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  • Jessica Foster

How does the IRC regulate how floors should be constructed?

When it comes to how floors should be constructed, many factors come into play such as construction procedures and materials used. One constant is that the International Residential Code has strict regulations involving every aspect of how floors are constructed. These regulations are important as floors need to be designed in order to properly support weight. Dead loads refer to static weight that is static such as the weight of the building’s materials.. Meanwhile, live loads refer to dynamic weight such as occupancy. According to the IRC, proper flooring should have a uniform live load of 40 pounds per square foot (psf). Floors are designed with this in mind, as lumber is quality rated in order to meet this requirement. If a load is greater than what is approved, it can alter the wood fibers through compression and expansion which will lead to tears in the lumber.


Another factor to be accounted for is deflection. Deflection refers to the bending or sag caused by loading, and the IRC has regulations defining what “allowable” deflection is. Deflection always occurs when a structural member, such as a floor, is met by a load. It is typically better for the floor if deflection is at a minimum. Allowable deflection is determined by the structural member as well as its joist span, and the IRC has mandated that floors have an allowable deflection of L/360, with L referring to the length of the joist spans. Span length and maximum deflection correlate with each other, as the more stretched the spans are, the most maximum deflection that is allowed.


Cutting, notching, and drilling used for creating wood floor framing is also mandated by the IRC. Floor members that are cut, notched, etc, must be within the limits set by the IRC. These limits vary depending on the material used, as “notches in solid lumber joists, rafters, and beams shall not exceed one-sixth of the depth of the member, shall not be longer than one-third of the depth of the member and shall not be located in the middle one-third of the span".


There are many aspects involved with the construction of flooring, including design, materials, and procedures, and all of these have heavy regulations set. The flooring of your renovation project should be done right and be consistent with IRC code. Here at Fine Remodeling, we are your Delaware contractor experienced with IRC regulations, dedicated to making sure your project is done right the first time. Call to review your next project with us so you can be sure it meets the proper regulations.


E-mail sales@fineremodelingde.com and/or call 302-635-0375 to have a specific discussion about your dream project. It's our duty to help guide you as best we can.

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