shimming a header

jaansuFebruary 3, 2013

I'm building a support header for a floor to allow tiling above. My header doesn't contact all the joists since they have a little variation. I need to shim where there are gaps between the header and the joists, but the commercial pine shims look too soft for all the pressure they will see. Anything else better for this application?

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millworkman

I would use metal shims

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 5:58PM
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snoonyb

"they have a little variation."

In order for your header to accomplish it's function it needs to loaded, so forget the shims, load the floor with the tile.
If you shim several, load the floor and a "little variation" occurs in the rest, are you then going to shim again, or remove some of the previously placed shims?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 7:44PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

If I was going to the trouble of adding a mid-span beam, I'd be very tempted to break the backs of the joists by cutting them through so the weight is all on the new beam from the get go, much less shimming required.
Casey

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 12:00AM
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bus_driver

"If I was going to the trouble of adding a mid-span beam, I'd be very tempted to break the backs of the joists by cutting them through so the weight is all on the new beam from the get go, much less shimming required.
Casey"

This would not be my choice.

Older joists perhaps were never "dressed" (run through a planer) for smooth surfaces and uniform size. They may vary in size when sawn from the log. In one case, the gap that developed between the top of the some of the joists and the subfloor boards was just a few thousandths of an inch. Coating business cards with Gorilla glue and inserting in the gaps ended the squeaks.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 7:45AM
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jaansu

I found composite shims in the lumber area of HD. This seems to be what is usually used. Perhaps metal would compress even less but these are rated for very high loads.

I'm not sure how loading the floor would cause new spaces to open up. More likely it would cause any existing ones to collapse. But that is exactly what I don't want since it would imply deviation from what seems to be a flat floor at the moment.

I'm probably overengineering this since I am adding 5/8" plywood on the floor anyway and then Ditra before tiling, but the composite shims should keep the joist aligned as they are now.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 3:50PM
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brickeyee

"I am adding 5/8" plywood on the floor anyway"

That does not reduce deflection by an appreciable amount.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:28PM
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alan_s_thefirst

Incompressible shims are the way to go, those composite ones are probably best, or metal. Don't hammer them in so much that you raise the floor.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 3:41PM
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jaansu

Those composite shims did the trick. I did put them in really snug and since I noticed the next joist/shim interconnection was now loose, backed off a little on it.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:03PM
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