Rough Lumber Consider Crowns When Installing Rough Lumber
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Consider Crowns When Installing Rough Lumber

Observe a piece of rough lumber on its narrowest side. You will see an upward curvature. This is called crown. Skilled builders and carpenters know this lumber characteristic and how it affects the final feel and appearance of the floor or wall.

Crowns in Wall Studs and Floor Joists

You can check the crowns of wall studs and floor joists by holding one piece of joist and dropping one end to the ground. Hold the joist straight so that it becomes perpendicular to the ground. Look down along the finished edge of the narrowest side of the board and you will see some curvature. This is the crown.

Laying Out Wall Studs and Floor Joists

When the carpenters lay out the joists to make the floor and the studs to make a wall, check if they are considering the crowns. The crowns must be pointing to the same direction. When laying out the floor joists, they must be nailed in place so that all the crowns are pointing upwards. When setting the walls studs, the crowns must be pointing outwards.

Carpenters should also check rough lumber with severe crowns. Imagine putting side by side a floor joist with almost no crown and another joist with a severe crown. Skilled carpenters know the benefit of checking the crowns of all floor joists first before laying them out together. This way, joists with severe crowns could be set aside for other use. Also, joists in relation to their crowns could be put together to complement each other.

Viable Alternatives

You can avoid crown problems in rough lumber by using engineered wood products for your joists and studs. You can choose between engineered I joists and engineered floor trusses. Crowns in floor trusses are designed to flatten out later after they are installed. Wooden I joists have no crowns.

In locations where perfectly flat walls are required because of planned tile finishing or cabinet attachment, you can use engineered wall studs. Smooth walls are required in bathrooms and in the wall where you will set up your countertop. You can also incorporate steel studs in crucial locations.