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Q: Tim, I’ve never worked with metal joist hangers. How long have joist hangers been around? When I hold one in my hand, I question whether it’s actually strong enough to support all the weight that will be resting in it! Are they safe? Are there any best practices when it comes to using them both indoors and outdoors on decks? What about the beams that joist hangers are attached to? How do you size those correctly? What about the support posts? —Lisa K., Hartford, Conn.

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