Joists: making straight what was crooked

Joists are those bits of wood that span your room from wall to wall. The ceiling plasterboards are attached to them.

In our big bedroom, the joists were sagging quite significantly. They were not thick enough to span across the whole extension and hold up their own weight. They were sagging in the middle of the span by about 7.5 cm, or their own thickness.

That would be bad enough, but those same flimsy joists were also supporting a beam going in the other direction. And that beam had two posts resting on it that were supporting the whole roof of the extension. And that was rather worrying.

So we are now in the process of replacing the flimsy joists with much bigger ones, 20 cm thick. Plus two steel I-beams that will definitely be man enough to hold up the roof.

Back in July, we manoeuvred the I-beams up into the loft. Hilde was sitting up there manning the winch, while Alex and his dad made sure the beams didn’t hit anything on the way up through the balcony door and the big bedroom.moving the I-beam

They’ve been sitting there patiently, waiting for us to open up the edge of the roof on that side of the house. We need to extend the rafters there, and at the same time we can position the joists and get at the ends to nail them into the wall plate.

It takes a bit of doing to move the joists from the floor up into the loft. We each manage an end. One of them goes out through the balcony door (a very handy thing to have) and then we point the other end up into the loft. When enough of it is up there, Alex gets up into the loft and pulls it past the cross beam.

All it needs then is a bit of wiggling around to put it in the right place, and nail it in. Thankfully, they’re made of pine that isn’t very dense, so they’re not very heavy.nice and straight

Moving the steel I-beams is another story. That involved a trestle plank, some plastic tubing to function as rollers, and some rope to catch all of the above should it fall in mid span. With a bit of shoving and pulling, we did get it across the room.

We have replaced about half the joists now. They are also holding up the post that is holding up the roof. And it all looks a lot straighter and more secure. It feels like quite an achievement.

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