How to tie a drywall ceiling - today's homeowner (2023)

Tapping a ceiling in preparation for drywall isn't particularly difficult or complicated, but measuring at random can result in the job being done twice. Tying a ceiling together is a traditional method of leveling a ceiling (or other surface) to improve the performance and appearance of drywall.

How to tie a drywall ceiling - today's homeowner (1)

Technically, installing any material on a large, open surface like a ceiling will require bracing, but since most structures have drywall, that will be the focus today. Installing ceiling braces is usually within the skill of a home handyman.

Lashing is essentially the installation of narrow strips of wood, typically 1" x 3" or 1" x 4", perpendicular to the truss straps or ceiling joists of a structure. This is to reinforce the roof system while also providing a solid attachment point for the drywall. As mentioned, staples are also used to smooth a corrugated surface. Especially with large ceilings, this technique greatly improves the appearance and durability of the drywall.

How long does ceiling tape installation take?

The time required to install the ceiling tapes depends on the ceiling height and of course the size. Typically, professionals can nail a ceiling in a few hours with time-saving tools like laser levels and pneumatic nailers. However, ceiling harnesses can only be made with hand tools if necessary. Installing ceiling braces requires a variety of tools, but there are a number of ways to complete the project. Here is a selection of some tools commonly used in blanket strapping:

  • tape measure
  • box of chalk
  • Hammer
  • corded or cordless drill
  • Serra
  • ladder/walking board
  • frame space

It's also always a good idea to recruit extra help. Ceiling ties are usually long lumber, so having help holding the ties in place during installation is very helpful. Slings are generally not heavy or difficult to work with, but it is important that they remain flush with the walls. Keeping the braces as close to the walls as possible at a 90 degree angle will reduce or eliminate most of the problems you may encounter.


Ceiling height and slope dramatically affect ease of installation. For example, in a typical ranch style home, the ceilings are parallel to the floor and are generally no higher than 10 feet. Often the ceiling is only 8 feet high, which is even easier. This makes applying braces fairly quick and painless, but other situations can be much more complex.

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In a home with vaulted or cathedral ceilings, design becomes significantly more difficult. In these situations, professional installers often build a mobile platform using ladders and a plank. If the project is large, scaffolding is generally more effective.

size drywall

In most cases, the larger the sheets of drywall, the better the end results. This is because larger panels reduce the butt joints that form when two panels butt together. The short sides of sheets of drywall do not include the cutouts on the long sides. When placed next to another board, this indentation will make room for the tape and drywall compound. Therefore, butt joints are particularly vulnerable to anything less than flat surfaces. By adding straps, the installer can fix most issues that would spoil the overall appearance of the end product.

condition of the surface

Trusses and ceiling beams often warp and sag over time, often resulting in unsightly wavy ceilings. This is particularly pronounced in older, handcrafted (also known as "bar-frame") structures with ceiling beams, as the load-bearing walls are often too widely spaced by today's building standards. Trusses eliminate this problem and utilize bridge-like construction techniques, often resulting in more open and airy environments.

This is in contrast to the frame bar which uses other frame components such as collar straps andGrateto prevent the structure from breaking apart over time. Before the introduction of trusses, this was the standard construction method used in many house designs. Regardless of the techniques used, however, the same concerns apply when installing drywall.

Uneven trusses and ceiling joists are the main causes of rough-looking drywall. This is usually because the required tolerances are greater on rough structures than on fine joinery. For example, it is not uncommon for the bottom chord of a truss or joist (the part to which the drywall is attached) to protrude ½ inch out of plane and another truss to be only 24 inches away. Therefore it is generally recommendedInstall ceiling strapsbefore attempting to install a drywall ceiling.

Tools and help available

Attaching a ceiling to drywall can become a tedious project as the installer is always working overhead. This can lead to fatigue and the need for an extra pair of hands. While it is possible to install ground braces, this usually requires the use of shorter timbers. In general, longer braces tend to be straighter and stronger, so the best course of action should include some support.

If help is not available, T-stilts can be constructed to assist the individual installer. A T-stilt is usually only 2" x 4" with a shorter 2" x 4" attached to one end. These 2" x 4" are then cut to length so that when plumbed perfectly they will support the brace. When building a stilt, professionals measure multiple points in the room, from floor to ceiling, and take the average measurement. For example, if the ceiling is 96 inches from the floor and the installer uses 96 inches of lumber, he will cut about 1 ½ inches. This makes room for the shortboard, which is 1 ½ inches thick. The result is a T-stilt that is exactly 96 inches high.

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pro tip.When building a T-stilt, professionals often add an extra ½ inch of length. This allows them to angle the stilt in very low places and keep it straight in higher areas.

skill level

As previously mentioned, the skills required to tie a roof together are not considered advanced. Do-it-yourselfers can usually apply ceiling tape, but care should be taken when using tools, especially on stairs. The higher the ceiling, the more difficult the installation will be in most cases. If a ceiling is particularly high and/or curved, it is therefore advisable to hire a specialist.

While the actual installation process is not considered difficult, getting up and walking can be tricky. Professionals have numerous tools such as scaffolding, ladders and catwalks, and even hydraulic lifts.

Most professionals also use pneumatic tools like nail guns to reduce fatigue and ensure a solid connection. In most cases, it is not practical to invest in these one-time use tools. Therefore, depending on the situation, hiring professionals can be the best overall solution, since these tools make the installation of harnesses much faster and most importantly safer.

How much does it cost to install ceiling braces?

The final cost of the course depends on the size of the project, materials, and labor. While costs vary by region, most professionals charge between $2.00 and $4.00 per square foot installed. Costs can be reduced by purchasing strapping material in bulk and doing some or all of the work yourself.

Other synthetic materials are also used for the straps, but the most economical method is to use #3 pine 1" x 3" or 1" x 4". This wood often has cosmetic imperfections, including a rough surface and sometimes bark. This type of wood is great for binding as it is just filler and is not visible.

How to start installing ceiling tapes

Step 1. Surface inspection

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The main function of studs is to level the ceiling and provide a larger nailing surface for the drywall. Depending on the drywall finish, a #3 finish is usually the goal. In most areas, this is the standard for commercial and residential use. Attaching braces can be done a number of ways, but for a #3 finish, the ceiling should have no visible waves or waves. For comparison, a #5 finish (the highest quality possible) has no visible stains.

Strapping for a #3 finish can be measured using the longest, straightest plank available. With assistance, the installer uses this board as a guide and places it edge up against a joist or joist.

Then a helper turns the plank in a semicircle and notices whether a traverse is too high, too low or just right. The helper marks each location and what needs to be fixed. These marks are printed in bold along the area to be bound, making them hard to miss. Then the struts are installed and using the marks, each strut is moved up or down slightly as needed, placing shims between the strut and the truss. This allows for great precision and results in a very flat and stable top.

Step 2. Define area

The easiest way to calculate the materials needed for a strapping project is to measure the length, wall to wall, parallel to the trusses. This measurement is then divided by 16, or the required spacing between fasteners when installing drywall.

For example, let's say you have a 20' x 16' room and the trusses run in the 16' direction. If we convert to inches, we get 320 inches wall to wall. If we divide by the required fastener spacing, which in this case is 16 inches, we see that we need 20 straps. It doesn't end there though, as we need to add one more to allow for a tight connection with the opposite wall.

Step 3. Installation of the lock

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While not technically part of the strapping process, locking is usually required as well. This blockage serves as a connection point for the drywall when there are obstacles in the way. Also called "dead wood," this lock is usually trimmed and trimmed to fit anywhere a connection would be impossible.

This can be around a pipe, duct, or other void. The lock is usually made from scrap materials, as it often has to take on unusual shapes to fit in place. This method saves material and significantly reduces leftovers that could otherwise spend forever in a landfill.

The lock can be installed with nails, screws, glue or other fixed connection methods. In most cases, professionals use a pneumatic finishing nailer. This is because these nailers require less physical effort and reduce the likelihood of small cracks in the nail. Larger blockages that may be required along an entire wall are usually made from standard lumber and installed with #12 to #16 frame studs.

Step 4. Mounting the ceiling loop

After all of the markings have been made to indicate the location of the straps, installing the straps is relatively easy. Using a helper or T-stilts, the strips are usually driven in with #6 to #8 ring bars or twisted bars, although drywall screws are also suitable.

By ensuring that the strips line up with the markings, the installer generally installs only one fastener (nail or screw) per truss. This is because the truss (or joist) is typically only 1½ inches wide and attempting to install more than one fastener often breaks the wood. This method also reduces the chance of hitting a nailhead with a drywall screw when installing drywall.

After the strapping is complete, professionals often refer to the log used to determine the condition of the trusses. If straps are too tall, small shims can be added. In most cases, if the marks are initially made accurately, decreasing the high points will increase the low points and smooth the surface.

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Can I install ceiling bands myself?

As previously mentioned, adding ceiling braces is often a DIY project. In many cases, no special tools are required; Therefore, the owner probably already has the necessary tools.

Attaching straps also provides the DIY enthusiast with practice in tool making and measuring without the danger associated with similar projects. However, installing harnesses requires some accurate calculations and convenience with tools. For homeowners experienced in using tools safely, installing braces in the ceiling can be a worthwhile project.


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