What Is a Joist Hanger: Guide to Usage and Benefits

May 21, 2024

In the world of construction, ensuring the structural integrity of your project is paramount. One tool that plays a crucial role in maintaining this integrity is the joist hanger. This article delves into the importance, usage, and types of joist hangers, as well as their installation process and benefits.

"Joist hanger problem" by sparr0 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/.


Joist hangers are instrumental in both the structural integrity and aesthetic appeal of outdoor living spaces such as decks, pergolas, and pavilions. Their popularity is on the rise due to their dual role in providing structure and enhancing visual appeal.

What Are Joist Hangers?

Joist hangers are metal brackets designed to attach and hold lumber floor joists in place against a structure's beams. They typically come in various sizes, usually fitting 2x6, 2x8, or 2x10 inch joists. Most joist hangers are three-sided, wrapping around the bottom and the sides of the joist, with modern designs often featuring two-piece adjustable brackets.


  • Deck Beams: Span the length of the deck along or parallel to the house.
  • Floor Joists: Structural boards running perpendicular to deck beams.
  • Joist Sizes: Typically 2x6, 2x8, or 2x10 inches.

How to Use Joist Hangers

The installation of joist hangers is straightforward but must be done correctly to ensure the structure's integrity:


  1. Hold the wood joist in position flush against the adjacent lumber.
  2. Drive the fastener fully into the beam.
  3. Secure the joist-to-beam bracket to the end of the joist through pre-drilled openings.

"Joist hanger gap" by sparr0 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/.

How Do Joist Hangers Work?

Joist hangers connect joist lumber to a ledger board, beam, or rim joist. Made from strong steel, they prevent deck floors or pergola ceilings from twisting or shrinking. These hangers ensure that the deck floor or roof remains squared and strong and can also serve as decorative elements to enhance aesthetic appeal.


  • Ensure the structural integrity of decks and ceilings.
  • Prevent twisting and shrinking of wood over time.
  • Enhance the aesthetic appeal of the structure.

Load-Bearing Capacity

Joist hangers are rigorously tested for building code compliance (IBC and IRC). The weight capacity varies depending on the size of the joist:

  • 2x6: 400 lbs
  • 2x8: 500 lbs
  • 2x10: 600 lbs
  • 2x12: 700 lbs


Joist hangers are available as one-piece or two-piece components. Here’s a simplified guide to installing them:


  1. Hold the wood joist in place against the beam with a clamp or assistance.
  2. Secure the joist hanger using galvanized steel screws, stainless steel screws, or coated steel screws for durability.
  3. Drive fasteners through pre-drilled openings to attach the joist to the hanger.

Popular Brands

When it comes to joist hangers, some brands stand out for their quality and reliability:

  • Simpson Strong-Tie: Known for high-quality, strong, galvanized steel hangers.
  • Wild Hog Railing: Offers robust and reliable joist hangers.

These brands are suitable for various applications, including pergolas, pavilions, arbors, and patio covers.

Learning Resources

For those interested in further enhancing their knowledge and skills in deck building, the following resources can be invaluable:

  • Deck Framing Guide: A comprehensive guide on deck framing and construction.
  • Deck Glossary: Explains terminology and parts involved in deck building.
  • Railing Style Guide: Helps you choose the appropriate railings (aluminum, composite, etc.) for enhancing outdoor spaces.

Joist hangers are indispensable in deck building, providing both structural support and aesthetic enhancement. They are versatile, easy to use, and available in various configurations to suit different structural needs. Proper installation and choice of high-quality brands ensure a durable and visually pleasing outdoor living space.

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