Ceiling joist location help, (stud finding)


I

Ivan Vegvary

I own two stud finders and neither is giving me consistent results. Need to find all of the ceiling joists in my kitchen so I can install 2 light tubes and 18 can lights. Symmetry is important. Would like to put in 14" diameter daylight tubes so joist placement is important.
My problem is that the ceiling consists of 1/2 inch drywall under 1/2 inch plywood. This is throughout the house and is probably why the stud findersare not consistent. Complicating this is the fact that the joist are all over the place and not necessarily parallel. I have a few 13" gaps and a few 17" gaps etc. I know this from measuring up in the attic. Further difficulty is that I have about 24" of blown in insulation. If I had drywall only (you lucky bastards) I would simply go in the attic and shove an awl down along side each joist, and then run chalk-lines down below. Can't shovethe awl through the plywood! So I'm working down below on a ladder with ayogurt can attached to my portable drill (wife doesn't like dust) and it takes me about 6-7 holes to locate a single edge of a joist. Needs to be repeated at the other end which takes just as many tries. The next joist canbe measured out 16 inches and still takes about 5 holes due to irregular placement. All together I have about 48 locations to do. Way to slow.

All alternative ideas appreciated. You're welcome to call me an idiot if it pleases you. Just help me save some time and effort.

Ivan Vegvary

P.S. I have about 48 findings not because the kitchen is huge, but becausea steel beam runs down the middle of the room below the the ceiling and I cannot run a chalk line through it.
 
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B

Bob F

Ivan said:
I own two stud finders and neither is giving me consistent results.
Need to find all of the ceiling joists in my kitchen so I can install
2 light tubes and 18 can lights. Symmetry is important. Would like
to put in 14" diameter daylight tubes so joist placement is
important.
My problem is that the ceiling consists of 1/2 inch drywall under 1/2
inch plywood. This is throughout the house and is probably why the
stud finders are not consistent. Complicating this is the fact that
the joist are all over the place and not necessarily parallel. I
have a few 13" gaps and a few 17" gaps etc. I know this from
measuring up in the attic. Further difficulty is that I have about
24" of blown in insulation. If I had drywall only (you lucky
bastards) I would simply go in the attic and shove an awl down along
side each joist, and then run chalk-lines down below. Can't shove
the awl through the plywood! So I'm working down below on a ladder
with a yogurt can attached to my portable drill (wife doesn't like
dust) and it takes me about 6-7 holes to locate a single edge of a
joist. Needs to be repeated at the other end which takes just as
many tries. The next joist can be measured out 16 inches and still
takes about 5 holes due to irregular placement. All together I have
about 48 locations to do. Way to slow.

All alternative ideas appreciated. You're welcome to call me an
idiot if it pleases you. Just help me save some time and effort.
You need a very powerful small magnet - like the ones I took out of old 5 1/4"
harddrives. They will quickly find the nails into the joists. They will probably
stick to them. I use them to find the joists on my lath and plaster walls and
ceilings. Of course, if the drywall is not nailed at the joists, this will
confuse things, but the magnets should still pull at least gently on the nails
1/2" away. If it sticks hard, that's probably a drywall nail. If it pulls just a
little, that's a plywood nail.

It seems you could just measure below, since with the plywood, you can hang
lights anywhere.
 
K

krw

I own two stud finders and neither is giving me consistent results. Need to find all of the ceiling joists in my kitchen so I can install 2 light tubes and 18 can lights. Symmetry is important. Would like to put in 14" diameter daylight tubes so joist placement is important.
My problem is that the ceiling consists of 1/2 inch drywall under 1/2 inch plywood. This is throughout the house and is probably why the stud finders are not consistent. Complicating this is the fact that the joist are all over the place and not necessarily parallel. I have a few 13" gaps and a few 17" gaps etc. I know this from measuring up in the attic. Further difficulty is that I have about 24" of blown in insulation. If I had drywall only (you lucky bastards) I would simply go in the attic and shove an awl down along side each joist, and then run chalk-lines down below. Can't shove the awl through the plywood! So I'm working down below on a ladder with a yogurt can attached to my portable drill (wife doesn't like dust) and it takes me about 6-7 holes to locate a single edge of a joist. Needs to be repeated at the other end which takes just as many tries. The next joist can be measured out 16 inches and still takes about 5 holes due to irregular placement. All together
I have about 48 locations to do. Way to slow.
Since you can get to the top side, instead of an Awl to make the marking
holes, use a drill.

I'd try the magnet idea first, though.
 
H

harry

I own two stud finders and neither is giving me consistent results.  Need to find all of the ceiling joists in my kitchen so I can install 2 lighttubes and 18 can lights.  Symmetry is important.  Would like to put in14" diameter daylight tubes so joist placement is important.  
My problem is that the ceiling consists of 1/2 inch drywall under 1/2 inch plywood.  This is throughout the house and is probably why the stud finders are not consistent.  Complicating this is the fact that the joist are all over the place and not necessarily parallel.  I have a few 13" gapsand a few 17" gaps etc.  I know this from measuring up in the attic.  Further difficulty is that I have about 24" of blown in insulation.  If Ihad drywall only (you lucky bastards) I would simply go in the attic and shove an awl down along side each joist, and then run chalk-lines down below..  Can't shove the awl through the plywood!  So I'm working down below on a ladder with a yogurt can attached to my portable drill (wife doesn't like dust) and it takes me about 6-7 holes to locate a single edge of a joist.  Needs to be repeated at the other end which takes just as many tries. The next joist can be measured out 16 inches and still takes about 5 holes due to irregular placement.  All together I have about 48 locations to do.  Way to slow.

All alternative ideas appreciated.  You're welcome to call me an idiot if it pleases you.  Just help me save some time and effort.

Ivan Vegvary

P.S.  I have about 48 findings not because the kitchen is huge, but because a steel beam runs down the middle of the room below the the ceiling and I cannot run a chalk line through it.
Tap the cieling with a hammer. Sounds different where the joists are.
Works with ply, not with drywall.
 
M

Michael B

4. Having said all that, I would be hesitant to put that many holes in
an insulated ceiling. You do know all the lights will need the special
shrouds above them, and will still be heat loss points, right?
SURELY in these days, CFL'S will be used, and venting requirements
based on incandescents would not be applicable.
But the units still have their "Maximum 60 watts" stickers. Or more.
I would like to see replacement stickers that would be put over that
would say "Maximum 14 watts" or whatever.
 
D

dpb

I own two stud finders and neither is giving me consistent results.
Need to find all of the ceiling joists in my kitchen so I can install 2
light tubes and 18 can lights. Symmetry is important. Would like to put
in 14" diameter daylight tubes so joist placement is important.
My problem is that the ceiling consists of 1/2 inch drywall under
1/2
inch plywood. This is throughout the house and is probably why the stud
finders are not consistent. Complicating this is the fact that the joist
are all over the place and not necessarily parallel. I have a few 13"
gaps and a few 17" gaps etc. I know this from measuring up in the attic.
Further difficulty is that I have about 24" of blown in insulation. If I
had drywall only (you lucky bastards) I would simply go in the attic and
shove an awl down along side each joist, and then run chalk-lines down
below. Can't shove the awl through the plywood! ...

A) Bell-installer bit (or use an extension bit holder) and drill along
the joists from the attic; nothing says you have to be able to punch the
hold manually.

B) Measure (consistently) from one end to other in the attic the
location of each joist and transfer the measurements to below.

C) Just place openings where want them from function and aesthetics and
deal with it as needs be by boxing any joists that do need it after the
fact...

--
 
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H

hr(bob) hofmann

I own two stud finders and neither is giving me consistent results.  Need to find all of the ceiling joists in my kitchen so I can install 2 lighttubes and 18 can lights.  Symmetry is important.  Would like to put in14" diameter daylight tubes so joist placement is important.  
My problem is that the ceiling consists of 1/2 inch drywall under 1/2 inch plywood.  This is throughout the house and is probably why the stud finders are not consistent.  Complicating this is the fact that the joist are all over the place and not necessarily parallel.  I have a few 13" gapsand a few 17" gaps etc.  I know this from measuring up in the attic.  Further difficulty is that I have about 24" of blown in insulation.  If Ihad drywall only (you lucky bastards) I would simply go in the attic and shove an awl down along side each joist, and then run chalk-lines down below..  Can't shove the awl through the plywood!  So I'm working down below on a ladder with a yogurt can attached to my portable drill (wife doesn't like dust) and it takes me about 6-7 holes to locate a single edge of a joist.  Needs to be repeated at the other end which takes just as many tries. The next joist can be measured out 16 inches and still takes about 5 holes due to irregular placement.  All together I have about 48 locations to do.  Way to slow.

All alternative ideas appreciated.  You're welcome to call me an idiot if it pleases you.  Just help me save some time and effort.

Ivan Vegvary

P.S.  I have about 48 findings not because the kitchen is huge, but because a steel beam runs down the middle of the room below the the ceiling and I cannot run a chalk line through it.
Is the drywall nailed or screwed to the plywood, if screwed, is there
a discernable pattern? Have you tried a bright light shining
parallel to the ceiling right at the ceiling, to show up any nail
heads? Otherwise, a pointy coathanger wire in the end of an electric
drill should go up thru the sheetrock and any reasonble plywood making
for easy drilling and any subsequent patching. Unless this is an
antique farm house, ceiling studs are generally 16" on center due to
building codes and building inspectors.
 
H

harry

Is the drywall nailed or screwed to the plywood, if screwed, is there
a discernable pattern?   Have you tried a bright light shining
parallel to the ceiling right at the ceiling, to show up any nail
heads?  Otherwise, a pointy coathanger wire in the end of an electric
drill should go up thru the sheetrock and any reasonble plywood making
for easy drilling and any subsequent patching.  Unless this is an
antique farm house, ceiling studs are generally 16" on center due to
building codes and building inspectors.
Heh Heh. They are/were 16" over here too. (UK) I suppose it is one
third the width of ply/plaster sheets.
400mm now.
 
I

Ivan Vegvary

You need a very powerful small magnet - like the ones I took out of old 51/4"
harddrives. They will quickly find the nails into the joists. They will probably
stick to them. I use them to find the joists on my lath and plaster wallsand
ceilings. Of course, if the drywall is not nailed at the joists, this will
confuse things, but the magnets should still pull at least gently on the nails
1/2" away. If it sticks hard, that's probably a drywall nail. If it pullsjust a
little, that's a plywood nail.

It seems you could just measure below, since with the plywood, you can hang
lights anywhere.
Thanks for the advice. The lights will all be recessed, so they have to go between studs. Not difficult to find six inch space between 16"± studs. However I would like to place 14" daylight tubes (2) and that only leaves about 1/2 inch of clearance. I will try the magnet scenario.

Thanks again, Ivan Vegvary
 
I

Ivan Vegvary

The drill idea from above seems the fastest and surest. As suggested further down I could get an electricians long bit and thereby be able to tuck up adjacent to the joist.

Thanks, Ivan Vegvary
 
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I

Ivan Vegvary

I like the bar stock idea. Have plenty of 5/8" square tubing on hand alongwith short pieces of 3/4" pipe. More aluring however, is your idea of using 'puck lights'. We didn't want too much of projection into the room (e.g.. track lights) but I will look for lights that are minimally invasive.

Thank you, Ivan Vegvary
 
I

Ivan Vegvary

An electrician's bit and working from above might be the fastest. Miserable conditions up there. Vertical clearances are as low as 8". Additionally, half of the kitchen has a double roof over the ceiling. There has been an addition done and instead of removing the old roof they simply build another one above. W(Out West this method is called a 'California Roof').

Anyway, drilling from above and accurately measuring and diagramming from the attic should save a lot of time.

Thanks, Ivan Vegvary
 
K

krw

The drill idea from above seems the fastest and surest. As suggested further down I could get an electricians long bit and thereby be able to tuck up adjacent to the joist.
Just remember which side of the joist you drill on. ;-) My suggestion is to
remember N/S, or E/W, or perhaps "on the driveway side" (not L/R).
 
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B

bob haller

I own two stud finders and neither is giving me consistent results.  Need to find all of the ceiling joists in my kitchen so I can install 2 lighttubes and 18 can lights.  Symmetry is important.  Would like to put in14" diameter daylight tubes so joist placement is important.  
My problem is that the ceiling consists of 1/2 inch drywall under 1/2 inch plywood.  This is throughout the house and is probably why the stud finders are not consistent.  Complicating this is the fact that the joist are all over the place and not necessarily parallel.  I have a few 13" gapsand a few 17" gaps etc.  I know this from measuring up in the attic.  Further difficulty is that I have about 24" of blown in insulation.  If Ihad drywall only (you lucky bastards) I would simply go in the attic and shove an awl down along side each joist, and then run chalk-lines down below..  Can't shove the awl through the plywood!  So I'm working down below on a ladder with a yogurt can attached to my portable drill (wife doesn't like dust) and it takes me about 6-7 holes to locate a single edge of a joist.  Needs to be repeated at the other end which takes just as many tries. The next joist can be measured out 16 inches and still takes about 5 holes due to irregular placement.  All together I have about 48 locations to do.  Way to slow.

All alternative ideas appreciated.  You're welcome to call me an idiot if it pleases you.  Just help me save some time and effort.

Ivan Vegvary

P.S.  I have about 48 findings not because the kitchen is huge, but because a steel beam runs down the middle of the room below the the ceiling and I cannot run a chalk line through it.
tear down the cieling for maximum symmetry placement.

otherwise you are just screwing around and theres a big likelyhood of
unknown obstructions:(

like water sewer fireblocks joists at wierd spots etc etc.

or go with surface mounted fluroscent fixtures that will be easier to
adjust location of.....
 

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