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Community and Q&A

EcoSpan Floor System

jackofalltrades777 | Posted in General Questions on

Anyone use the EcoSpan floor system instead of the typical wood floor joist system? Pros/cons?

Would this system work better with ICF when doing a 2nd floor?

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  1. Expert Member

    Ecospan, and similar Q-deck systems perform very well. They are usually limited to commercial projects (where they are used in part due to the code requirements for a non-combustable structure) - because of their high price. They take more coordination of electrical and plumbing than wood frame floors because of the slab. I'd imagine the connection between the ICF and the floor trusses would be easier than with dimensional lumber, and that you could free-span most houses without intermediate bearing walls.

  2. Expert Member
    Michael Maines | | #2

    Peter, I regularly use wood open-web joists, usually TriForce made by OpenJoist, or sometimes custom. They definitely have advantages over dimensional lumber and wood I-joists, and I have hung the floor system from ledgers inside balloon-framed walls, similar to what you might do in an ICF, including clear-spanning up to 22'. I have not used the EcoSpan system.

    EcoSpan must be short for economical and not ecological; it's a carbon-heavy system of steel truss joists, steel decking and a concrete slab. It might make sense for commercial-scale buildings, though CLT could be competitive, and better from a "green" perspective, depending on the situation.

    Combining this system with ICFs seems like a good way to create the largest carbon footprint possible in home construction. Why not stick with one of the many, time-tested systems made of renewable lumber?

    1. jackofalltrades777 | | #3


      I agree that stick frame is renewable but that is also part of its downfall. In areas where natural disasters can hit like wildfires or hurricanes. Building a stick frame home only to have to be blown or burn away and then have to rebuild, defeats the entire purpose and creates quadruple the carbon footprint a concrete and steel structure would have.

      Each area of the country and world for that matter, have different challenges to deal with. Whether it is termites, pests, cold, heat, wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, etc. Stick frame has it's place and it excels in some areas but falls seriously short in others. Builders love stick frame because if a house burns or blows away in the wind, they simply build another one and make $$$. Rinse and repeat.

      In other parts of the world, lumber is not used in residential construction, except for the interior walls. Otherwise it's all masonry walls. The Middle East, Europe, South America, etc.

      1. Expert Member
        Michael Maines | | #4

        Peter, I understand why you might prefer systems other than stick framing in those situations, though there are ways to make wood framing work anywhere. If you have a non combustible, hurricane-proof, bug-proof exterior, though, why can't you frame the floors with wood?

        1. jackofalltrades777 | | #5


          I don't know of a wood frame home that can withstand 250mph winds. I have yet to see such a build. Wood is combustible & burns. Concrete is non-combustible.

          To answer your question. Sure, it can be framed with wood floors but I wanted to know if there is a better method, more so when using a concrete wall. In addition, a steel/concrete floor would help create a diaphragm design with concrete walls.

          1. Andrew_C | | #7

            I like a robust building as well, but think you may be going beyond what is reasonable. Very few structures of any design could withstand 250 mph winds, and even if they did, you wouldn't want to live in the neighborhood after such an event because everything else would be gone.

  3. rich_bo | | #6

    I agree with jackofalltrades, especially after seeing what Florida has been dealing with. Build it right once so it stands the test of time

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