Ceiling – Is it safe to hang a 39lb projector screen from a drywall ceiling without using the joists


Is it safe to hang a 39lb projector screen from a drywall ceiling without using the joists? I'm having a debate with someone over how we should hang a projector from the ceiling. I want to place screws into the framing, however the joists are off center from the wall and would either require chains or that the projector screen just be off center. The person I'm debating with wants to use a steel toggle bolt anchor or some other method of hanging a heavy item in drywall without a joist.

Best Answer

40 pounds dangling from a toggle bolt going through 1/2 inch of drywall? I don't want to sit under it. Don't forget it's not just the toggle bolts, it's also the screws holding the drywall up, and they are not meant to hold anything heavier than drywall.

However, you don't need chains, and it doesn't need to be off-center.

Get yourself some steel angle with slots in them - look in the shelving section, not the raw materials section. Search for "slotted angle shelving" to get an idea of what you are looking for. Buy something long enough to span several of the ceiling joists, not just 2. They are available in a wide variety of sizes and finishes ranging from warehouse grey to polished chrome.

slotted angle

Attach 2 across the ceiling joists so that the projector can attach in the ideal position. With suitable anchors into the ceiling they should easily handle hundreds of pounds, assuming the ceiling is also strong enough.

Regarding the ceiling joists (studs are in walls) there are several possibilities:

  • big, solid pieces of wood like a 2x12 (likely in an older house). Several long 1/4 inch lagscrews will be perfect here.
  • manufactured beam (houses made after the mid-1980s, small commercial buildings). Problem as they are not meant to be cut or drilled into - damage the bottom edge and the beam can fail.
  • your "drywall ceiling" is actually a suspended ceiling with no substantial support. Forget the whole idea.
  • your drywall ceiling is applied directly over (under?) concrete. Call someone who knows how and has the right tools. A properly installed mount will hold a car up.