Screws with Joist Hangers

Can Screws be Used with Joist Hangers?

When properly installed, joist hangers can keep your floors and decks in excellent condition. However, improperly installed joist hangers can have the opposite effect. 

Can screws be used with joist hangers? Yes, you can use screws designed explicitly for joist hangers. Never use galvanized or drywall screws to install joist hangers. These types of screws cannot support joist loads and are not designed for installing joist hangers. 

Follow the correct steps when installing joist hangers to ensure your floor remains flat and sturdy. In addition, use the correct type of screws for installing joist hangers.

Using Screws on Joist Hangers

Always use the correct fasteners when installing joist hangers. The right types of fasteners will ensure your floor retains the required performance standards.

Joist hangers play essential roles in the stability of floors, roofs, and ceiling. Therefore, manufacturers test every aspect of joist hangers to ensure the products meet the required standards. 

Standard drywall and galvanized nails are not designed for installing joist hangers. However, there are specialized screws that can provide the strength required to install joist hangers. 

Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines when installing joist hangers to ensure you use the right type of fastener. Using the correct type of fastener when installing joist hangers guarantees sturdy support framing. 

Deck Screws and Joist Hangers

It is advisable to avoid using standard deck screws to install joist hangers. Although the deck screws have strong holding power, they are vulnerable to breaking when under stress. 

Stress occurs when the shank of the fastener or screw moves back and forth. Screws are subjected to stress when joist hangers sway gently due to winds or earth tremors. 

Standard deck screws are usually made of hardened steel that can snap under stress. Instead of using standard deck screws to install hangers, consider using specialty screws for joist hangers. 

Joist Hanger Fastener Options

Joist hangers should be installed with nails. The precise type of nail to use varies according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

16d and 10d nails are usually recommended for interior applications. The type of nails you use for exterior joist installation projects should be corrosion resistant. 

Specialty Screws

Some manufacturers produce specialty nails that they recommend for installing their joist hangers. These types of nails usually feature thicker shanks than standard nails to withstand significant amounts of stress. 

One of the benefits of using specialty nails is they pass through joist hanger nail holes without catching. Standard nails may not fit joist hanger nail holes. 

Screws for Related Connectors

You may encounter different types of connectors when working with joist hangers including:

  • Tie straps
  • Post cap saddles
  • Postbase brackets

Many manufacturers recommend screws for some of these connectors, especially post cap and post base saddles. However, always consult your joist hanger manufacturer’s guidelines for specific instructions on the type of screws to use for your project.

Avoid these Joist Hanger Installation Mistakes 

Joint hanger installation is not as simple as it may sound. There are various steps to take when installing joist hangers.

It is essential to use the right type of fastener when installing joist hangers. Otherwise, you may end up with defects that may affect the overall integrity of your walls or flooring.

There are some common mistakes that people make when installing joist hangers. Avoid these mistakes to ensure your joist hanger is installed correctly.

Wrong Sized Joist Hanger

Many people make this mistake when they purchase joist hangers that are much smaller than the joists they are hanging. To avoid making such a mistake, buy joist hangers with the right dimensions for joist you want to hang. 

Not Filling the Nail Holes

It is vital to secure the joist hanger completely. This can be done by inserting nails through each of the nail holes in the joist hanger.

Filling all the nail holes in the joist hanger helps to ensure it meets load capacity ratings. This is a crucial step to complete regardless of the number of joist hangers you need to hang.

Re-using Joist Hangers

Avoid re-using joist hangers even if they look like they are still in good shape. Reusing joist hangers undermines the integrity of your deck or floor. 


Many of the problems homeowners experience when installing joist hangers are caused by lack of communication between builders, architects, dealers, and framing contractors. When all involved parties work collaboratively, they can:

  • Confirm material requirements
  • Offer installation guidelines
  • Determine precise locations of joist hanger holes
  • Verify loads
  • Spot potential problems
  • Prevent costly misunderstandings and confusions

Improper Use of Materials

Some of the issues homeowners experience when installing joist hangers are caused by misusing blocking panels and squash blocks. Blocking panels have three main functions:

  • Load transfer around the joists
  • Restrain the joist from above
  • Provide support for wall nailing

On the other hand, the primary function of squash blocks is load transfer around the joist. Problems arise when you:

  • Fail to install either the blocking panels or squash blocks
  • Install the two components incorrectly
  • Place the two components at locations where they are not needed
  • Install blocking panels instead of squash blocks and vice versa

Improper use of joist installation materials leads to a poorly installed floor system that is incapable of managing loads and performing as required. 

Inability to Account for Load

Make sure the installation plans are adequately accounted for by tracking all loads in the roofing and foundations. In addition, make sure the foundation has the required amounts of post loads.

Consult the installation guidelines and consider all the loads that may come in later, including loads for countertops and appliances.

Dismissing Plans

Floor designs determine their applications. Not following the installation plans and guidelines may affect the integrity of your floors or walls. 

It is advisable to follow the design plans to the latter to ensure the integrity of your structure. 

Cutting Joist Holes Incorrectly

Many contractors fail to collaborate effectively when it comes to the placement of holes in joists. The location of the holes in the joist affects the performance of the joist hanger.

Some of the common mistakes contractors make when cutting holes include: 

  • Cutting holes too close to the joist bearing of flanges
  • Creating larger holes than required
  • Cutting more holes than required
  • Placing the holes too close together

To prevent problems with joist hanger installation, be sure to determine the locations of the holes before installation. In addition, ask your installers to confirm the positions of the holes before cutting.

Consult the manufacturer’s instructions or dealer for additional information about the precise measurements and locations of the holes in the joist hanger. Joist hanger installation requires collaboration and communication between all professionals involved.

The placement and spacing of the joist hanger can be modified before installation. Adding unwanted or unnecessary notches to the joist hanger could affect the overall integrity of your walls or floors. 

Exposed Materials

Many joist hangers are made of wood, which makes them susceptible to moisture damage. It is important to avoid exposing joist hanger materials to moisture by enclosing the frame as soon as possible to protect it from adverse weather conditions.

Putting Excessive Weight on top of the Joists

Like other building materials, joist hangers require careful storage and maintenance before installation. Walking on joist hangers does not only affect their integrity, but it could also lead to injuries.

Install all safety bracing, hangers, and blocking panels before allowing contractors to walk on the subfloor. 

Proper planning and communication between contractors can prevent many of the mistakes people make when installing joist hangers. The project team should coordinate the placement of materials and consult manufacturers’ guidelines for assistance.

Take simple steps to ensure you retain the integrity of your structure for a long time. 

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