Sheetrock a ceiling with uneven joists

I am having the kitchen ceiling replaced in a old house that I bought and that I will be renting out. The old ceiling has been taken down and what is left is the ceiling joists. It used to be a wood lath and plaster ceiling. I can see where they used some strips of lath to pack out the uneven joists when they first installed the original ceiling.
The ceiling joists are uneven -- not by a whole lot, but maybe as much as half and inch difference between the various joists. I want to have a new sheetrock ceiling put in and do not want a dropped ceiling.
I was assuming that the way people usually install new sheetrock ceilings is to raise the sheetrock up to the joists and pack out any spaces between the joists that are too high and the sheetrock so the sheetrock will be flat. Is that what contractors usually do?
The guy I have who will probably put up the new ceiling suggested buying steel studs and sistering them along the existing joists in a way so that the bottoms of all of the steel studs form a flat, level, and even surface. Then mount the sheetrock to the steel studs.
Is that what contractors sometimes or usually do in this type of situation? I never heard of that before, so I thought I'd check here to see what others think about this approach.
Thanks.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A variation of 1/4" would not be noticed if you did nothing. All 2x material has some crowning.
I can assure you that no one shims the board after it is hung. :)
I have never used steel studs for this but it should work.
How you go about this depends on how many joists are off. If most are low and relatively level I would simply rip up some scrap plywood in 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2" thickness' to a width of 1.5" and secure the correct thickness to the bottom of the high hangers until I had all the joists within a nominal 1/8" level plane.
The nails and screw used to hold the drywall in place will still have plenty of bite into the old solid joist.
This method may take a bit more time but is easily done by one person using scrap material.
Colbyt
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I agree with Colbyt and would be leary of using steel studs. Unless they are different from the ones I have seen I can't imagine them having the strength to prevent sagging. Maybe they make steel studs just for this purpose...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
They wouldn't have to be steel. You can do the same thing with 2x4's.
OR you can run 1x2's perpendicular to the joists, shimming where necessary, then screw the sheetrock to those. That's done a lot where the plaster is left on a sagging ceiling to make the new false ceiling flat.
s

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I would say 1x3s or steel hat channel perpendicular to existing joists. then you can shim where they cross the joists and are uneven. Will drop the ceiling less than an inch.
nate
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks all. I just talked with the person who is going to do the work and we are going to skip the idea of using steel studs. Instead, he'll pack out the joists where needed as Colbyt suggested and then hang the drywall.
I'm glad I asked the question here. Something about sistering steel studs along the existing joists didn't seem quite right to me. Maybe it would work, but it certainly doesn't sound like a common practice. I know people sometimes run 1x3's across the joists and shim where needed, but I didn't want to do that either.
RonABC wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
RonABC wrote:

It is standard practice, steel studs are straighter and lighter than wood studs or strapping, and installing them is about 100X faster than trying to shim out the existing joists. I believe I've seen the technique written up in Fine Homebuilding and many other places.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Pete C. wrote:

Well, that sure is interesting! Thanks.
I did a Google search and found the Fine Homebuilding article:
http://www.taunton.com/finehomebuilding/pages/h00121.asp
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm surprised that it would work, but if Taunton says it will who am I to disagree. But even in the pictures the portion of the steel studs hanging below the joist look flimsy.
Even with Tauntons endorsement, I still like N8N's idea of running shimmed hat channel perpendicular to the joists better. http://www.steelnetwork.com/PrimeWall.aspx?Link_id=6
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

re: "But even in the pictures the portion of the steel studs hanging below the joist look flimsy"
If you hung off a heavy weight off of one part of one steel stud, it would probably bend at that point.
Now hang a sheet of drywall across multiple studs, screwed in with the proper spacing for the drywall you are using. There's no way for the flanges to bend. In order for them to bend down, the drywall would have to move laterally across the room. I don't think that's physically possible once the drywall is attached.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/7/2009 12:04 PM RonABC spake thus:

Small note: if you want to use the same terminology everyone else uses, the term is "shim out", not "pack out". Bearings get packed; framing members get shimmed.
--
Washing one\'s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the
powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
David Nebenzahl wrote:

Good to know. Shim it is. Thanks.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
RonABC wrote:

Yes, the sistering steel studs to old uneven joists is a standard technique I have seen and read from multiple sources. Contrary to what someone else said, the variations *will* be very noticeable otherwise.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You should have left the laths in place, but since you removed them, you will have to use laths or strips of plywood to shim the high joists. Using steel studs seems silly and costly when you can just re-use some of the old laths, which you have many of. It's time consuming, but it works. Be sure to use LONG drywall screws when you install the sheetrock so you get into the actual joists and not just the shims. Get yourself a long level and use a string to get them all lined up. Or maybe a laser would help too.
Look at it this way. A lath is about 3/8" scrap paneling is about 1/8" 1/4" plywood is 1/4", etc. You can do all the shimming yourself, then get the sheet rock guy to put up the drywall, and you will save money.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

What I do is run string from one end of the room to the other across the joists shim where needed and strap with 1X3 strapping...All ceilings should strapped , even new construction....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
hardly.....
s

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

True , you can half ass do it if you want....Nobody stopping you....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jimw wrote:

I did leave some of the laths in place and only took down the ones that came down in the demo process. So, maybe part of the "packing" (oops, I mean shimming :-) process is already done. I'll have to go back and check.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes, you can just fill in gaps with the ones that came down. You dont need them completely covering the ceiling, just so the joists are covered so you can fasten the sheet rock well. Just be sure all the plasted pieces are removed between them so you dont have them falling on the sheetrock during installation and causing bumps. A shop vac with extra long hose should help get rid of plaster. (2 vac hoses duct taped together).
Jim

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.