How to Lower a Ceiling With Wood Framing

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Things You'll Need

  • Hammer

  • Measuring tape

  • Wood boards

  • Circular saw


Pry the tiles up individually with a putty knife if you want to reuse ceiling coverings like tile. If you plan to throw the tiles away, you can break them with a knife.

Break through ceilings like plaster and drywall with hammers and cut with a drywall saw as long as you find no wiring in the way.

Use a hammer to pull the nails from plywood or other sturdy panel coverings, and remove one panel at a time.

To optimize the energy savings, insulate the area between the joists before you replace the ceiling.


Wear safety glasses and a face mask When doing any work on the ceiling to keep dust out of your eyes and lungs.

Don’t remove the old joists. Keeping the joists in place ensures the integrity of your home’s structure.

Lowering the ceiling in a room eliminates some of the vertical space in the room, which can be a benefit for tall rooms. Bringing the ceiling down also lowers the cost of heating the room during the winter months. If you want to lower a ceiling, you must remove the ceiling already in place.


Step 1

Remove the material that covers the wood framing, such as the drywall or tiles. If paneling remains on the ceiling once you remove the visible ceiling coverings, pry the nails out with the claw of a hammer and take the panels down.

Step 2

Measure the length of each joist that runs across the ceiling. Measure the width of one joist from the top, where it sits against the ceiling, to the bottom, which hangs into the room. Ceiling joists commonly measure 6 or 8 inches wide.

Step 3

Add the number of inches by which you would like to lower the ceiling to the width of the ceiling joist, and get wood boards in this size. If you have 8-inch joists, for instance, and want to lower a ceiling by 4 inches, get 12-inch-wide boards.


Step 4

Cut the new wood boards down to the same length as the joists in the ceiling with a circular saw. Make the same number of joists as those already installed in the ceiling.

Step 5

Hang the new joists that you cut for the ceiling as near to the old joists as possible; make sure that the new joists line up with a wall stud. Attach the new joists to the studs with joist hangers.

Step 6

Put the paneling back over the new joists or install new drywall panels. Cover the ceiling with any type of covering that you want.



Alexis Lawrence

Alexis Lawrence is a freelance writer, filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. An avid traveler, Lawrence has visited at least 10 cities on each inhabitable continent. She has attended several universities and holds a Bachelor of Science in English.