Removing Cross Bracing from Floor Joists

The Negatives of Removing Cross Braces from Floor Joists

By Mark J. Donovan

Question: Mark, My neighbor is in the process of finishing his basement. The home is an older home, approximately 15 years old. In constructing his finished basement ceiling he has chosen to remove the 2”x2” diagonal cross bracing supports between the floor joists. Learn about floor joists here.

I explained to him that removing the cross braces from the floor joists was not a smart decision and advised him not to do it, but he did it anyways. My neighbor insists that it’s not a problem due to the fact that the house is 15 years old and the floor joists have fully dried out.

He claims the cross braces no longer serve a purpose since the floor joists are fully dried. I disagree with him, and was curious what your take is on removing cross bracing from floor joists. Thanks, H.I.

Answer: H.I. The cross braces between the floor joists are meant to stiffen the floor, share concentrated loads between the floor joists, and prevent the floor joists from twisting.

Admittedly after they’ve fully dried out there is less risk of the floor joists twisting, however by removing them he has removed some of the floor’s stiffness. As a result, he may end up having a little more bounce on the first floor and deflection between adjacent joists under heavy loads. If he has tile flooring above, this could lead to crack and loose tile problems. In addition, even though the joists are fully dried out under a heavy load they could still twist a little. Floor joist cross bracing

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