How To Support Ceiling Joists From Above? (Easy!)

A ceiling joist can be supported by ‘hanging’ them to the beams about them. This process is generally done to reduce the span of ceiling joists.

Ceiling joists are structural components that go from one exterior support wall to another and span the narrow part of the house to maximize their efficiency.

ceiling joists

Beams are different from ceiling joists as they’re the main load-bearing member of any structure. Joists, on the other hand, offer extra support to the ceiling below and the space above it. 

Generally running parallel to rafters, ceiling joists are an essential component of any house as their job is to support the things above such as an attic, roof, or another floor. The need for hanging ceiling joists comes from two things – what’s going to be above them and whether you want to eliminate any support walls. 

In this article, we’re going to go step-by-step over the process of supporting ceilings joists from above and reinforcing them 

Step-By-Step Guide To Support Ceiling Joists

ceiling joists

Here’s the step-by-step guide to installing ceiling joists from above:

1. Install the beams


Installing the beams if it’s new construction. In this step, the beams are supported by placing them atop the walls of the building.

They are then secured with metal angles and dowels, and concrete. Insulate the ends of the beams with bituminous felt. 

beams on concrete band
beams on concrete band

2. Positioning The Ceiling Joists

Lay down the positioning of the ceiling joists which is generally every 16 inches. Hold the joist up within the layout lines or if you’re working on a house with a sloped roof, clamp it to the corresponding rafter. 

Place the joist’s other end against the beam and drive a few nails at a 45-degree angle to hold it there. This technique is called skew-nailing or toenailing. 


3. Securing The Joists

Grab a joist hanger and push it against the point of contact between the ceiling joist and the face of the beam. Hammer it in place and secure it. 

Finally, secure the construction by using hanger nails and hammering them through the holes on the hanger, and onto the beam. Repeat the entire process until all joists are in place. It’ll take 6 hanger nails on average per ceiling joist. 


How To Reinforce Ceiling Joists? 

A simple and tested way of reinforcing ceiling joists is by ‘sistering’ the joists. This is essentially adding new ceiling joists to strengthen the structure. 

sistering joists

Steps To Reinforce Ceiling Joists

1. The Setup

First, clear out the joist spaces by getting rid of any debris, insulation, and blocking between the joists and reveal their full length. 

Do not touch the rafters and trusses as you don’t have to work on them. 

2. Measuring And Cutting The Joists

Before installing the new joists, you’ll need to ensure they’re the same size as the old ones. 

These sister joints should be identical. For this, you need to measure the joists already in place and cut the new ones accordingly. 

reinforcing joists

3. Installing And Securing The Sister Joists 

Place a new sister joist right up against its older counterpart so that its edges are flush. Stick and hammer them together using 10d nails and do the same for sister joists on any supporting walls or beams, if available. 

You may need to place blocking between the joists. These are wooden blocks installed at a 90-degree angle between the joists, depending on the local safety code. 

wooden block

How To Prevent Or Fix A Sagging Ceiling? 

A ceiling may become saggy over time because of many reasons such as overloading, moisture, faults, or damage to the ceiling supports. 

Sagging is a sign that your ceiling requires fixing as it can be potentially dangerous if left unaddressed. Not only sagging but also uneven spots on the ceiling is a potential wake-up call for you to do something about it. 

Let’s look at some of the most common causes of a sagging ceiling and how to address them. 

1. Ceiling Supports Being Compromised

Beams and ceiling joists form the primary support structure for any ceiling as they hold everything in place. Damage to these components can cause a sagging ceiling. 

Reasons for damage could be wear and tear over time and excess moisture build-up. Termites, too, can contribute to it as they can easily damage any wooden pieces. 

These problems can be fixed by reinforcing the ceiling supports or replacing any overly damaged members.

Also, consider an exterminator for getting rid of any termites and other pests. 

2. Inadequate Ceiling Support 

Let’s during the construction, if components with inadequate size, strength, and build weren’t used. This can lead to gradual sagging of the ceiling. The spacing between the members should also be perfect. 

This is an issue that develops gradually and you have plenty of time to address it before it gets out of hand. 

The best way to prevent it is by making sure everything is perfect during construction. As far as fixing an old construction is concerned, your best bet is to reinforce it using sister joists. 

3. Overloading

Overloading can be a result of multiple reasons such as the build-up of snow or moisture atop the ceiling. Filling the attic up too much, insulting, or the added load from tiling are other culprits.

In case of a pooling up, get rid of the snow and moisture causing the overloading. The same goes for filling up the attic beyond its stipulated capacity. 

If over-insulating is the culprit, make sure the material is evenly spread out or seek professional help to figure out the right way to do it. 

When it comes to tiling, consider using lighter materials such as metal or asphalt, instead of tiles. 

Final Remarks 

In the article, we went over the steps involved in this process. It’s a fairly straightforward yet large undertaking

We also addressed the issue of sagging in a ceiling and how to prevent and fix it. 

Supporting ceiling joists from above is done by ‘hanging’ them to beams above to reinforce the structural integrity.