Strapping a Ceiling in
Preparation for Hanging Sheetrock
on How to Strap a Ceiling
By: Mark J. Donovan
In order to more easily fasten drywall
to a ceiling furring strips are installed perpendicular to the ceiling joists.
The furring strips create a larger fastening surface area for attaching drywall
and also help to prevent the drywall seams from cracking by creating a more
The actual task of strapping a ceiling involves nailing furring strips to the
ceiling joists. The furring strips are simply 1”x3” dimensional pine lumber that
are about 0.62 inches thick.
They are nailed to the ceiling joists
with 8d shank ringed nails. You can find strapping lumber at any home
improvement center, and it can be purchased in single piece lengths or in
bundles of 10 pieces. Common available strapping lumber lengths range from 8 to
When strapping a ceiling the strapping lumber should be spaced on 16 inch
centers, again perpendicular to the ceiling joists. Also, it is important to
install the strapping so that four foot width sheets of abutting sheetrock have
approximately 1.25” of nailing surface area over the strapping. More
specifically, the centerline of the third row of strapping lumber should be
located 48 inches from the wall edge. This way, abutting sheets of drywall have
about 1.25 inches of strapping surface area to nail them to.
It is important to
fasten the strapping in straight lines along the ceiling joists. It can be
particularly difficult to do this on cathedral or pitched ceilings. For best
results use a chalk line on the ceiling joists to mark where to attach the
strapping lumber. Also, make sure to use two nails at the intersection of each
ceiling joist. Otherwise the weight of the sheetrock could pull the strapping
away from the ceiling joists and cracking of the sheetrocked ceiling may be
Lastly, use a nail
gun to attach the furring strips to the ceiling joists. Repeated nailing over
your head with a hammer gets exhausting and takes a lot more time compared to
using a pneumatic nail gun.
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