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I am planning to build garage overhead storage using 2x4 similar to this.

My questions are:

  • Do they need to have one side support from side wall or can I have them both side attached to ceiling
  • What kind of screw should I use to connect lumber to lumber, for ceiling one I be using 1/4 3 inches lag
  • What are you planning on storing up there? Lightweight decorations? Books? It makes a difference. – Aloysius Defenestrate Jan 30 '17 at 17:03
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Can I suspend both sides to the ceiling?
Yes, if:

  1. Your ceiling is capable of supporting the weight. You're typically dealing with 2x4 truss chords, but I have no idea what your situation is. I'd consider laying a sturdy crossbar across several ceiling joists to distribute weight, and fasten your uprights to that.

  2. You fasten properly. Don't rely on bolt pullout strength unless you size them adequately. If using the 1/4" lags you mentioned, they should be installed horizontally, tying your uprights to the crossbar or ceiling joists. This places the load in shear rather than tension. If you must install screws vertically, use 7/16" or 1/2" lags, piloted properly, and with adequate penetration.

  3. You don't need the stability that wall attachment provides. If you're not tossing heavy objects up there regularly, where movement is a concern, this shouldn't be a problem.

What fasteners should I use?
Again, that depends on your design. I used nothing but 2-1/2" gold construction screws for my full-length racks, but I only use them in shear and I use multiples where needed. 1/4" lags are a good idea.

  • From your posts I have reached the conclusion that you are an expert framer, so I hesitate to say anything, but I have to question whether you are right to tell this querant that he can hang shelving on the bottom chord of 2x4 trusses. You don't know how much weight he was planning to put on them. The bottom chords of trusses is supposed to be in tension and not have added vertical loads (only upward force on the ends). But if he is going to do this, aren't there Simpson Strong Tie connectors available to go over the bottom cord and attach to the sides of the vertical member. – Jim Stewart Jan 30 '17 at 17:23
  • That's the reason I recommended the crossbar. The collective experience of millions of homeowners, as well as my own construction knowledge, demonstrates that garage ceilings can carry a substantial amount of weight without catastrophe (or even minor damage) resulting. However, it should not be all suspended from one point. I assume that the OP is a reasonable person and won't attempt to hang concrete or cars from this structure. – isherwood Jan 30 '17 at 17:37
  • So you would have a set of cross bars (2x4s on edge?) on top of the bottom cords of the trusses? Or would these be blocking attached to the sides with joist hangers or equivalent? How many and what spacing? – Jim Stewart Jan 30 '17 at 18:16
  • Right--2x4s on edge. Recommendation for number and spacing are impossible without design and garage specifics. Your idea of fastening to uprights is a good one. Avoiding reliance on the grip of pressed-on gussets is wise, though they're quite strong. – isherwood Jan 30 '17 at 18:19
  • It took me a while to understand the answers I had to look up some structural terms , the crossbar is 2x4 Attached to garage ceiling studs spanning across multiple studs ? Now @isherwood you are suggesting that lag should be longer and thicker than what I was planning as they need to go through 2x4 width, drywall and finally into studs? I don't understand the what you guys meant by 2x4 on edge and where to use Simpson strong tie – user64704 Jan 31 '17 at 15:19

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