How to Install Ceiling Joist Hangers

Toenailing is the standard practice when installing ceiling joists.
Joist hangers support ceiling joists.
The strength provided by a toenail is adequate under normal conditions if the job is done correctly. Missing the mark when setting an angled toenail will weaken the connection or split the joist, causing it to fail under minimum amounts of stress. Installing ceiling joists with hangers increases their strength and eliminates the chances of joist failure due to improper nailing practices. Using the correct installation methods ensures the ceiling joists provide the maximum amount of holding strength. .

Step 1

Mark the joist location on the ledger board by pulling a tape measure along its length and placing one pencil mark every 16 inches. Make one mark 3/4 inch off both sides of each 16-inch mark. Align the blade of a carpenter’s square with one 3/4 inch mark while the base of the square sits tight to the bottom of the ledger board. Pull the pencil along the blade to create a line. Extend each mark using this method.

Step 2

Align the sides of a joist with one set of extended lines. Drive a 16d galvanized nail through the top of the joist and into the ledger board at a 45-degree angle with a hammer.

Step 3

Slide the open end of a joist hanger up from the bottom of the joist. Make sure it sits tight to the joist’s bottom face. Push the sides of the hanger inward.

Step 4

Hit the two quick tabs – located at the top of both hanger sides – toward the ledger board with a hammer.

Step 5

Secure the hanger to the ledger board by hammering one 16d galvanized nail into every hole facing the board. Hammer one 16d galvanized nail into each hole aimed toward the joist faces.

Step 6

Place a four-foot level on top of the ceiling joist. Have a helper hold the joist level. Install a joist hanger on the other ledger board using the described method.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Carpenter’s square
  • 16d galvanized nails
  • Hammer
  • Joist hangers
  • Four-foot level


  • Enlist multiple helpers to ease the process of installing joist hangers.


  • Use proper safety techniques if installing joist hangers from a ladder, scaffolding or man lift.