Finding hidden beams in the ceiling of an old building

Especially in old buildings, the question of how to find the load-bearing beams in the ceiling is more common. For the installation of lamps, fans, bunk beds or other furniture constructions, the meeting of the beam decides on the required feasibility. Manual methods and special equipment can help.

Architectural Probability

Until the 1960s, ceiling structures with wooden beams were widely used. As part of many renovations and renovations of old buildings, many beams have "disappeared" from below and from above. Since it is not possible or worthwhile to completely expose the bars and hang lamps and other fixtures, localization is required.

The beam-supported ceiling constructions were always carried out according to static and building physics aspects. Some basics help in the search for the exact position:

  • In most cases, load-bearing beams are perpendicular to the shorter wall of the room
  • The widths of the floors are usually transverse to the roof ridge
  • The distances between the beams are uniform and between 0.50 and 1.20 Meter

How to Find Beams in Your Ceiling

1. Knocking and Listening

The tapping of the ceiling can signal the position of the beams in the case of complete peace of mind through varying depth and dullness. The amplification of the generated sounds is ensured by a stethoscope, which you place on the ceiling about five centimeters from the knocking point. Careful, a stethoscope amplifies sounds very much.

2. Ultrasonic measurement

Use a professional measuring instrument, preferably ultrasound-based. You can rent these devices in DIY stores or building material stores. However, measuring instruments have the problem of being unable to distinguish the wood found. Therefore, the result may also relate to slats and other support and support structures.

3. Piercing or drilling

If tapping or measuring are not alternatives or do not lead to any result, you must feel the bars. The smallest hole size creates a syringe needle that works with soft, elastic or porous cladding material. Otherwise, you drill six or eight small holes with the size and feel the bars with a wire.

Tips & TricksInventively, an indirect search also helps, for example, when plasterboard is screwed onto beams. Then screw rows can be located with a metal detector.
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