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How to locate joists in garage ceiling?

How to locate joists in garage ceiling?


Old 12-03-19, 05:58 PM
RocketJSquirrel's Avatar
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How to locate joists in garage ceiling?

A previous owner of my house painted over the drywall in my 3 car garage, so I cannot see any evidence of where the ceiling joists are. I would like to screw some hooks into the joists to hang some items like bicycles to get them off the floor.

How can I find the joists? I don't even know which way they run. Is it safe to assume they run from the house to the garage door, or is it possible they could run sideways?

There is a room over the garage, but it was an addition after the house was built in 1988. If I had to classify it, it's a "Craftsman" style house.

Would I use a stud finder or is there a better way? I envision myself on a ladder for days looking for the joists.
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Old 12-03-19, 06:09 PM
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Can't say which way they run... cant see the roof. A studfinder should work. You can also bump the ceiling with your fist. Should be easy to tell where they are at and no I don't think it will take hours.
Old 12-03-19, 08:23 PM
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Look at the garage doors. If they have openers...... the bracketing will be lag bolted to studs.
Typically the angle metal they use will be attached across two joists.
The actual garage door track bracketing will also be directly lag bolted to studs.

Porcelain ceiling light fixtures are usually attached to electrical boxes that are nailed on to joists.

In most garages I've been in..... there is only one coat or two very thin coats of spackle over the nails. Look closely for rows of nails.
Old 12-04-19, 03:48 AM
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Here's trick I learned years ago. Take a flash light and shine it parallel right next to the wall or ceiling sideways. The nail heads will appear as slight bumps. Even with many layers of paint this trick works. I hardly ever use a stud finder.
Old 12-04-19, 05:09 AM
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If the garage has a roof, the ceiling joists will run perpendicular to the roof peak line.
Old 12-05-19, 01:39 AM
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Thanks for the tips. Thanks to "aaaugh! the holidays are upon us! aaaugh!" I may not get to this until January, but I appreciate the suggestions. I'll report back how it went.
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