Asked on Apr 22, 2016

How can I make my basement's ceiling beam strong enough to hang things

Lynnea Sandeen
by Lynnea Sandeen
I want to hang a heavy bag and a yoga swing in my basement gym. The house is a late 1980's split level and the beams don't look very strong to me. Does anyone know what I could do or how I could reinforce the beams? Or are they strong enough alone and I'm worrying for nothing?
This is a pic of the beams I am talking about
  14 answers
  • Bink Bink on Apr 24, 2016
    Please don't take the opinions on here. Hire a professional! Please!!
  • David David on Apr 24, 2016
    Lynnea, it is not my intent to spoil your plans but you'd best leave these floor supports, joists, alone. Unlike the 2" x 6" or 2" x 8" joists found in older construction which can bear a certain amount of additional weight, as well as tolerate cautious cutting, drilling or other modification the ones in your house are pupose designed for one thing only; supporting the floor above. They should not be modified in any way. As you noted, "... they don't look very strong." But like the ribs in an aeroplane wing they are made to serve their purpose with the least amount of material. The most you should ever hang from these joists would be wallboard to make a ceiling. On the plus side, you do have another option and that would be to construct a beam to run at 90 degrees underneath the existing joists. You could use either 2" x 6", 2" x 8" or even 2" x 10" construction grade lumber depending on the length of span and weight of items you want to hang. Two boards nailed together, side by side, would suffice and you would need to support them at the ends with screw jacks. You could place this beam anywhere in the room where it would best suit your purpose and without fear of bringing the house down. Finally, this is neither a difficult nor expensive project to undertake. If you have the tools and skills go to it. If not, get someone knowledgeable to give a hand. Even if you were to pay a skilled carpenter to do the job it would be quickly completed and cost about $250 USD for labour and materials.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Apr 24, 2016
    I love all the ideas people suggest, but this is the kind of thing you definitely need to consult a professional about! Even adding stronger beams depends on what they are attached to on each side! Be careful, very careful. You do not want to tear up your yours or yourself!
  • Darla Darla on Apr 24, 2016
    The good news is that you can buy or build stands to hold up the bag and yoga swing. You really don't want to crack one of those joists.
  • Hope Williams Hope Williams on Apr 24, 2016
    Hi Lynnea. First let me say this; never, ever never drill, cut, screw anything into a single support beam! Second, your are adequate to support the weight above them. I.e.; furniture, walls, etc.... Thirdly, your home is 1980's the same as mine. My basement has the metal supports that run the entire length of my house on the load bearing, 8" thick wall. With that said, it is possible to do it yourself but NOT before consulting a professional. The weight should run the span of at least twice as many studs as the longest measurement of what you are trying to suspend. Ask around at church, work, school, type places for some pro construction advice. You'll get the answers you are seeking for proper support.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Apr 24, 2016
    Use your head, it should be supported by your one body underneath. Your roof is being supported by those rafters(they are not beams, but rafters), and were meant to serve that purpose. Imagine putting another body weight on top of your head and ask your body what it would have to say about that. Ouch!
  • William William on Apr 24, 2016
    You have normal trusses, they're not designed for that sort of thing. A truss is built to withstand loads where the individual members meet. They're not designed with shear forces in mind (what you're talking about here). David suggestion is what I would go with. Constructing a separate beam just below the trusses with some kind of support on the ends. With a little ingenuity it could even be built to be mobile, so it could be moved around.
  • Lynn Palmatier Lynn Palmatier on Apr 24, 2016
    If you are having a professional look at what needs to be done. Remember some of the suggestions here and ask LOTS of questions... Also remember one thing, if beams are built it will chenge the height of the area. If it remains undinished, probably not a problem. If finished, could make a difference depending on the size of the beams....
  • G G on Apr 24, 2016
    Sister up joists or hang from main beam. If main beam isn't strong enough, move
    • See 1 previous
    • Lynnea Sandeen Lynnea Sandeen on Apr 24, 2016
      @William lol I love that idea! I should move to an older house with more strength and character!
  • Linda Y Linda Y on Apr 24, 2016
    Build a wooden frame for your seat, if you have brick walls attach a metal bracket especially made for a punch bag, you might even be able to use the same type of bracket for your seat.
  • Lynnea Sandeen Lynnea Sandeen on Apr 24, 2016
    I have decided to either build a separate frame for them or have a contractor come out. Thanks so much for all of the comments and suggestions. I am very grateful for all of the good advice and ideas.
  • MN Mom MN Mom on Apr 25, 2016
    Personally in wouldn't hang anything substantial from the rafters in a basement. They are holding up your floor upstairs and are there for support, not for recreational use.
  • Jemma Dee Jemma Dee on Apr 26, 2016
    Do not hang anything from these. These are floor trusses, not floor joists. You can tell because they are not solid. The zig zag pattern of the wood is held together by those silver plates at the joints. These are gang nail plates and are only pressed into the surface of the wood. Look them up to see what I mean. These trusses are engineered to support the floor and are not meant to support anything else. You will have to have a support frame on the floor or hang your yoga swing from the steel beam in your basement.
  • Jennie Lee Jennie Lee on May 01, 2016
    I agree. Build some form of self-supporting stands for your swing and bag. My house is not large, and was built in 1960, and it has a steel girder that runs the length of the house, down the middle of the basement ceiling!