End Nailing Vs Joist Hangers: Types & Common Uses

Patricia Oelze
by Patricia Oelze

Building things with your own two hands is the best feeling in the world. But anything you are building should be done safely and solidly, or your plans (and your project) could fail. Although end nailing may be easier and faster, it is not usually the best choice when building.

Joist hangers are much sturdier and more reliable than end-nailing and should always be used for something like decks or flooring. Joist hangers are not much more expensive than end-nailing and are a much longer-term investment and can give your installment several more years over end-nailing. End-nailing is okay to use for temporary, quick projects.

While end nailing is okay in some situations, you do not want to use this type of connection when building something that someone will be standing on, next to, or under. Joist hangers are not expensive and can give your project many more years of use than one done with end nailing.

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What Is End Nailing?

This is the most basic nailing technique, which is also the weakest. First of all, the end grain of the wood is the weakest, and you should never use this technique when building something you want to stay together.

End nailing is done by hammering a nail or two into the end of a post to attach it to the beam or decking. This type of attachment is typically only done as a temporary hold until it can be strengthened. In other words, you just do not use it in any type of permanent construction.

Other types of nailing, such as toenailing and bond nailing, are sturdier but still not as safe as using joist hangers. When building a deck, wall, flooring, or anything else that has to do with a home or something people will be using, there are laws in place that you have to follow. Most (if not all) building projects have to include joist hangers to be up to code.

What Are Joist Hangers?

A joist hanger is a metal connection plate used to anchor and support timber joists and other things like ceilings, floors, and decks. Most of the standard joist hangers wrap around three sides of the wooden beam and are held in place securely by nails.

Joist hangers are used to connect joists without putting holes in any other wood or walls. They are also excellent for supporting beams, rafters, and joists for ceilings, flooring, and decks. The right joist hanger will provide a sturdy and robust connection and resist downward force.

There are specific types of joist hangers that you have to use depending on whether your DIY project will be outside in the elements or not. For example, decks and outside walls of a building have to use certain metals and other materials that will stand up to water, snow, and wind.

What Are The Different Types Of Joist Hangers?

Some of the most common joist hangers include:

  • Mini hangers
  • Masonry joist hangers
  • Saddle joist hangers
  • Concealed joist hangers
  • I-Joist hangers
  • Face fix joist hangers
  • Standard jiffy joist hanger
  • Long leg jiffy joist hanger
  • Extended leg jiffy joist hanger
  • Timber to masonry joist hanger

The type of joist hanger you use depends on what project you’re doing. For instance, if you’re building an extremely heavy roof, you will most likely use masonry joist hangers instead of timber.

However, this all depends on the other materials in the project and where exactly the joists need to be placed.

Wood Joist Hangers

This type of joist hanger is usually used for decking projects, but it may be used effectively on any project involving the construction of wooden structures. If the structure will be exposed to the elements, zinc-coated models are advised.

Concealed Joist Hangers

It’s not always possible to secure a safe connection by attaching the side flanges of a joist hanger in difficult-to-reach regions, therefore you’ll have to utilize a concealed joist hanger.

Furthermore, instead of driving nails or screws into the end-grain of the lumber, this form of joist hanger can be put at the edge of a ledger board.

I-joist Hanger

This type of joist hanger is made of engineered wood and can support a significant amount of weight. These connection plates are frequently used to secure i-joists because they limit the likelihood of mistakenly driving nails and other common faults.

45-degree Angled Joist Hangers

You can use a 45-degree angled joist hanger if you don’t want to attach a joist to a ledger board at the appropriate angle.

These joist hangers are installed in the same way as any other type of joist hanger, with the exception that you must drive nails through them.

Main Differences Between Joist Hangers And End Nailing

The following are the main differences between joist hangers and end nails:

  • End nailing is a technique of driving nails through a joist and a ledger board.
  • Joist hangers are metal pieces that connect a joist to a ledger board.
  • Most building inspectors permit joist hangers, however end nailing is not an approved joist connection procedure.
  • End nailing connections are not regarded safe, but joist hangers make robust connections.
  • End nailing requires hammering a nail or a screw through the face-grain of the joist piece, whereas joist hangers use metal brackets to keep two beams together.
  • End nailing connections are only temporary, but joist hangers make permanent connections.

End nailing

This joist connection method can only be used to temporarily attach a joist to a ledger board and cannot be used as a long-term solution. A nail or a screw is driven through the ledger into the face-grain of a joist in this method.

As a result, because the nails are driven into the end grain of a joist, it doesn’t provide a lot of holding strength. If you’re working on a decking or roofing job, you can use end nails to join a joist to a ledger or a board until you can install a more stable connection solution.

Additionally, if you use end nails to construct a decking structure, your project will not be permitted by a building inspector. For more information on the gear you’ll need to build a deck, check out our guide to the best woodworking tools.

Is It Better To Use Nails Or Screws For Joist Hangers?

Because the nails penetrate the wall ledger, they provide additional joist load capacity and protection against wind uplift forces than standard-duty hangers.

So, what’s the best screw size for decking? Never use galvanized deck screws or drywall screws to attach joist hangers, according to the manufacturers.

Are Joist Hangers Stronger Than Screws?

Joist hangers are preferable because they allow for more precise joist positioning. They also enable toe-nailing and provide stability for the joist’s underside.
The hanger is now stronger than a toe-nail. While joist hangers are more expensive, they are a preferred choice due to their simplicity of use and enhanced strength.

Best Alternatives To Joist Hangers And End Nailing

End nailing isn’t actually a joist connection method because it’s only good for temporarily attaching a joist to a ledger board during construction.

As a result, joist hangers are the most dependable solution for ensuring that joists are securely fastened to ledger boards.


Toe-nailing is simply the process of pushing a nail through a joist’s vertical face and into a ledger board. A nail should be driven diagonally and approximately 1-3/4-inches into a ledger board or a joist, so you’ll need 12d nails to perform the task effectively.

Furthermore, this joist attachment approach necessitates driving the appropriate number of nails from each side, although the actual number of nails required depends on the joist type. It’s important to remember that applying too many nails can render a joist useless.

As a result, if you are unfamiliar with this technique, you should avoid employing it because even a slight error might harm the material and compromise the structure’s stability. Toe-nailing, on the other hand, provides a similar level of holding force as joist hangers when done correctly.

Related Questions

Are joist hangers necessary?
While joist hangers aren’t the most visible component, they’re the most important ones. If you install one of the wrong size, then it’s not going to be able to support any weight that’s set on top of it.
Without the joist hangers in a deck, or flooring, for example, it would be extremely hard to work on and has a higher chance of falling apart. So, because of this, joist hangers are necessary to help support the weight of whatever it s you’re using them for.
Is it OK to use screws on joist hangers?
You can only use screws on joist hangers that were exclusively created to be used for the joist hangers. Make sure you don’t use any other types of screws because they can’t support the loads and aren’t designed to withstand any force.
Even though joist hanger screws are fine, you’ll want to use some other attachments as well so that you can ensure that it holds up.
What can I use instead of joist hangers?
Instead of using metal joist hangers, you can use ledger strips, mortising and dowels, or sliding dovetails. However, what method you use highly depends on what exactly you’re using them for.
If you’re building a deck, for instance, then you’ll want to use the ledger strips so that you can support the joists. Mortising and dowels or sliding dovetails would not work in this circumstance.

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Wrapping Up

No matter what you are building, if you want it to stay together longer, it needs more than just end nailing. Look at it like this: End nailing is temporary while joist hangers are permanent.

Why build anything if you do not want it to be permanent? However, if you just need it to sit overnight, then nailing is fine, but then again, you may as well not start it until you’re ready to install the joist hanger anyway.

There is nothing more satisfying than relaxing on the deck that you built after a hard day of building. However, if you do not take the time to properly secure the connections with joist hangers, you may end up sitting on the ground.

And remember, even though your time is important, time is not money when you are building it yourself. It’s always a good idea to get some DIY experience under your belt, so why not start now?

Patricia Oelze
Patricia Oelze

I am a DIYer who loves writing about anything home-related. When I am not writing, you can find me studying for my PhD in Psychology, photographing nature, and swimming at the lake with my grandkids.

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