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How to level ceiling joists

Ceiling joists are usually crowned, but the amount of crowning varies from board to board. Installed properly, 1-byinch spruce or pine strapping runs perpendicular to the direction of the ceiling joists.

Strapping attaches to the bottom of the joists, at inch intervals, across the width of the ceiling. Strapping alone helps even out height discrepancies between joists, while shimming above strapping or planing low joists takes care of significant variances.

How to Level & Sheetrock or Drywall on an Uneven Ceiling

Measure along the length of an end joist that is adjacent to a wall, and make a mark at Drive a nail halfway into that joist at the mark. Hook the end of the tape measure to the nail and mark the joist every 16 inches along its length across the room. Remove the nail when all measurements are marked. Use a chalk line to create a line which extends across the room from one marked joist to the other. Chalk a line at each opposite pair of marks. The chalk lines will be the layout marks for the strapping using a inch-on-center layout.

The center of each strapping board will be 16 inches from the center of the adjacent strapping board. Measure across the ceiling joists at a degree angle. Ensure that the end of each strapping board lands on the center of a joist.

Cut the first board, with a saw, to fit the measurement. Install the first strapping-board on the ceiling joists, next to the wall, across the joists.

how to level ceiling joists

Nail the strapping board to each joist with two 10d nails with a hammer or pneumatic nail gun. Install strapping boards across the joists at each chalk line. Position the edges of the strapping boards along each chalk line as you install the strapping across the ceiling. This will maintain the inches-on-center layout for the drywall installation. Install a last line of strapping boards across the room against the opposite wall. This line of strapping boards will be less than inches-on-center, but it is necessary to secure the drywall to the ceiling next to the wall.

Check the strapping boards for level as you work your way across the room nailing the strapping to the joists. Use an 8-foot level and hold it against the strapping board you are installing, before nailing the strapping in place. Another option is set up a laser level running just below the strapping; measure from the laser line to the strapping to gauge its height at each joist intersection.

If a joist is higher or lower than its neighboring joists, correct it before you nail the strapping into place, as follows. Measure the gap between the underside of the strapping board and the joist, when a joist is higher than its neighboring joists. Install the shim material between the strapping and the joist by nailing through the strapping and the shim into the joist. Plane down any joist that is lower than its neighboring joists -- remove excess joist material with a hand-held power planer before you nail the strapping into place.

Check the level of the strapping, after you plane the joist, and ensure the strapping is level across the joist. It is only necessary to remove material from low hanging joists where the strapping boards cross the joist. Install the strapping to the adjusted joist by nailing through the strapping into the adjusted joist.

Use two 10d nails at the intersection of the strapping and the joist. Fred Howe, a writer sinceholds a B. A retired correctional officer from Pelican Bay State Prison in California, Howe has also worked as a sous chef and catering manager. Skip to main content. Home Guides Home Home Improvement Troubleshoot, Fix and Repair Ceiling joists are usually crowned, but the amount of crowning varies from board to board.

Things You Will Need 1-byinch lumber Framing hammer 10d nailing gun 10d nails Chalk line Tape measure Power saw 8-foot level or laser level Shim material. Tips Do not forget to adjust light boxes or air returns to the new level of the ceiling before you install any drywall. Use a pneumatic nail gun to install the 10d nails, because it is faster and easier.Ceiling joists are usually installed either 16 or 24 inches on center, which means roughly 16 or 24 inches apart.

If you only need to know which direction the joists run, access the attic and take a look. But if you need to know the exact location of each joist, you have a couple of options. Place the end of a tape measure against the corner created where the wall meets the ceiling.

Extend the tape measure out 16 inches. Tap the ceiling lightly with your knuckles. You are trying to differentiate the hollow sound that indicates a bay or space between two ceiling joists from the solid sound made when your knuckle taps the spot where a joist is located.

You may need to tap several inches on either side of the inch mark before you find the joist. If you have a stud finder, you can use it instead of making sound comparisons. Stud finders sense changes in density as they predict a joist location. Repeat for any other joists you need to locate.

Electronic stud finders indicate the presence of joists and wall studs by illuminating a light or signaling with a tone once the wall density increases.

Most also have an adjustment wheel on them that allows you to set the density for your wall. Robert Korpella has been writing professionally since He is a certified Master Naturalist, regularly monitors stream water quality and is the editor of freshare.

Korpella's work has appeared in a variety of publications. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Arkansas. Skip to main content. Tip Electronic stud finders indicate the presence of joists and wall studs by illuminating a light or signaling with a tone once the wall density increases.

About the Author Robert Korpella has been writing professionally since Korpella, Robert. How to Find a Ceiling Joist. Home Guides SF Gate. Note: Depending on which text editor you're pasting into, you might have to add the italics to the site name.

Customer Service Newsroom Contacts.Discussion in ' Carpenters' Talk ' started by brokenmanJun 14, Log in or Sign up. Screwfix Community Forum. Leveling ceiling joists for plasterboard Discussion in ' Carpenters' Talk ' started by brokenmanJun 14, HIi, I am approaching the stage of plasterboading after 4 years! How good do they need to be? Thanks in advance Regards Rob. Personally, I wouldn't even bother for 15mm. Your hardly going to notice once it's skimmed over and painted.

No need for noggins to catch the board edges either as the plasterer will scrimtape the joints before skimmming. Cheers - sounds like a good plan. I will double check the ceiling with a line and see how bad it is. Regards not needing noggins, I was told if your ceiling joists were at mm centres you didnt need noggins, any bigger and you do.

how to level ceiling joists

As was said everyone seems to have their own approach and probably varies from area to area. As this room is big, I think more chance of flexing in ceiling room above so will be bracing floor with 2x8 noggins down centre of room 8 inch joists and 2x2 noggins to pick up Plasterboard edges Regards Rob. Who needs the Costra Brava with this weather! When laying up plaster board will check before laying up sheets and maybe chuck a bit of gripfill on any high joists and use screw to pull it into postion saving final tighten for when grip fuill has gone off.

Will be getting place skimmed anyway. Cheers Rob. You must log in or sign up to reply here. Show Ignored Content. Share This Page Tweet. Your name or email address: Do you already have an account? No, create an account now. Yes, my password is: Forgot your password?By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie PolicyPrivacy Policyand our Terms of Service.

It only takes a minute to sign up. So I noticed that my year old one floor home joists are not even, some areas it's bowed down. I have read the standard fix to this is strap the ceiling with 1X3 straps, perpendicular to the joists at 16 on center. Thank you. Sister with steel stud using a lazer. Lazer a line across at your lowest point and sister on the line. Steel stud will stay come straight, stay straight throughout the installation and after the installation.

It's easy to notch around existing obstacles and easy to work around with anything new going in. This is actually a perfect example www. If you have a small area that is out of flat, then yes, you could put a lot of shims into that small area. If you are not using drywall, but some kind of dropped ceiling, then the joists don't matter at all and you can ignore them.

Levelling Floor Joists – How to Level an Old Floor

But if as is likely the joists have become wildly out of flat, and you're planning to put up a drywall ceiling, ask yourself: how am I going to fasten the drywall? Hanging drywall, and possibly insulation of some kind, from the ceiling means you will have a limited selection of places to fasten the drywall. Trying to rely on some tiny "islands" that you have shimmed down will make the support even weaker and more likely to sag or bow. The reason for crossing the joists with furring strips is so that you can shim above the strips to get a flat surface, then fasten the drywall to those strips at whatever interval you are comfortable with.

Having done this same job a few years back, it's not as hard as you think, and it beats a lot of the alternatives. Be wary of how you determine "flat", though. A string is a better option than a level.

The ceiling doesn't have to be perfectly level. It just needs to be flat. Sign up to join this community. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top. Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. How to level uneven ceiling joists for sheetrock placement Ask Question. Asked 1 year, 1 month ago. Active 1 year, 1 month ago. Viewed 2k times. Active Oldest Votes. Joe Fala Joe Fala 5, 4 4 silver badges 30 30 bronze badges.

Thanks Joe, it would be great to see a picture. Would the steel studs ran right next to each joist? And drywall is mounted on them, not the joist? So after that, the drywall will be screwed to the metal studs, correct? You got it!Glenda Taylor is a contractor and a full-time writer specializing in construction writing. She also enjoys writing business and finance, food and drink and pet-related articles. Her education includes marketing and a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.

In new residential construction, the contractor attaches drywall panels directly to the ceiling joists and fills the seams with joint compound. If you live in an older home, however, you may have to modify the ceiling before you can give it a finished look. If the existing ceiling is plaster or features wiring or plumbing that extends below the joists, which is common in basements, you'll have to extend the joists.

The standard method of preparing a frame to hold the panels, known as furring, provides a structural base to which you can attach large drywall sheets or other specialty-ceiling materials. Locate the ceiling joists using a stud finder if you're furring out an existing ceiling, and pop a chalk line, lengthwise, over the center of every joist. Standard joist spacing is 16 to 24 inches.

Measure the length of one chalk line and attach 1. Insert one nail every eight inches. Center the furring strips directly over the original ceiling joists. Install as many furring strips as necessary to cover the chalk line. For example, if your chalk line is 12 feet long, you will install one whole eight-foot furring strip, butting it against one wall, and then measure and cut four feet from another strip and attach it over the remaining space.

how to level ceiling joists

Cut furring strips so they will not cover wires or pipes that extend below the joists in an unfinished basement. This occurs when the plumber or electrician installed pipes or wiring slightly below joist level. Cut a furring strip to fit. Repeat the measuring and cutting process on the other side of the wires or pipes. This will leave a gap in the furring strip over the pipes or wires, but that's okay.

When you install the drywall, you won't insert screws in that specific spot. Install furring strips perpendicular to the ceiling joists when you need a smaller or larger space between strips to install specialty ceilings, such as tiles.

Space perpendicular strips as far apart as indicated by the manufacturer of the ceiling material. For example, if you're installing inch tin ceiling tiles, you'll space the furring strips 18 inches apart.

Install wider furring strips when you're running them perpendicular to the joists. If you use one-by-four furring strips, you can insert two evenly spaced nails where the strip crosses every joist for added security. If an old drywall or plaster ceiling is sagging, consider removing the existing ceiling materials instead of furring out the joists and adding drywall. Furring out a ceiling will reduce headroom.

how to level ceiling joists

If you use standard two-by-two furring strips, which actually measure 1. Pin Share Tweet Share Email. Furring strips provide a structural base to hold ceiling materials.

Furring Strips for Drywall.A key part to building any structure, such as a house, garage or a deck, is having a level floor. Ledger boards, beams, rim boards and header boards must be level to ensure the joists, which are attached to these key components, are level as well. Ledger boards are attached to the structure and used to secure the deck to the wall of the building.

Beams span across the post and allow the joist to rest on top. Rim boards are joists you install along the outside perimeter of the deck, while the header board is a joist you install on the opposite end of the ledger board to help secure the center joist. Check the installed beams and ledger boards on which you'll set the joist. Place a 4-foot level on the top edge and check the center bubble to make sure it is within the lines.

Raise the left or right side of the level until the bubble is centered to determine what end of the beam is high or low if it is not level. Crouch down so you're eye level with the ledger board and beams, and look at the top edge. Inspect for any crowns, which are bows in the wood that can cause the top edge to be uneven. Don safety gear. Make adjustments to the beams and ledgers before or after you've installed them where needed. Remove the fasteners, screws, nails or bolts that secure the beams or ledger board where they aren't level.

Do this with the appropriate tool, such as a screw gun for screws, a hammer or cats paw for nails, and an adjustable wrench for bolts and nuts. Pry the ledger board up or down until it is level. You can pry them with the help of another individual while you reattach the lumber using old or new fastener hardware.

Lay out one joist on the far right and far left of the deck; the outside joist should be as straight as possible. Secure the outside joist to the ledger board using hanging brackets. Toenail the outside joist to any beams it may be resting on to secure it into place. Hold up any header boards and secure them to the opposite end of the joist to form the rim of the deck.

Place the level on the top edge of the rim boards to make sure they are level. Make any slight adjustments by tapping the wood with a mallet. To make larger adjustments, you may have to backtrack and look at the beams and ledger board to make sure they are level.

How to Find a Ceiling Joist

Lay out the center joist placement on the rim boards, typically 16 inches on center. Take each joist and eye the thin edge of the board to find the crown. Flip the crown so it is up. In severe crown situations, remove the board and use it for smaller spans, cut it for blocking, or return it to the company from which you purchased it.

Place each joist on the center mark, making sure the top edge matches the rim boards. Attach them using hangers or fasteners such as nails or screws.

Josh Arnold has been a residential and commercial carpenter for 15 years and likes to share his knowledge and experience through writing. He is a certified journeyman carpenter and took college-accredited courses through the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters training center.

As a Los Angeles-based union carpenter, Arnold builds everything from highrises to bridges, parking structures and homes. Skip to main content. Tip To expedite the deck-building process, try to buy the straightest lumber possible. Also, avoid lumber with large knots that could weaken the wood.

Warning When working with wood and hand tools, wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris and work gloves to prevent splinters or cuts.

References 3 Carpentry Fourth ed.Before you attempt to fix your sagging floors, you have to figure out what's wrong in the first place. If you don't know what you're doing, you should reach out to a professional, especially when dealing with uneven floors in an old house with moisture damage.

But there are ways that you can fix the issue yourself though. Floors tend to settle near the center of a house because the perimeter floors are constructed over a sound, deep foundation. The perimeter walls tend to settle very little. If you're experiencing sloping, you need to inspect the support beams. If you have a house that's built over a basement, you need to examine the beams and posts where they meet the floor. Make sure that you don't have wood posts set on dirt floors or with concrete poured around the bases.

These type of posts can rot and melt into the floor. If this happens, the house will settle from bottom to top. To test if you have rotting wood posts, push a screwdriver into the post at the floor line. If the area is mushy, then that's why your floors are sloping. Another reason that your floor could be sloping is because of insect damage and moisture.

If you have a damp basement or crawlspace, look to see if there's insect damage. Powderpost beetles leave joists and beams filled with small holes, and carpenter ants make their appearance at the first sign of warm weather in the spring. Termites leave telltale mud tunnels on foundations and posts.

When you fix your moisture problems, this will fix your sloping floor issue. If your floor joists have been cut improperly to install pipes, wiring or HVAC ducts, this could be causing your floor to slope. If you have improper holes and notches from alterations and running service lines, this can be the source of weakened joists. There shouldn't be any cuts or penetrations in the middle third of the joist or at the bottom of the joist either. If there are notches at the end of the joist, they should not exceed a quarter of the joist depth.

Holes should be a minimum of 2 inches from the top or bottom of the joist. It also should be no larger than a third the depth of the joist, too. If you need to fix sagging floors, there are a variety of things you can do. You can try reinforcing metal, but this depends on the conditions you're encountering.


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