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Joist Span Tables - Ceiling Joists

Ceiling Joist Spans for Southern Yellow Pine, Douglas Fir, and Eastern Spruce

Joist span tables - use these tables to determine lengths, sizes and spacing of ceiling joists. 

Note: Ceiling joists of the first floor of a two-story structure often serve as floor joists for the second floor.  If this is the case with your structure, use the Floor Joist Table to determine maximum joist length/load.

For example, the highlighted cell (below) shows that a 2" x 6" Southern Yellow Pine joist, with a grade of #2, and spaced 24" apart can have a maximum span of 10 feet - 0 inches (10-0), if you are designing your structure to support a plaster ceiling.

Joist Span Tables

Nominal Size Spaced (o.c.) Species/Grade ( No Storage/Drywall)
Y. Pine Y. Pine Doug. Fir E. Spruce
#1 grade #2 grade #2 grade Structural
2" x 4" 12 13-2 11-10 12-8 11-7
16 11-11 10-9 11-6 10-6
24 10-5 9-5 9-11 9-2
2" x 6" 12 20-8 18-8 19-11 18-2
16 18-9 16-11 18-1 16-6
24 16-4 14-2 15-7 14-5
2" x 8" 12 27-2 24-7 26-2 24-0
16 24-8 22-4 23-10 21-9
24 21-7 18-8 20-6 19-0
2" x 10" 12 34-8 31-4 32-9 30-7
16 31-6 28-6 29-9 27-9
24 27-6 23-1 26-0 24-3



Nominal Size Spaced (o.c.) Species/Grade (Limited Storage / Plaster)
Y. Pine Y. Pine Doug. Fir E. Spruce
#1 grade #2 grade #2 grade Structural
2" x 4" 12 9-1 8-3 8-9 8-0
16 8-3 7-6 8-0 7-3
24 7-3 6-6 7-0 6-4
2" x 6" 12 14-4 12-11 13-9 12-7
16 13-0 11-9 12-6 11-5
24 11-4 10-0 10-11 10-0
2" x 8" 12 18-10 17-0 18-2 16-7
16 17-2 15-6 16-6 15-1
24 15-0 13-2 14-5 13-2
2" x 10" 12 24-1 21-9 23-2 21-2
16 21-10 19-9 21-1 19-3
24 19-1 16-10 18-5 16-10

The above spans are based on American Softwood Lumber standard sizes.


For additional species of lumber, check out the Joist Span Calculator from the American Wood Council website.

** Note: The data in the tables above were obtained from Architectural Drawing and Light Construction by Edward J. Muller.


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