I would like to install ceiling shelves in my garage. However I have a textured ceiling - it's not acoustical texture - more or less it looks like a wavy ceiling. It is also very thick so its nearly impossible to find a seam.

I had done research on this and a couple of ideas were- get a piece of cardboard and run your stud finder along the cardboard - the other idea is drill small holes in ceiling til you hit a stud- and lastly is to measure 16" from one side of the wall to the other. Has anyone ever tried any of these and what worked best for you?


Studfinders should work fine regardless of texture. Most have a deep scan mode for such situations, but I'd be surprised if that's even necessary.

If that's really not working, look for clues. Your overhead door is probably suspended from ceiling joists. You may have an outlet or light boxes attached to them as well. You may find nails in exterior fascia indicating rafter tail location.

Most modern truss systems are 24" on center. Older hand-framed roofs are likely 16" on center. Once you find one you should have them all.

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  • Agree that studfinder is best bet. Spacing of items above the ceiling might depend on what is above the garage (living area vs attic). You will want know where the center of the wood pieces are for hanging something from them for best support. – JerryD Apr 12 '17 at 19:17

Those are really helpful ideas and info. But allow me to put in my two cents. Your curling is probably wavy because you have 1/2" drywall over 24" OC (on center) joists. The finished curling was not originally installed when your house was built. If it was planned for it would probably be 5/8" drywall over 16"OC joists. More support and more rigid drywall that way resists warping. So to find your joists try using a magnet at on end of your cieling. When it sticks to a nail or screw make a mark. Then go to the opposite end and do the same. Now snap a chalk line (a chalk box is an inexpensive hand tool found at any hardware store)or use a long straight edge to scribe a pencil line from your first mark to the second mark. As long as your mark the exact or close as possible location of the screws or nails under the mud or texture you will be marking the center of the stud and you won't have to worry about measuring 5/8" out for edge of joist. You can do this for all your joists or just the adjacent joist and hopefully the two joist locations will tell you the basic layout of your joists-either 24" OC or 16"OC. Then just measure over every 16 or 24 inches. This will give you most of your joist locations. There may be an extra one here and there or a cross member you might be able to utilize in your installation. Remember the direction of your joists is usually in the direction of the shortest distance. It makes for a stronger structure if you have the shortest framing members rather than longer ones.

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