This is an old house and pictures show the framing and joists around a stairway opening.

Compared to the “before” picture, you can see that the wood was removed from both sides of the double header. The ledger shown in picture #1 (before) was removed. Joist hangers were installed (pictures #2 and #3). However, the joists do not fully sit on the seat of the hangers. I believe the industry term is “not fully bearing” on the hanger seats.

Will this result in sagging floors or a structural failure? How should the contractor/framer fix this?

Edits 7/16/18: 1. Added “ledger” and “double header” (both are perpendicular to main joists) into the description of the problem. 2. Yes, there is a knot with a crack in the 3rd picture. What to do about it? 3. Would you suggest removing the new joist hangers and putting the ledger back in place (as it was in the first picture)?

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  • deckmagazine.com/design-construction/framing/…. The recommendation here is to remove and reattach properly
    – Kris
    Jul 15, 2018 at 20:21
  • BTW, that giant knot on the bottom (tension side) of that ledger in the second picture, is what scares the crap out of Structural engineers. Good thing it’s a ledger...
    – Lee Sam
    Jul 15, 2018 at 20:56
  • How could this possibly pass an inspection?! Jul 15, 2018 at 22:15
  • Lee Sam, that giant knot is not the ledger. In that picture, the ledger has already been removed. Only the first picture has the ledger. What should I do? what sources can I show the framer that what he did was wrong? Btw, the framer hired a structural engineer who recommended removing the ledger (seen in 1st picture) and using hangers instead.-OP
    – user88807
    Jul 17, 2018 at 18:08
  • Kris: Thanks for the link. But how do you re-attach the joist hangers properly when the ends of the joists have been notched out, where the ledger was previously?
    – user88807
    Jul 17, 2018 at 18:11

4 Answers 4


Sorry if this sounds insulting, but that is terrible work.

Build a temporary wall underneath to hold the joists in place while this is being fixed.

Then remove the hangers, cut all the joist ends to 1-5/8" off the beam, stuff a new 2x behind, then re-apply the hangers. (Use plenty of long nails to attach the new 2x to the old beam.)

  • What's the point of the cuts and new two-by? Seems like serious overkill. It would be 1-1/2", btw, or 1-9/16" if you're looking for a fudge factor. An extra eighth would be pretty sloppy, IMO.
    – isherwood
    Jul 17, 2018 at 19:38
  • Agree that a whole 1/8" is slightly sloppy -- I wouldn't do that in my professional capacity. If the person doing the work is capable of finer tolerances, then I'd encourage it. To answer the first question, the cuts and 2x are intended to push the hanger to a place where it can actually do its intended function. (Maybe I should have specified that the 2x should be the same depth as the original ledger.) Jul 21, 2018 at 17:01

It looks like the original ledger was doing its job - the floor joists were staying up with the doubled header.

The Simpson hangers were not an appropriate application. The notched joists' ends made it impossible to place the hangers per the manufacture's specifications.

I doubt that the hangers will compensate for the loss of the ledger. There will probably be years of problematic joist settling with the related structural cracks and separations.

A logical solution is to just remove the hangers and replace the ledger.

If you feel the need to improve the original design, you can add some blocks between the joists. Blocking could make the floor quieter.

Regarding the knot in doubled header. It doesn't look like it has sagged much. If there is the possibility of something very heavy going over it (like a waterbed), then place another stud or two in the stairway wall under the doubled header. The downside is that this would make the stairway feel more closed in.


All those joist have to be replaced. Any joist requires inch an half bearing minimum. 3” for a beam. You got like 3/8” actually on the joist hanger and those do like there too small a hanger. When you have those joists off replace that cracked ply on the lintel. You’ll to put in a temp support wall as was mentioned earlier in this thread. What you have in those pictures is unsafe and potentially a disaster waiting to happen.


I am going to submit this as an answer but it's half question, we'll see what comments this gets.

It looks like you could remove the joist hanger, cut another 1/2" to 3/4" in that notch, and use a 2x6 joist hanger. I am not sure whether that would fly - the 2x6 attachment to the beam would have to be sufficient to bear the weight.

I am not clear what was wrong with the original ledger ...

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