Subscribe or Renew Membership Subscribe Renew

Removing joist bracing

gcg's picture

Hey all,

I'm working on a basement remodel and actually going with the FHB article suggestion of using steel studs sistered to the joists to level the ceiling for drywall. 

Its a 1920s house and the ceiling area I'm working on has a 12' span with 1x8s on 16" center.  I need to remove one of the cross braces between all of the joists because they interfere with sistering the metal studs. The bracing is just 2 2x4s toe nailed crosswise to form an "x" between the joists, set halfway of the span.  I'm hoping the with age of the structure (not a whole lot of settling) and the fact that all the spaces b/w the joist where they rest on the foundation have long since been filled in the mortar, that there will be no movement when I cut out the braces. 

Any thoughts?

(post #86901, reply #1 of 22)

1x8s on 16" center>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Please tell us this is a misprint!

the cross braces>>>>>>>>>>>.

How about bridging?

Take out all you want.  Lasty I heard it is highly overated!

(post #86901, reply #2 of 22)

Instead of sistering with steel studs, maybe you should sister with 2x8's or 2x10's to reduce the bounce in your floor.  You can set them to a level line and they don't have to bear on anything at the ends, as long as they are nailed well to the existing joists.

(post #86901, reply #3 of 22)

what you said... but in an older house, that probably has an non-glued subfloor that's more than likely diagonal planking, I'm wondering if the bridging isn't a little more important than in a floor with glued sheet material? Just wonderin'

Now I wish I could give Brother Bill his great thrill
I would set him in chains at the top of the hill
Then send out for some pillars and Cecil B. DeMille
He could die happily ever after"

The Village Woodworks, Inc

Chapel Hill, NC


We'll have a kid Or maybe we'll rent one He's got to be straight We don't want a bent one He'll drink his baby brew From a big brass cup Someday he may be president If things loosen up

(post #86901, reply #4 of 22)

'Snort, I would think that doubling the strength of the joists would benefit the floor structure more than would leaving the bridging in place.  Won't be easy getting around all the wires, pipes etc. that are probably there though.  OK, I change my vote, metal stud furring and leave the bridging in place. 

(post #86901, reply #7 of 22)

Hey guys,

Thanks for the replies. I appreciate the feedback but to be honest there is not much bounce in the floor and if there is, I haven't noticed. I've attached some pictures in case there are any misconceptions about my description. I don't see how these could add any stiffness or longitudinal rigidity to the joists. They seem be there to keep the joist perpendicular to the beam and foundation as if they tilted they would clearly loose effectiveness. Will I structurally be any worse off by cutting one out between the joists?

(post #86901, reply #9 of 22)

You could probably remove the bridging and still be o.k. but the bridging does help stiffen the floor some. take it out and if things get bouncy put it back.why not leave it and furr down with wood and notch around them or use strapping as someone above mentioned.

(post #86901, reply #11 of 22)

Cross bracing takes the bounce out of a floor. As described, your floor joists are at the max of their span capability so removing bracing will make the floor more bouncy. By holding the joists in place, they are forced to share loads.

So if you remove them, you need to replace them.

I would opt for using strapping and shims to make for a straight ceiling as this also increases load sharing and decreases the vibratuions in a floor system.

But I also like mike's suggestion of sistering to increase strength instead of needing the cross bracing. The fact that you need to level this out for a ceiling tells us that the joists are sagging and already in need of some help and you are now adding the weight of a bunch of sheetrock to that load



Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!



Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #86901, reply #18 of 22)

They are there to keep the the joists from twisting.

As you load the joist the bottom is in tension, and the top in compression. The wood wants to twist to balance the strain in the fibers, which means it wants to go flat.

(post #86901, reply #19 of 22)

twisting is not an issue, the sheeting or flooring on top, and strapping below keeps that from happening, just makes all the joists share the load

(post #86901, reply #5 of 22)

I'd strap the ceiling with 1x3, shim where necessary, leave the bridging alone. Much easier than sistering and probably less expensive than metal studs that are more difficult to attach drywall to.

Beat it to fit / Paint it to match

Beat it to fit / Paint it to match

(post #86901, reply #6 of 22)

Can you just notch the studs and leave the bridging alone?


NAIL  IT !!!

NAIL  IT !!!

(post #86901, reply #8 of 22)

I could notch the studs but the steel studs are only 2 5/8 and I may go right through them. I'm also worried about them going out of true.

(post #86901, reply #10 of 22)

but the steel studs are only 2 5/8 and I may go right through them

Ok, so you are aiming for only the least bit of the stud below the joists.  I'll guess many folks had the same idea as I did, to have the galvanized set down about an inch under, about wher 1x strapping would be.

You can cut a surprising amount out if a galvanized stud.  Sure, they can get floppy, but that's why whe have long levels (or better yet, lasers) to true them up as they get screwed into the existing joists.

Even as skinny as those cross braces are (are those 2x3's ??) I'd leave them in.  They make metal stap cross vracing, but that'd be a ton of work, and you're stil lgoing to have all kinds of work nothing around electrrical, plumbing, mechanical stuff as is.  Not a good idea to commit your self to manhours in buckets you do not need to.

Occupational hazard of my occupation not being around (sorry Bubba)
I may not be able to help you Occupational hazard of my occupation not being around (sorry Bubba)

(post #86901, reply #12 of 22)

notching the steel around the braces is probably the simplest and easiest answer.



Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!



Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #86901, reply #13 of 22)

I'ld leave the braces in too, but I'ld run resilent chanel perpendicular to the joists, just find the lowest spot, rip up a bunch of shims and go to it ..

(post #86901, reply #14 of 22)

Thank you all for the feedback.  I think I'm going to go with notching the metal studs.  I only have to do twelve and it won't be so bad to just recheck straight with a level. 

I was almost tempted to just start hanging drywall on the joists last night because its really not bad.  There is no sag across the span but just some unevenness perpendicular to the joists.  Overall that is really not bad either but there were a couple spots that were really off and I didn't want to go throught the headache of finding out how bad it was when I had a 60 lb. sheet of drywall over my head. I used a water level to mark off a level spot in all four corners of the room and then found out that I only need to come down about of 1/2" so thats not too bad for saving the headroom.

(post #86901, reply #15 of 22)

if you're going to have a flat ceiling with no texture, then keep doing what you're doing but if you're going to texture it hardly any of the uneveness if any will be noticed. 

(post #86901, reply #16 of 22)


You are making to big a deal of it .

Knock them out a bay at a time as you run the steel studs.

Before you move to the next bay cut a piece of 2x6 solid blocking and put it back in where the x bracing was. If the metal stud top edge interfers with the new blockling, snip it with your metal master and smack it flat, then put the solid blocking in.

The solid blocking will be much better than the half azzed  X bracing shown in your photo.

Edited 6/18/2009 1:17 pm ET by DaveRicheson

(post #86901, reply #22 of 22)

Do yourself a favor.....

Noticed you said "check each one with a level"

Better to get the ones on the two ends dead nut and use a nylon line pulled tight like a guitar string to set the rest. Or a laser if it's available to you. (I like a line better myself, unless long distances)

Set line 1/2" below two good ends; set each of the ones in the field 1/2" down as well. Don't set it AT the will touch and push down a little, then the next, and by the time you get to the middle, you'll be off 3/8 of an inch.

If the floors are bouncy, 2x blocking on edge goes a long way toward stiffening, by transferring weight on one joist to three. then you can notch the steel where the block is.

I don't know you, so if this is spelling out something too simply for someone who's skilled....forgive me..:)


(post #86901, reply #17 of 22)

to level the ceiling

be simpler, just install the steel studs at right angles to the joists

(post #86901, reply #20 of 22)

Could you cut/knock brace loose, install the stud, then reattach brace cutting the top flange of the metal stud as needed.

The end of the brace will be "inside" the C of the stud.

TFB (Bill)
TFB (Bill)

(post #86901, reply #21 of 22)

Thanks for the advice everyone.  After all the explanation on the blocking I can see how it helps the joist share the load. 

I went with knocking out every other cross brace (as the steel studs only go on one side of every joist) and then nailed in 2x6 blocking with a small corner nipped off.  There is plenty of room for the joists and I think the 2x6 blocking is probably more effective than the old cross braces. 

All in all it took about an hour and tonight I'll be putting up those steel studs hassle free.