Sign In to join the community | Help
Build & Remodel

Need to find load bearing ceiling joist/stud!

I have one of these hanging chairs I want to put in my living room so it's crucial that I install it where it's going to support a lot of weight.

I live on the top floor of a brownstone built in 1901 so the ceilings are thick wood lath and plaster. My stud finding has been useless in helping me out at all so I decided to drill small holes in a large square section (about a 2 feet) of the ceiling to find a joist. I drilled about 24 holes in two axises (one every two inches) and every single one resisted at first and then popped through.

I'm not going to cut a big hole in my ceiling to peek up there and I'd rather not make my ceiling look like a cheese grater by drilling many more holes (or banging in 3" finishing nails). How haven't I hit a joist? Is it possible that I don't have any as the only thing above me is the attick (which I don't have access to)? HELP

Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2012-01-28T15:22:03+0000  by BrooklynGuy BrooklynGuy

Hi BrooklynGuy,


Thanks for your question and welcome to the community!


Drilling into an unexpected area like your brownstone ceilings can be a frustrating job, I am sure.


 I'm with you with not wanting your ceiling to look like a topographic map of the moon, so let's get you something that should help you out.


First though, you should have some form of a joist holding up and framing the ceilings, no matter the age. Unless this was a retrofit job, you should have a few minimum timbers or some kind of joists up there.


To find them I would recommend a good quality stud finder since you don't have attic access. Lots of lesser quality and more inexpensive stud finders won't find the center of a joist. However, the one shown below will.

Zircon MultiScanner Stud Finder.jpg

Using this kind of stud finder can find the edges and center of any wood or metal support. While there are inspection cameras that can be used, these tend to be more expensive and aren't going to be used everyday like a handy stud finder would be for your improvement projects.


Hope this helps you on your way to getting the chairs hung on your ceiling safely and securely.




Posted 2012-01-28T18:17:20+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question