, and HVAC.

If you are interested in the advantages engineered wood and you’d like to get to more information about how TRIFORCE® takes the advantages of engineered wood further than I-joist, download our spec guide. Also check TRIFORCE® joists span tables

Triforce Open Joist
Download the Spec Guide


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