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two-by-twelve douglas fir joists spaced 12 inches apart on center, for example, can span 20 feet, 7 inches, but the same joists spaced 24 inches part can only span 14 feet, 7 inches. cantilever
if the floor joists that span the length of your deck are installed too far apart, the boards on top will sag. if the joists are not all the same exact height, the deck’s surface will be uneven. it’s common sense that the less space there is between joists, the sturdier your deck will be.
how far apart should deck joists be spaced? deck joists are typically spaced either every 12 inches or 16 inches on center. the maximum joist spacing you can use will depend on the size and allowable span of your joists.
normally, floor joists are spaced 16 inches apart on center. this means from the center of one upright joist to the center of the next. given that 2x8s are actually 1-¾ inches wide, it works out to be 14-¼ inches between each joist. with some structures, floor joists are required to be 12 or 24 inches apart on center.
the amount of weight a 2×8 can support is going to depend on the span of the joist, and how far apart it is from the next joist. since you can span 13” with a 2×8 spf joist on 16 inch centers, but you ultimately decide to only span 8 feet with your joist on 12 inch centers, the weight bearing increases.
with some structures, floor joists are required to be 12 or 24 inches apart on center. to find the actual distance between the inside edges of each adjacent floor joist, subtract 1-¾ inches from either 12 or 24 inches.