How to Raise Basement Ceiling

Whether your basement ceiling is unfinished and just begging for some attention, or you’re looking to finish it off so you can use the space more effectively, there are a few things you need to know to get the job done right.

How to Raise Basement Ceiling

In this article, we’ll give you tips on how to raise basement ceiling, as well as advice on what materials and tools you’ll need for the job. So read on for all the information you need to know about raising your basement ceiling!

Many homeowners decide to finish basements because it is an ample space where people can do many different activities. The most popular basements for activities are theaters, playrooms, studying rooms, and game rooms. If you are thinking about finishing your basement, then there are a few things that you need to know.

Things You’ll Need

  • Hand Saw
  • Ladder
  • Hammer and Chisel
  • Level
  • Tape Measurer
  • Plaster Sponge
  • Sand Paper
  • Joint Compound
  • Tape

A Step by Step Guide on How to Raise Basement Ceiling

Step 1: Determine How Much to Raise

Standing in the center of the basement, measure a point precisely in the middle of the current ceiling height. Mark this spot on the ceiling with a pencil. Using a yardstick or tape measurer, extend your mark beyond where you think it should go. For every 8 inches of width you add to this space between your original mark and your extension, raise 4 inches off your basement ceiling throughout this area. If you want to add anywhere from 1-8 extra width, double that for each additional 4 inches added onto your ceiling’s height to determine how much weight you’re adding onto the joists above.

Step 2: Underpinning Your Basement Ceiling

Place your ladder against the wall beneath the section of the ceiling you are working on. The bottoms of joists should be 16 inches apart vertically, so there should be no need to measure. Measure 1-2 feet over from your first mark to ensure that you’re not lifting right where other joists intersect with it.

Place Your Ladder Against the Wall

Using your chisel and hammer, find the center of each joist by measuring to either side until you find its center point (it will be halfway between either edge). Mark this spot with chalk or pencil, then pry up one board at a time using the claw end of your hammer. Remove all nails, so nothing holds any boards in place once removed.

Step 3: Benching Your Basement Ceiling

Place your 2x4s in the same manner, you removed your ceiling joists, making sure to place them directly on top of where each joist was removed. Measure every 16 inches with these boards to ensure that they’re precisely where your joists were located. Once adequately measured, secure them in place with nails so that their edges are flush with the outside walls of the basement. How far apart one board is from its neighbor will depend on how much weight has been added onto it by adding height between joists.

Step 4: Raise Ceiling

Place your handsaw on one of the joists where they intersect with your new 2x4s on top of your benched section. How close the saw will be to your face depends on how far you removed boards in Step 3 (it should be at least 6-7 inches away). With the ceiling still up, cut through each joist by following its center point with your saw while standing on top of one or two 2x4s.

Place Your Handsaw on Joists

Make this mark twice as wide as it is deep; if you make it too short, there won’t be anywhere for the plaster to attach to later, and if you make it too long, you risk splitting the board in half cutting. How deep your cut depends on how much weight is added to these joists. How deep you make it isn’t crucial, but if you make one side only half the length of the other, your ceiling will look lopsided. This is an essential step in how to raise basement ceiling.

Step 5: Brace Your Ceiling

Place two 2x4s across the top of your benched section to keep everything in place while you are adding additional height between joists. They should be placed both above and below the newly cut joists that you just sawed through to ensure that your ceiling doesn’t cave under further pressure during this process.

Step 6: Adding Height Between Joists

Using a tape measurer, measure out an area of 14 inches in width beneath where the new joist was cut, so there is enough space for your joist hangers. How wide a place you will need depends on how much weight is added to these ceiling joists.

Step 7: Lay Your Lumber

Place your lumber horizontally over where you have dug so that it spans the entire length of the dug-out area below. How deep you need to lay this down depends on how many 2x4s will be supporting it and the weight that each joist has to bear.

How far your lumber should sit above where you dug out depends upon how wide an area you laid in Step 6; how much extra space one board needs over the next only needs to be around 1-2 inches, but don’t place them too close together, or they may buckle under pressure.

It Needs To Be Around 1–2 Inches

Step 8: Secure Your Lumber

Distribute your collected screws evenly throughout various positions along the boards; placing more at their ends than near their centers can help keep them from shifting over time (place them every 4 inches or so).

How many screws you need to use depends on the weight that each joist is bearing and its firmness and density after drying out or curing. How tight you should screw them in depends on the factors mentioned above, but it’s best to use no more than 2-3 per board; any more can be counterproductive, especially if they are very short screws (which may snap inside your boards).

Likewise, how far apart one screw is from another will depend on how much weight is added to these ceiling joists.

Step 9: Remove Your Lumber

Remove your tape measurer before removing your lumber from the worksite. It may be best to ask for assistance before attempting to lift unless you have a lot of upper body strength. How easily they come out depends upon the position in which you placed them and how much weight is being added onto these ceiling joists.

How tightly your screws were screwed into each board also plays a role in the distance between them and how deep those boards are sitting.

Step 10: Finishing Up

Use a miter saw to cut off any part of the lumber that sticks out above your ceiling. How far up you will need to cut them depends on how much weight is added to these ceiling joists. How easily they are cut with this power tool also depends on both the firmness and density of your wood after drying or curing and how much weight is being added onto these ceiling joists.

Depends on Firmness and Density

How much time and effort this process takes also depends on those factors and the quality of your miter saw. How long it takes to fix your ceiling after cutting out excess lumber also depends on those factors and the quality of the saw you use for this job. These steps will help in how to raise basement ceiling.

Tips and Warnings


  • Consider covering basement ceiling raisers with crown molding to give them a finished appearance.
  • If you do not want to go through the trouble of placing crown molding around ceiling raisers, consider painting them with two coats of paint.
  • Apply drywall mud to patch holes created by nails or screws when hanging the ceiling raiser section. Allow the mud to dry before applying a final coat of paint or wallboard primer.
  • Once all cracks and screw holes are patched, tape any seams between sections with fiberglass mesh tape and cover with wallboard compound using a putty knife. Sand smooth after the mixture dries completely.


  • If you decide to raise your basement ceiling by removing a section of insulation, wear a particle mask to avoid inhaling dust particles.
  • Wear protective eyewear when installing nails or screws into the raisers.
  • It is best to enlist the help of a friend or family member during the process.
  • If you have an unfinished basement, it may be necessary to paint raisers and surrounding walls with two coats of primer before painting them with your choice of paint color.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do I Do if My Basement Ceiling is Low?

If your basement ceiling is low, you may need to consider installing a raised basement ceiling. Raised basements are a great way to increase the amount of usable space in your home, and they’re also a popular choice for people who want to install a home cinema or add extra storage. Here are five things to keep in mind when installing a raised basement ceiling:

1. Make sure the area is dry – If the area where you’re going to install the ceiling is wet or damp, it will be difficult to complete the installation.

2. Use waterproofing materials – When installing a raised basement ceiling, it’s important to use waterproofing materials so that the floor doesn’t get wet. This will help to protect the floor and any other areas that may be below the new ceiling.

3. Use a jackhammer and chisel – When installing a raised basement ceiling, it’s important to use a jackhammer and chisel to create even gaps between the beams. This will ensure that the ceiling is level and looks uniform from top to bottom.

4. Use shingles or tiles – If you decide to use shingles or tiles, make sure they’re installed properly so that they don’t leak or cause any other issues down below.

5. Make sure you have an engineer’s estimate – Before starting any construction, make sure you have an engineer’s estimate so that you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.

How High Do Ceilings Need to Be in Basement?

When installing ceilings in a basement, it is important to take into consideration the height of the ceiling above. The minimum safe clearance for a high-elevation ceiling is 8 feet 4 inches (2134 millimeters). This means that any ceilings higher than this should be designed as part of an integrated system that includes both foundation and roofing work.

Can You Raise a Low Ceiling?

Yes, you can definitely raise a low ceiling, provided that you focus on the right things and put in the hard work. Here are a few tips that can help you achieve this:

1. Develop a clear business plan – A well-executed business plan will help you to focus on what you’re doing, identify your target market, and track your progress.

2. Research your industry – Before starting your business, make sure to research the industry in which you want to operate. This will help you to understand the current trends and know how to best serve your customers.

3. Build strong relationships with suppliers and clients – It’s important to have strong relationships with both your suppliers and clients. This way, you can be sure that they will continue to support you as your business grows.

4. Stay focused – It can be easy to get sidetracked when starting a new business, but staying focused is crucial for success. If you find yourself getting bogged down by details, take a step back and reassess your goals. Keep things simple so that you can easily adapt as your business grows.

Is It Worth It to Dig Out a Basement?

It’s usually not worth spending the money and time to dig out a basement unless there are specific reasons why you need one. If you’re not sure if it’s worth it to dig out a basement, you can contact the professionals at our company for a free consultation. We’ll be able to give you an accurate estimate of the costs and tell you if it’s really worth it.


We hope you have learned how to raise basement ceiling. Raising the basement ceiling is not an easy job, you need to be very certain that you are doing it right. So, if you are thinking of undertaking this task, consider hiring professionals or at least take the help of some friends who know something about it.

Or else, let the matter rest and hire a contractor to do the work on your behalf. Either way, make sure you know what you are doing before raising the ceiling.

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