A reader recently asked how to install a new sheetrock ceiling that will be both secure and flat. The reader had originally planned to simply remove a small damaged area of plaster and make a patch. However, they became overly aggressive during demolition.
Properly installing strapping is the secret to a secure and flat ceiling. Strapping is typically a 1x 3 pine board of various lengths. The reason for strapping is to protect against movement with the particular framing you are attaching to. Here are some tips that will help you.
1. Start your first row along a wall and run strapping perpendicular to the framing. Measure the spacing between your strapping so that it runs 16 inches on center. Once you mark it out, snap a chalk line from one end to the other to insure a straight run. Snap all of your lines before installing the rest of your strapping. Be sure to cut your pieces to a length that lands in the center of the framing member you are attaching to.
2. By attaching strapping with screws you can adjust it to remove any waves, thus giving you a flat ceiling. To insure a flat finish, nail a 2-inch thick block to each end of the strapping and run a taunt string. Because your strapping is ¾-inch thick you will want to have a 1¼-inch thick block to slide between the string and strapping to insure a straight line.
3. As I wrote earlier, you will want to cut each piece to a length that will land in the center of the framing you are attaching to. To avoid cracking and splitting, I recommend drilling pilot holes before inserting screws.
4. To prevent cupping and improve holding strength, insert two screws side by side at each attachment point.
Note, many people strap just enough area to install one row of sheet rock. It is important to strap the entire area before starting any sheetrocking. A great strapping job can give a home of any age a perfectly flat and secure ceiling.