How to Support Ceiling Joists from Above

Ceiling joists are an essential part of a ceiling’s structural support system. However, installing structurally-fit supports from above can be pretty confusing, especially if you are a newbie to roof works. To ensure stability, there’s a need to carefully select the points to reinforce.

In this guide, we will discuss in what situations you can support ceiling joists from above and a step-by-step guide for each. Let’s get started.

How to Support Ceiling Joists from Above

Can You Reinforce Ceiling Joists?

Yes, you can reinforce ceiling joists when the need arises through a process technically referred to as sistering. First off, clear the joist space by removing all insulation and debris so you can view the entire length and where it ends.

Next, cut the Sister Joists using a circular saw. After this, create new joist lumber for each sister joist. Finally, install your Joists each next to an existing face and nail properly.

Can Ceiling Joists Be Raised?

Absolutely, yes. Although raising ceiling joists can be tasking, it always leaves a grander feeling afterward. Except if you are an expert DIYer, it is better to hire a qualified contractor for the work.

No matter how impossible it looks, it is doable following the right steps.

How to Support Ceiling Joists from Above

Supporting ceiling joists from above aids the hanging of items with a more unique and elegant style. Besides that, it also frees up a lot of space. Beyond the aesthetic enhancement, it is structurally beneficial when you’re adding heavy objects to existing ceiling joists.

For all the processes, get a pack of solid earth magnets, a dowel/stick, a ladder/scaffold, and painter’s tape. After getting the tools, follow the step-by-step guide below to support ceiling joists from above.

Step 1: Glue Earth Magnet to a Dowel

Hot glue earth magnets to the bottom/ends of a dowel. Alternatively, you could make use of an averagely long stick. After gluing, allow for complete drying of the adhesive before proceeding to the next step. This magnet-glued stick will serve as a stud finder after now.

Step 2: Locate the Ceiling Joists With the Earth Magnets

Climb a ladder to a height where your arm can comfortably reach the ceiling to identify where you have the ceiling joists.

As you hunt for the stud, hold the magnet up to the top and move the dowel about. Continue turning the attraction around until it pulls a little. Observe if it stays in place.

Step 3: Mark the Pull Locations With Painter’s Tape

To remember where the ceiling joists are, cut a little piece of painter’s tape and place it exactly where the magnet is sticking. This joist should ideally be near where you intend to hang your hefty object. As an added precaution, you can use the stud finder to locate and label both edges of your ceiling joists.

Remember that some large objects, such as a swing, may require multiple connections to the ceiling. Take your time measuring the distance between these different areas and marking them with painter’s tape or a pencil. Measure at least 14 in 36 cm of space in front and behind the joist.

Step 4: Select an Attachment Capable of Supporting the New Object

Now it’s time to find good support for the joist. However, consider how much weight the attachment will support. If you’re hanging a piece of furniture, lag bolts may be the best option for mounting the hefty object.

Step 5: Drill Pilot Holes In The Marked Positions

Measure the inner thread of the hanging attachment you’ll use to suspend the thing from the ceiling. Install a drill bit with the same diameter as that measurement.

Make the pilot hole as deep and as long as the anchor thread of the attachment you’re going to screw in.

Step 6: Screw Hanging Attachments Into Each Marked Spot

Finally, twist the threaded end of your attachment into the pilot hole. Continue twisting the hook or attachment into place until it’s wholly sturdy and snug.

Now, hang the objects from the hook. That’s all you need to support ceiling joists from above.

Do Ceiling Joists Support Rafters?

Joists and rafters are supported by each other. Both are used to form a strong structure in roof construction. In a standard roofing system, beams provide horizontal support while rafters provide vertical support.

The combination of both members prevents the roof from bowing under the weight of the roof system.

How Do You Attach Joists to Rafters?

Attaching Joists to Rafters

Joists are horizontal joists that run just above the ceiling and attach to the rafter. They must be attached securely to ensure the stability and longevity of the roof. Here are straightforward instructions on attaching joists to rafters.

Step 1: Check the Joist Angles

Confirm that the angle of the joists is horizontal

Step 2: Confirm the Configuration

Make sure the ends of the beams that might protrude above the rafter are cut off.

Step 3: Position the Shaft Properly

Set the end of the shaft on top of the wall.

Step 4: Attachment of Seismic Anchor

Attach a seismic anchor to the side of the rafter opposite the joist

Step 5: Attach the Joists

Nail the joist to the rafter and manually check the rafter/joist attachment’s stability by rocking it with your palm.

What Holds Up a Ceiling Joist?

There is one place where a ceiling joist hangs. A Ceiling joist is held up by a beam which is a home’s central structural support system.

It is either where it meets a beam on top of an interior or a partition wall. Because of their sizes, ceiling joists can be made of steel because of the home’s weight it carries.

How to Support a Load-bearing Wall From the Attic?

How to Support a Load-bearing Wall From the Attic

A load-bearing wall is a structural component that aids in the weight transfer from the roof to the foundation and soil. The load can also be called weight. Sagging ceilings, unlevel floors, drywall cracks, and sticky doors are possible consequences of removing a load-bearing wall.

Structural collapse occurs when a load-bearing beam above ceiling joists is inappropriately installed. It collapses and even harms on rare occasions. That is why the load-bearing wall should be supported instead. Below are some of the methods for providing support for load-bearing walls.

  • The removal and reconstruction of damaged masonry walls and piers with rich mortars (like non-shrinking mortars).
  • Installation of spikes and bolts-held reinforced mesh on both sides of the walls.
  • Injection of epoxy materials (high stress) into fissures in walls, columns, and beams, among other things.
  • Reinforcement of the walls to increase lateral strength.
  • Increasing the number of walls and columns.
  • Reconnection of the resistant elements including roof, wall, joist, and beams.

How to Install a Beam Above Ceiling Joists?

A load-bearing beam in the attic can be installed following the steps below;

Step 1: Identify, Label, and Mark the Beams

Identify the various sections of the beams and label them for easier assembly.

Step 2: Cut the Beams Sections

After the beams are marked, follow through to cut them to the same size with a miter saw, then double-check that they are all the same size.

Step 3: Apply Glue and Nailer to the Beams

Place the first piece of wood on your assembly table and dab a bead of wood glue along the edge where it will connect to the next. And make sure they are snug. To guarantee the parts are together, use 12 nails for overlapping.

Step 4: Mark the Ceiling Area For the New Installation

Measure and mark the ceiling area where the beams will be installed. To maintain line level and designate the essential grids, stretch a chalk line over the ceiling and snap it.

Step 5: Install Nailers on the Ceiling

Nailers are thin strips of wood that fit snugly over the beam. They’re simple to nail and allow you to secure the shaft over them without using bolts. Following the pattern you drew, install the nailers on the ceiling.

Step 6: Install Your Beam

Nail the beams’ edges directly into the wall and that completes the job. Now you have your load-bearing beams above ceiling joists in place.

How Do You Make a Support Beam?

Making a garage Support Beam

Although particular criteria for support beams must be met concerning the load being supported, the actual structure of support beams is a task that any handyman may do. Here are the steps.

Step 1: Confirm Local Specification and Mark Out the Measurements

Consult your local building codes to determine the proper length of lumber needed to cover the space for appropriate measurement.

Step 2: Cutting Process

Prepare the plywood on the saw horses. Next, cut the plywood following your local code specifics. While cutting, ensure the plywood strips are ¼ inch shorter. You can achieve this by placing one of the boards meant for beam on a flat sawhorse.

The sawhorse should be on the shaft board, so they fall closer to where the support post is. Also, ensure the end-to-end sides do not extend. Make sure to begin at one end of the beam and screw them together using 12 nails using a V pattern to avoid extension. The shaft is finished and ready for installation.

Do Ceiling Joists Run Parallel to Rafters?

Notably, supporting ceiling joists from rafters is very crucial. Construction-wise, ceiling joists most of the time run parallel to rafters. However, they may be perpendicular, occasionally.

You can confirm this in your homes through the attic. It is so, especially for those with a straightforward ceiling built with rafters. But for those homes built with complexities, the joists may run in different directions. In real-time, you can attach ceiling joists to roof rafters.

How Far Can a Rafter Span Without Support?

Rafters are typically installed in a series, side by side, to give a platform for roof decks and roof coverings to rest on. For larger spans, rafters are commonly built of pine or cedar tree.

For a 26 rafter, the maximum allowable span without support is 16 feet 5 inches when spaced 12 inches from the center, with the best quality.

Do Ceiling Joists Need Blocking?

When there is an overlap over a center beam, the ceiling joist must be blocked. If the distance between any two rows is more than eight feet, it should be given more blocking.

This is essential for a strong frame and ceiling security. And it also distributes the weight to all other joists instead of a particular one.

Do Ceiling Joists Need Bridging?

It is recommended to bridge your ceiling joist. Bridging is installed between roof joists to keep them in place. Structurally, bridging reinforces ceiling joists and prevents them from bouncing when people walk on them.

Furthermore, it promotes even load distribution and thus reduces deflection by half.

Do Ceiling Joists Need Hangers?

Ceiling Joists need hangers to avoid humid penetration through the timbers. Hangers connect joists without making visible holes in the walls and woods.

Since the introduction of hangers in the roofing system, it has hastened effectiveness in fastening joists rather than the regular hours before now. In addition, hangers resist downward force and provide structural stability.

How Do Ceiling Joists Attach to the Top Plate?

Attaching ceiling joists to hangers ensures your structure is sturdy and stable. First off, identify the ceiling joists. Then, determine the joists’ direction of travel over the ceiling with the top wall plate placed against the roof.

Finally, nail through the top plate with two nails, staggered, wherever the wall meets a beam.


With some structural changes, neglected places like basements can offer enough space for people who want more rooms. Supporting ceiling joists isn’t much cumbersome work. With the right tools, you may not need to engage a contractor.

But before placing a weight on your ceiling joist, check the life of your ceiling. For the ceiling and joist to carry this weight, it needs to be in good shape.

However, if you’re a newbie to roof work, you may want to consider hiring a professional. In any case, consult a construction engineer before making any structural change.

Arthur Kyser Morn

Hey Guys! It's me Arthur Kyser Morn, aka AKM, the proud founder and author of Tools Auditor. I'm a content marketer, a dad of 2 lovely sons, and a handyman. I love trying out new tools, and together with my team, I've been creating helpful guides since 2017 with tools and DIY tips.

Recent Posts