I-Joists Storage, Handling, And Safety Recommendations

As with all high-quality products, engineered wood products such as I-joists necessitate proper storage and handling during distribution and at worksites to avoid product damage and worker injury. The following APA guidelines are suggested to minimize the risk of physical or moisture damage to I-joints, as well as to protect the installer from injury.

Safe Storage and Handling 

  •  Ensure that I-joints are stored, stacked, and manipulated vertically and at level only;
  • Avoid storing I-joints on the ground or horizontally;
  • Cover material to protect from weather damage;
  • Carefully handle I-joints so that they are not dropped or mishandled during distribution;
  • Open bundles only at the time of installation;
  • Avoid cutting, drilling, or notching I-joint flanges except when trimming to length;
  • Cease installation and contact the supplier if damaged goods are detected. Do not try to repair or use damaged products;
  • Avoid walking on wrapped bundles or material directly, as it may be slippery.

Important Safety Guidelines 

It's important to recognize that I-joints are not stable until they are completely installed. Therefore, they will not carry any weight until the materials are fully braced and sheathed with panels fully fastened to the top flanges. Serious injuries can occur if people step on or walk on the product before complete installation.

  • Use hangers, blocking panels, cross-bridging, and rim board to brace and nail each I-joist during installation;
  • Blocking is necessary when I-joints are applied continuously over interior supports, and a load-bearing wall is planned at that location;
  • Prevent rollover or buckling by applying temporary bracing, or struts, until permanent sheathing has been completed;
  • Install temporary bracing that's a minimum of 1-inch to 4-inch, at a length of at least 8 feet and spaced no more than 8 feet on center. Secure with at least two 8d nails attached to the top surface of each I-joist;
  • Alternately, sheathing can be affixed to the top flange of the initial 4 feet of I-joists at the end of the bay.
  • Install and affix permanent sheathing to each I-joist before allowing load-bearing weight on the floor system.


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