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Framing for Closet (top plate to finished drywall ceiling)

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Nov 10, 2013, 07:54 AM
Framing for Closet (top plate to finished drywall ceiling)
I am installing a wall to wall reach in closet in a finished room. I have been reading some various posts on how to attach the top plate to the finished drywall ceiling. My joists run parallel to my top plate so i cannot screw into joists unless I open up the ceiling and install blocking. I read online that I use toggle bolts and adhesive to attach the top plate to the drywall ceiling and the screw it on either end to the existing top plate (angle the screws). As for the rest of the framing, my vertical studs also don't line up with an existing wall stud, so can I do the same approach with toggle bolts and adhesive to attach the outside vertical studs to existing drywall?
Nov 10, 2013, 10:13 AM
The toggle bolt and adhesive is the last ditch effort. It will work in most cases however it's not going to be as strong as it should. This means that your wall will stay in place unless something unusual happens - like if you trip and fall against it. Under a load like that the wall will likely move.

If you do go with glue and toggle bolts, make sure you do use some 4" screws in the few areas where you will have solid framing behind the existing drywall. There will always be 1-1/2" of base plate at the bottom of every wall as well as the same at the top. Also, there could be about 2" of framing above the ceiling at wall corners - this would be deadwood used for attaching the drywall ceiling.

There are a few tricks to make this work better:

1. The simple thing - if this ceiling is under an attic space. Go in from above, add some 2x4 blocking between lower cords of the trusses and attach your new wall to this blocking. But, from your post is sounds like you have finished space above.

2. When you lay out the "footprint" of your new closet on the ceiling, cut a 3/4" piece of plywood to exactly fit the outside dimensions. You can screw this plywood to the existing ceiling joists to make it secure and strong. Unless this is a very narrow closet, you should be able cross two runs of joists to make the plywood secure. However, even if you can only attach the plywood on the two wall-to-ceiling corners, it will still work.

Once the plywood is up and in place, build your wall directly underneath it. Attach the top plate to the plywood. Like a Chinese puzzle, the plywood and the framing will support each other and keep each from moving. This will give you a very strong wall that can withstand impact. For ceiling finish, you can either use a furniture grade of smooth plywood and paint it or overlay the plywood with drywall and finish it out. Your closet ceiling will be slightly lower than the room but this will not be noticed.

3. Finally, you can do a modified version of #2 above. Instead of a full sheet of plywood, one or two 1x6's or 2x6's can be used. The obvious place for these are at the midpoint of the new closet wall or evenly spaced across this line. Attach the 1x6 to whatever ceiling framing it crosses. In this case, run the 1x6 or 2x6 up to the inside of the closet wall frame then get a couple of 6" decking screws to attach the top plate of the new closet wall to the ends of the 1x6.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Jaybee,

Nov 10, 2013, 10:26 AM
Did not someone else recently ask about constructing a closet using toggle bolts to support the top plate ? Kinda rings a bell for sure. Big Grin

Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...
Nov 10, 2013, 10:50 AM
Yes... i just read that very similar post

I like Jaybees suggestion of the plywood against the ceiling drywall and 2x4 top plate into that. I need to see how far away my top plate is from the nearest joist to the inside of the closet - that plywood theoretically could be unsupported 10-15" where i attach the top plate.

Maybe I shouldn't shy away from cutting out the ceiling drywall to put some 2x4 blocking in. The drywall patch job would be inside the closet anyway. I'd be building it stronger.

if i cut away the drywall to put in blocking, should i cut the drywall the entire length of the ceiling or just cut out little 12x16" sections ever 3 or 4 feet along my 12 ft run, just wide enough to screw in the blocking?

for the vertical section, i would only need 1 or 2 blocking pieces since i can screw in to the framing at the top and bottom of the existing wall as jaybee said

This message has been edited. Last edited by: kal72,
Nov 10, 2013, 04:24 PM
Even if the plywood can only reach the ceiling joists up against the wall, it will work and be strong. With the plywood firmly attached to the back wall, it cannot pull out. Although the front edge of the plywood could droop during construction, once you brace up the front edge with the new closet front wall, it will become incredibly strong. The plywood cannot droop because the wall holds it in place, the wall cannot move because it is anchored to the plywood.

if you do choose to remove drywall, go ahead and remove the entire inside ceiling area. This way you can not only add bracing wherever needed, but you will have more room to fasten that blocking securely. As far as putting drywall back, it's a much easier job to install one run the width of the closet vs several smaller pieces. Even though it is just the inside of a closet, the drywall patch will look much better as a full piece.

My vote would be to replace the drywall and add bracing. If you don't want to do that, they do the plywood trick.