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How to Lower and Level a Ceiling

February 12, 2012

I thought I would share the clever way the carpenter lowered the ceiling in the basement. Our home was built in the 1930’s and the floor joists of the first floor and bowed and wavy at best (they are also rock hard like petrified wood). Even if we didn’t have to lower the basement ceiling to hide the radiator pipes (which criss-cross under the joists), we would have to level it out. If we screwed the drywall directly into the joists it would surly crack. In some places there is up to a  2″ difference between the bottom of one joist to the other, as you can see in the photo below. Check out our progress on the basement remodel here: Basement Posts.

The carpenter used the following steps to level the ceiling out:

  1. White arrows: Along the perimeter of the room he nailed boards flush against the wall and the length we wanted to lower the ceiling, and leveled each board with a straight level.
  2. White lines/blue arrows: Then he tacked a string to the board (white arrows) directly under each joist, and pulled it taught all the way across (to the opposite side of the room) and tacked it to the board there. These strings marked the new height of the ceiling now perfectly level.
  3. Pink arrows: He ripped down 2″x6″ boards to make 2″x3″s (we needed the ceiling to be lowered 3″). He lined up the boards perpendicular to the floor joists 16″ on center.
  4. Green arrows: He shimmed the boards (pink arrows) flush to the strings and screwed them in place.

That’s it. The ceiling now level, the 1st floor is less squeaky with all the cross bracing below and all the radiator pipes are hidden beneath a ceiling of the same height instead of varying levels and bulkheads.

This project involved a few power tools including a  table saw and power drill. If you have done a project involving these tools or other power tools and you’re itching to share it, check back on Wednesday for the Power Tool Link Party where you can link up your blog post.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 13, 2012 8:19 PM

    Looks great. Keep up the good work. Looks like a pretty easy way to level a ceiling.

    • February 13, 2012 8:23 PM

      Thanks. I wish we could have done some of this stuff ourselves, but it would probably take us another 6 months.We really need to living space, so we hired it out. Doesn’t mean I won’t try it in the future though!


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