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What is a Floor Truss?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2016
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A floor truss is a system of support that helps to keep floors level and sturdy. Truss systems of this type usually go beyond the simple floor joists that are common to all types of floors. The floor truss actually creates an interconnecting network between the joists, providing the flooring with a level of strength that would be hard to accomplish otherwise.

Using a floor truss system as part of the floor installation process may be more expensive, but the extra cost is worth it. This becomes readily apparent when the new flooring involves high quality hardwoods. The intricate network of the truss system helps to absorb the vibrations caused as people walk over the floor. This helps to ease some of the daily stress on hardwood floors, allowing each section to remain sturdy for many more years, even under constant use.

While there are several different floor truss designs in use today, two are more common than any of the others. One approach is known as the open web truss. This design calls for the use of top and bottom chords that are attached to the joists with the use of metal plates. Steel webbing can also be used with this design. The benefit of this type of floor truss is that the open design makes it easier to run plumbing or wiring through the flooring if necessary, while not compromising on the overall integrity of the floor.

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A second type of floor truss is known as the all-wood truss. This particular design uses a series of support sections that create an interlined pattern between the joists. One version of the all-wood truss has the appearance of a series of triangles that are formed between each set of joists, effectively creating a zigzag pattern. The pattern helps to stabilize the flooring and reduce the chances for any type of weakening or shifting even when heavy objects are placed on the floor.

Choosing the right floor truss design depends a great deal on the general design of the interior space, as well as the proposed placement of the joists. In general, an all-wood truss helps to distribute the weight placed on the completed floor, making it an ideal option for any room where heavy furniture or appliances will be placed. An open web truss is usually a better option for areas where the weight load is lighter and the main support of the floor has to do with absorbing the normal vibrations created as people walk over the surface. However, both systems are more than adequate for enhancing the support offered by joists alone.

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