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How do I find a solid beam (to screw something into) in a ceiling?

(27 Posts)
AndShesGone Thu 09-Feb-17 08:41:26

confused I want to screw a six inch metal thingy to hang a metal chain on (and then attach a piece of wood to the bottom)

AndShesGone Thu 09-Feb-17 08:42:37

Like this

INeedNewShoes Thu 09-Feb-17 08:45:37

Lurking as I have a ceiling airer to install...

PepeLePew Thu 09-Feb-17 08:46:31

You can get electronic detectors in hardware shops that tell you where wood and cables are behind walls.

PepeLePew Thu 09-Feb-17 08:48:34

Like this:

AndShesGone Thu 09-Feb-17 09:12:40

Hmmm a stud detector - sounds like a good nightclub tool grin

The ceilings are quite high, bit scared.

Ruhrpott Thu 09-Feb-17 10:28:46

I have a magnetic stud detector which works great.

Ruhrpott Thu 09-Feb-17 10:29:39

This one

whatsthecomingoverthehill Thu 09-Feb-17 10:32:59

Floor joists are often quite narrow and you can have issues with splitting the timber if you are too close to the edge. So not only do you need to find the joist but you need to be pretty sure that you're fixing bang in the middle of it. And you also shouldn't have too big a screw. The guidance is normally to have 5 times the screw diameter as the distance to the edge, but the edge is on both sides. E.g. if you were using a 6mm screw then you need to be 30mm in on either side so the joist would need to be at least 60mm wide which most aren't. That's assuming your joists are solid timber and not more modern engineered ones. Does all depend on how heavy it's all going to be too.

Palomb Thu 09-Feb-17 12:47:36

I've got a similar problem with a pelmet install in a lathe and plaster ceilings. How would I find out where the joists are there?

PigletJohn Thu 09-Feb-17 14:19:29

can you get above the ceiling, for example into a loft, or lifting a board in the floor above?

A love swing, or 'gone's suspension beam, will need extra reinforcement above to spread the load.

Fontella Thu 09-Feb-17 14:25:11

Oh God this thread brought back some memories.

I've got one of those whadercall it things in the kitchen - can't think of the name, that you hang pots on and could dry clothes in ye olden days!

Single mother, a bit hit and miss at DIY.

Male neighbour told me if the floorboards run one way upstairs then the joists in downstairs ceilings will go the other way. Not necessarily true as I discovered.

Several holes later I finally got the bloody thing up. I might take a pic! Of the holes, and the thing!

PigletJohn Thu 09-Feb-17 14:27:58

"Sheila Maid"

Fontella Thu 09-Feb-17 14:30:35

Thanks piglet.


Onawheel Thu 09-Feb-17 14:33:24

Joists and studs always have nails in. Abnormal magnet finds out where the are. This has been life changing since I worked this out

Onawheel Thu 09-Feb-17 14:34:02

Errr...a normal magnet. Not abnormal one grin

AndShesGone Thu 09-Feb-17 14:36:44

I don't really want to take the carpet and the floorboard up in the bedroom upstairs.

The ceilings are about 9/10 feet tall.

I appreciate what you say about having to be in the middle of the beam, I think that's the hardest bit. I'm planning on hanging a solid 4 foot bit of oak off it so it will need to be incredibly secure (or we die at the table under it!).

The screw thing is about 6 inches long with a hook at the end to hang the chain on - and then the same screw type to go into the wood. I've seen them in B and Q but I don't know what they're called.

whatsthecomingoverthehill Thu 09-Feb-17 14:49:38

I think they're just called hook screws...or maybe screw hooks! I would be concerned that they were up to it to be honest. Or if you do get a nice big hook that it will just split the timber when you put it in, but you don't realise until the mashed potato redecorates the room when a big oak beam crashes into it...

Fontella Thu 09-Feb-17 14:51:13

Ok, look and learn from an expert!


Pic 1 is my marvellous handiwork.

Pic 2 is the 8 attempts I made to get the bloody thing up. As the holes don't show up so good on pic (though clearly visible from everywhere in the kitchen!!) I have enhanced them.

I will get around to filling them at some point!

AndShesGone Thu 09-Feb-17 14:55:18

grinfont - GREAT picture !

The 'screw hooks' won't split the wood, it's an oak beam almost as big as the picture I posted at the beginning. It might split the joist though if I don't do it right hmm

Who could I hire to do this?

Batman ?

whatsthecomingoverthehill Thu 09-Feb-17 15:01:46

That's what I mean ASG, the timber you're going into might not be wide enough for the screw.

PigletJohn Thu 09-Feb-17 15:05:01

someone who will lift the floor in the room above.

AndShesGone Thu 09-Feb-17 15:21:42

Ok, how does lifting the floor and looking at the joists help confused

It will still be a plastered ceiling underneath ?

AndShesGone Thu 09-Feb-17 15:22:17

Sorry whats, I see what you mean now smile

PigletJohn Thu 09-Feb-17 15:32:24

from above, you can make pinholes through the ceiling to mark the exact edges of the joist so you can drill into the centre. If you do use a screw hook, it can be angled so the load is not straight down on its axis. A screw eye would be stronger.

You can also use a threaded hookbolt or eyebolt and a nut, so you are not dependent on the screw thread in the joist.

I think a carpenter would be a good choice.

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