Strapping a Ceiling in Preparation for Hanging Sheetrock

Step-by-Step Instructions 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 stable base.

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 16 feet.

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. 

How to Repair a Large Drywall Hole EBook

Includes detailed instructions and with pictures for each step in repairing a large drywall hole.

Otherwise the weight of the sheetrock could pull the strapping away from the ceiling joists and cracking of the sheetrocked ceiling may be observed.

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.

For information on repairing a large drywall hole, see the “How to Repair a Large Drywall Hole” Ebook from  The “How to Repair a Large Drywall Hole” Ebook provides step-by-step instructions on how to repair your damaged wall so that it looks as good as new.

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