Designers often ask if special considerations are necessary for partition walls that are parallel to the floor joists and located between the joists. The walls are typically non-load-bearing or lightly loaded. Is floor sheathing alone adequate for load transfer to the floor joists or should an additional joist be added? What about blocking between the joists?
In residential construction, the floor sheathing is generally sufficient to support the vertical load from a non-bearing partition wall that is parallel to the floor joists. Technical Note: Non-Load-Bearing Partitions on APA Structural Panel Floors from The Engineered Wood Association (www.apawood.org) gives the maximum allowable partition load based on the sheathing thickness and joist spacing.
However, the floor joists must also be adequate to support the additional load from the wall. This verification can be achieved with our Forte Software.
Nonetheless, this does not ensure good floor performance. For better performance, the designer may wish to add a joist or blocking panels below the non-bearing wall. The recommended detail for mid-span blocking -PB1- detail can be found in our literature TJ - 4000 on page 10. Spacing between panels would depend on designer/builder preference.
One exception is a braced wall as defined in section 6 of the IRC. For a braced wall condition, full height blocking or a parallel framing member is required above and below the braced wall as shown in figure R602.10.8(2).
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