Garage overhead storage woes

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industrialauk

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Goal

I want to install an overhead storage in my garage. I bought this rack 4x8 Overhead Garage Storage Rack to do so.

Setup

I live in a condo with a 2 car garage. My neighbor's living room & balcony is above my garage. The garage has fire safety sprinklers installed & ceiling has two beam-like projections. As far as I can tell the joists go parallel to the garage door (more on this later). Due to limitations like fire sprinklers, garage door, garage door support fixtures & beams -- the placement options for overhead storage are quite limited. After careful consideration, I chose the right quadrant closer to the garage door.




Problem

For installing the storage unit, there is one ceiling bracket per corner & each ceiling bracket fastens to two separate joists. The ceiling bracket is screwed to the ceiling using 3” lag screws, for which, you have to drill a pilot hole 3” deep at each center of the joist. This is where stars are not lining up. In multiple attempts, I am not able to discover the joist with enough depth. Not very experienced, but I am definitely hitting resistance after the drywall when drilling the pilot hill, just that its not enough. I go through and through after couple of inches.



As far as I can tell, the joists are running parallel to the garage door and they are 16" inch apart. I don't have a stud finder, but using an earth magnet I've located the joists.



I tried the joist right next to the beam like structure (sorry, I dont know how to refer to it) and even that wasn't deep enough.



What is also odd the the garage door frame doesn't appear to be attach to the joists, as if they made some special arrangement to support it. Finally, there is some kind of structural element which is running across the joist -- I have not measured but those are placed > 2' apart. I have not tried drilling on those.




Questions
  1. Why are my joist not deep enough, aren't they all 2x6?
  2. What is the structural element running across the joist?
  3. What can I do to verify that I have located the joist correctly?
  4. What are my options, if any, to install this storage unit?
 

Sparky617

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I would have thought your ceiling joists would be running front to back on the garage and the large drywall covered area behind your GDO was a beam of some sort. A double garage is a pretty big span for the joists to run side to side with no center support. Do you know anything about the construction of your building? The floor joists could very well be floor trusses, like a roof truss these are made of 2x4's, but laid flat, with a top and bottom 2x4 running the length and a series of 2x4's used as cross braces. See this: https://www.menards.com/main/buying-guides/building-materials-buying-guides/floor-truss-buying-guide/c-1453675920283.htm

If you have floor trusses, it would make sense that after 1.5" you'd stop getting resistance to your drilled pilot hole. Floor trusses would be the only way you could span your garage side to side without a beam. Though I still think the floor structure is running front to back. The front box out could be for duct work and other mechanicals. But with floor trusses most mechanicals can run inside the floor structure. That is one of the big advantages of floor trusses over floor joists and even I joists. All new multifamily housing here uses floor trusses, you do see it in some SF homes. My last house built in 1985 or so had them, this house built in 1999 has standard floor joists. A townhouse I bought in VA that built in 1988 had I joists.

I'm not sure how much of a load you can hang on the trusses. One thought to spread the load would be to lag 2x4's across the floor trusses attaching them to every floor truss, and then attaching the rack to the 2x4s. I'd head to a home center and spend the $20 for a stud finder. https://www.lowes.com/search?searchTerm=stud+finder

I built 2' deep shelving around my garage with a 2x4 ladder construction under 7/16" OSB for the shelf surface. We use it for storing Christmas and other seasonal decorations, coolers, spare HVAC filters and other items. Given the height none of the stuff up there is terribly heavy, but collectively it certainly adds up to several hundred pounds, but it is spread out around the perimeter of a 2 car garage.
 

bud16415

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The only way you will know for sure is to make a larger hole so you can take a look and see what is going on up there and then patch it.



Or if you can somehow find the building plans and they would show it.



It sounds like you have ceiling/floor trusses or the joists run the other direction maybe 24” OC and then they used 2x4 for furring running the other direction 16” OC to give a surface for the drywall.

Right now you know what is up there is strong enough that its holding the garage door. It is likely strong enough at 1.5” to hold your rack also depending on what you put on the rack. If it were just a few hundred pounds I would go ahead and screw it up and hang on it to test it. If it is going to be heavy stuff then I would open the ceiling and make sure what I have up there and even maybe add some structure if needed.
 

Sparky617

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If you carve holes in the ceiling make sure you carefully patch these with drywall and drywall tape and compound. The ceiling is a fire rated ceiling in your condo unit, cutting holes in it and not properly patching it will reduce the fire rating of the ceiling.
 

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