Vaguely similar questions have been asked, but I believe this situation is unique enough that I’m looking for some specific advice. I have a floor that is framed with 2x8s, 16 O.C., spanning roughly 11 feet between a central built-up beam and the outer sill plate. The joists “rest” on a standard (code minimum, blech) 2x2 ledger strip. The hardwood floors are a bit bouncy and it bugs me, so I plan to stiffen the floors by adding some sisters, or (more likely) gluing and screwing a bottom flange to the joists (to avoid removing tons of mechanicals and solid blocking).

However, before I do that I want to address the fact that the joists seem very shoddily connected to the beam. In addition to the ledger strip, about half of them are toe-nailed (see first pic, ok, that seems fine), but the other half are not (see second pic). This strikes me as very sketchy. There are a few end nails into each joist from the built up beam, and on some of the joists these seem to be carrying the whole load.

I thought about pounding some joist hangers in and then prying off the ledger strips, but my thinking is that the fact that half the joists are already toe-nailed to the beam means that adding joist hangers to these might cause splitting and I don’t want to raise inspection red flags by having a weird mix-and-match setup of hangers and ledger strip. Some of the non-toe-nailed joists have small gaps between joist and beam, and some aren’t even fully resting on the ledger (see pic 3, !). I do believe this was probably sloppy cuts rather than separation after the fact.

How can I improve these joist-beam connections? Should I just add some 45 degree toenails and call it good? The joists are fundamentally in good shape and if possible I'm looking for something DIY-able.

Edit: As I suspected, I was able to confirm that there are 3-4 end nails driven into the joists that are not toe-nailed at least (confirmed by feeling in the gap between joist and beam with a shim). Not sure if this changes anything.

this joist is toe-nailed this joist is not toe-nailed sloppy cut, gaps all around

  • What is the nailing of the ledger to the center beam? (Size and spacing)
    – Lee Sam
    Apr 14, 2019 at 19:50
  • Two nails on the ledger strip under each joist, one straight into the face and one angled from below. Not sure about the size, 16d common nails maybe.
    – MPR
    Apr 14, 2019 at 19:55

3 Answers 3


If you need to remove the 2X2, then you will need to add joist hangers. The joist hangers available have stamped in the steel the nailing instruction for the hanger to perform the way it is designed. Many if not all hangers require "shear nail" in short, toenails as part of the nail sequence in each hanger.

If the 2X2 is not in the way, add cement coated 16D nails (3 1/2") even 12D nails 3 1/4" will work, a total of 5 in each end, 3 on one side, 2 on the other, situated roughly between the 3 on the other side.

If your span is over 8' (maybe 10') by code you will need bridging, diagonal or solid at the center point of the span. this will greatly reduce the springiness of the floor.

  • Thanks! So 5 total toenails in each joist end should be good? I don’t need to remove the 2x2 ledger, it’s more just that I am questioning the soundness of the joists that totally lack any toenails, especially the ones with gaps. I would have preferred hangers had been used originally instead of the ledger, but if the joists can be made sound long term with the addition of toenails I’m happy. There is solid blocking mid-span, but it’s shoddy scrap cuts and many contain gaps and aren’t tight to the joists.
    – MPR
    Apr 15, 2019 at 0:22
  • Yes, to confirm on the nailing. Cement coated nails are smaller diameter so splitting is less likely. Please use proper guidelines for nailing, around an 1 1/2" from the end and angle the nail so the point of the nail does not go through the other side of the joist before entering the beam. This means starting the nails at a slightly harder angle than 45 degree. I set mine going in anywhere from 50 to 60 degree gong in. Eyeballing this is fine, accuracy on this is not critical as long as it does not go through the joist before the beam. You can add shims at the blocking.
    – Jack
    Apr 15, 2019 at 14:10

Structurally , the 2x2 ledger is useless. It was probably installed as a temporary ledger to hold the 2x8 joists in place until they could be fastened to the center “laminated” beam. (The Code does not allow edge nailing that close to the edge of the 2x2, see ICC Chapter 3.)

However, good news...this could be an easy fix. You have two options: 1) existing joists could already be end nailed to center beam, or 2) install clip one side of all joists.

1) Because the existing joists are so badly cut, you can slide a small piece of metal between the end of the joists and the center beam. Perhaps the joists are already end nailed. You’ll need 4 - 16d into the end of the joists through the face of the centered laminated beam. (You’ll need calipers to verify width of nails to insure they are 16d.)

2) Not all joist supports need “joist hangers”. Joist hangers have a “seat” for the joist to sit in. Clips like these:


Can be face nailed to the joists and the center beam. As you can see, the reaction is in the “F1” direction and you’ll need to resist about 366 lbs. I’d use a Simpson A35 and nail as shown.

I base this on a maximum load (per Code) of: 40 lbs. per square foot live load plus 10 lbs. per square foot dead load and joists 16” oc. and a span of 11’ for a total load of 731 lbs. However, half the load will go to the wall and half will go to the beam..for a total reaction at the beam of 366 lbs. (The A35 meets that loading requirement.)

Btw, adding a 2x4 flat on the bottom may stiffen your joists, but your issue is with the connection between the joists and the center beam AND it will do nothing to support the joists.

  • #1 is true, at least for the joists that are not toe-nailed. There are already 3-4 nails end-nailed into the joists through the beam face. I did slide a shim behind to confirm this where possible. I suspect the framer end-nailed half the joists, then toe-nailed the other half after the beam was built up? I don't love that this is how half the joists are fastened. Is it worth adding an angle like the A35, or does that risk splitting the joists since they already have end nails driven in? True about the 2x4s. I want to ensure adequate support before proceeding with anything like that.
    – MPR
    Apr 15, 2019 at 5:58

If you really want your home not to sink. Knock the top concrete block off each pier, Then you put 2 runs of 4x6 parallel beams, that will be pushing up on the ends of the joist allowing 3.5 inches of contact with wood. Plus why would you let a joist hang or toenail it. That method does not hold up for longevity and is an unsafe practice. Ideally your joist should overlap and a solid beam supporting from below pushing the joist into the floor (making it solid). I have a catalog of pictures of code failures. An example of how to fix this building code disaster

  • 2
    How is your opening statement relevant to the situation in the question? For one thing, 4x6 beams are seriously outdated. for another, there are steel posts up there. I could go along with the bottom half, but code compliance isn't the issue here.
    – isherwood
    Feb 28, 2022 at 13:46

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