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Attaching Ceiling Joists To Top Plate Safely [Quick Guide]

Creating the perfect structure and frame for your home is important for helping to give it the stability it needs to stay upright for years to come. 

Attaching Ceiling Joists To Top Plate

As such, you will want to make sure that every part of your home’s frame is installed sufficiently, especially if you are planning to build your home yourself.

We’ve all encountered those anxiety-inducing moments when putting together a home, where we find ourselves unsure how to connect two vital parts of the frame to give the home stability. 

Trying to figure out how to attach your ceiling joists to the top plate can seem incredibly intimidating, considering how much rests upon the two being securely attached.

Attaching a ceiling joist to your top plate is a little easier than you may think, despite how much of your home building project rests on it.

You will ensure that the top frame is in place before then carefully hammering the ceiling joists into place.

How Do You Attach Ceiling Joists To The Top Frame

Before we jump into finding out how we can connect these two components, it is important to make sure we are clear on what exactly each of these components is.

What Are Ceiling Joists?

Ceiling joists are incredibly vital parts of your home’s structure, and they exist to help your roof to bear the load of its own weight. 

The horizontal structure transfers some of the weight from the roof onto vertical elements, such as walls, in the home. This helps to keep the whole house from caving in, which you obviously want to avoid!

What Is The Top Frame?

The top frame is the highest point on a wall, most commonly a stud wall, which is a type of wall that can help to divide a room into more distinct spaces. 

It is a horizontal piece of wood that is often responsible for bearing the load from a ceiling or roof, hence why it is so important.

How Do You Attach The Two Together?

Attaching Ceiling Joists To Top Plate

Now that we are sure about what these two parts are, let’s jump in to find out how to attach them. You’ll want to make sure you follow these steps carefully, and that you use the right equipment. Speaking of, why don’t we take a look at the equipment you should grab?

What Do You Need?

  • A Marker
  • Some Measuring Tape
  • Scrap Lumber
  • A Spirit Level
  • 2-Dimension Lumber
  • Clamps
  • Hammer
  • 16d and 10d nails
  • Joist hangers

Step 1 – Make Your Markings

Now that you have all of your equipment gathered, grab your marker and make markings along your beam every 16 inches along. 

This may depend on the plans of the building you are working with, so make sure to consider those! 

Step 2 – Align Your Pieces

From here, you will need to grab your marker and mark the midline on the end of the 2-dimension lumber you grabbed earlier. From there, align the marking on the lumber to the first marking you made on the larger beam.

From there, grab your spirit level, and check to make sure that the wood is leveled before then marking the area on the lumber where it meets the beam we worked with in step 1. 

Step 3 – Lay The Joist Down

From here, you can begin laying down the joist on the top of the wall plate. Make sure that all of the lines you have marked down are in line with your original design plans for the building.

Use your clamps to hold the joist in place on the top of the wall plate, or have an assistant come and help hold it in position as you move into step 4. 

Step 4 – Fix The Joist Down

Now, you can take the other end of the joist and put it into position on the beam. You can hammer in one of the nails you grabbed earlier to help hold it in position. 

Step 5 – Metal Joists In Place

You should notice a point on the joist where it touches the face of the beam, in this small area, you will want to push into place a metal joist hanger. 

In order to do this, hammer in the speed prongs that project out of the face of the hanger, and hammer them directly into the beam. 

This is an important step because it helps to hold the joist in place along the beam.

Step 6 – Hammer Into Place 

This is the final step, and the step in which you will begin to secure everything into position so that everything remains stable. 

Take your 16d nails, and hammer each one into each of the holes that you should see in the face flange of the hanger.

After you have finished with those, grab your 10d nails, and hammer those into the flange side of the hanger, directly into the joist. 

This step helps to secure everything in place, so make sure that you follow all of the prior steps as carefully as you can before hammering in the nails! 

To Wrap Up

There you have it. Attaching ceiling joists to your top plate is very important, and though this importance may seem incredibly daunting, we hope that this article has helped to make you a little more confident about attaching the two together and finalizing the look of your home project.

Make sure to follow all of these steps as carefully as you can.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Joists Sit On Wall Plate?

Joist hangers most commonly tend to attach to the brick wall of a home.

Do Joists Sit On Top Plate?

Yes. Joists are most commonly attached directly to the top plate of the wall.

What Is The Purpose Of Top Plate?

The purpose of the top plate on a wall is to hold the ceiling or roof up from below!

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