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We have a 12x14 dining room and are looking to add a shallow 6"h x 15"w tray border around the outside. One of the longer sides will not hit any ceiling joists, so I will be using toggle bolts to keep my framing attached to the ceiling on that side. In order to keep the weight down for the framing and rock, I was thinking about using 2x2s instead of 2x4s. Being that the 1/2" sheetrock pieces will be fairly small in dimension does anyone see any safey issues with that idea? All other pieces will hit studs & joists. No issues expected with moisture, etc and not planning to run any electrical through the tray.

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I think you're OK, though it's not ideal. The devil is in the details. I'm assuming the ceiling is also 1/2" sheetrock, and that it's properly attached. If the first ceiling joist is close to the tray edge, rather than 9" away, that would be better but not a deal breaker.

Focus on a good wall connection, such that the tray practically cantilevers from the wall, the toggles becoming more of a backup. Then don't skimp on the toggles. A single one may not hold much, but the strength of several actually amounts to something.

That said, this probably does not meet code, as you are supporting an architectural element with a non-structural material. But I don't see it as a life/safety hazard.

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thanks for the help, this is exactly the advice I needed. – Steve A Dec 30 '12 at 2:27

Since you are going to be mudding and taping sheetrock anyway, you could cut into the ceiling and add some supporting 2x4's between the ceiling josts to attach your new trey framing too.

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