Alternate methods of attaching ceiling joists ?

Hi,
I have to replace all the ceiling joists in my lounge following ripping down the lathe & plaster and discovering that most of the joists are considerably bowed in all different directions and won't give me the flat finish I am after for the plasterboard.
On the party wall side the old joists are butted against a beam which is attached to the brickwork. There is a small strip attached to the beam that the joists sit on with a little piece cut out of the joists to form a sort of step (sorry for the nontechnical terms). Rather than having to cut this step out of all the new joists is it possible to use galvinised steel hangers ? I would have to remove the step strip, bend the hangers over the beam and nail them. The joists would then sit in the hanger and be nailed themselves. Seems like a much simpler solution to me.
Cheers, David
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David G wrote:

Before you pull your ceiling down althogether, how bowed are they? Could you pack out with loads of bits of wood to make the surface relatively flat, then allow the plasterboard to bend a tiny bit? You can also improve things by putting the finishing skim on thicker in some places than others. I have done this when replacing lath and plaster with plasterboard in my house, and nobody notices (least of all me).
Ben.
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Being very finicky David. All ceilings undulate and no matter how straight it is when it is first installed, over the period of the first year of working life it will bow and settle and crack and separate and all do all the other things that working ceilings do. If I were you, I'd have a look at the really bad bits on the existing joists and maybe pack them out a bit to take most of the upward lift of some bits on the ceiling, but I wouldn't go with replacing the whole thing. The existing joists are now weathered and dried enough to stay in the best shape any joist system can be for your property, so trying to make a perfect ceiling is quite literally impossible. But don't let me put your off trying, who knows, you may just be the one who does get it perfect.
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