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Community and Q&A

Floor Joists – Hang or Set on Sill Plate

BlackFeet | Posted in Green Building Techniques on

Hello all.

can anybody link me to an article that discusses the pros and cons of hanging the joists versus setting the joists on top of the sill plate?

I would like to know which one is more energy efficient. But I also would like to know which one is more materials effective. It seems like setting the joists creates a need for more sheathing, joist rim, siding, and steps to get up that additional 12”.

My foundation is being poured this week and I have to make a decision!

Thanks for any help!

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  1. Expert Member


    There are advantages to hanging the joists. As you say, the main 0ne being you can reduce the height from grade to the finished first floor ( The added material costs for setting the joists conventionally are really a wash with the increased labour and material of hangers).

    The complications come from having to either insulate the exterior of the foundation, or figure out how to introduce insulation between your ledger and the foundation.

    I can think of a few alternatives to get to a similar result:

    - Support the joists on stud walls set inside your foundation that bear on the footings.

    - Form a ledge into the inside of your foundation deep en0ugh for both insulation and a sill-plate for the joists to bear on.

    Form a ledge just deep en0ugh for some insulation and a ledger to sit on and use hangers.

    Whichever you choose you need to think through how everything intersects at the top of the foundation-wall. Does the subfloor carry through? If not what happens between the subfloor and the exterior walls? What happens at doorways? How do services in the exterior walls get down into the floor? Make sure you have a detailed section through that area before going ahead.

  2. joenorm | | #2

    One advantage I can think of to setting them is that you have a way into to your crawlspace from the exterior if you need to add wiring in the future.

  3. BlackFeet | | #3

    Thanks Malcom and Joe. Good points that I went over with my engineer on. We are going to set them.

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