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post #1 of 6 Old 02-16-2007, 10:17 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm planning to install a ceiling mounted projector in my family room. I have a question about the ceiling and the best way to install the mounting hardware.

The family room is on the ground floor and is below a bedroom. The ceiling is probably sheetrock and is covered with the 'popcorn' texturing material popular in the late '70s. Is it likely that the ceiling material is mounted directly to the floor of the room above, or are there likely to be joists of some kind? I can't really tell by tapping on the ceiling.

Since the projector weighs over 25 lbs, I can't attach the mount to the ceiling material itself, but will need to mount it to something more structural, like a sub floor or joist. What's the best way to do this? Do I need to remove the ceiling material in the area where I plan to mount the projector, or is there an easier, less intrusive way?

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post #2 of 6 Old 02-16-2007, 11:27 AM
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I did this last year. I have a 2 story house built in the mid-80's and I mounted a projector on the ceiling of my first floor family room, which is just below a bedroom.

There should be joists between the ceiling and floor of the two rooms you describe. You should mount the projector to a joist. I'm not a builder or an architect, but I can't imagine a standard multiple story house not having floor joists for each floor - of course someone here could probably prove me wrong...

I have smooth ceilings so I didn't have to worry about removing any popcorn or texture material. Before you mount your projector to the ceiling, you should smooth out the area where the mount attaches to the ceiling.

Here's how I installed my projector. It was fairly intrusive, but it was also inexpensive which was important to me... I searched the forums here and bought a recommended (and inexpensive) projector mount off ebay. Then I used a stud finder to find the ceiling joists. I mounted the projector to a ceiling joist and as close to a wall as I could get it (which was about a foot away from the wall that is opposite from where my screen was going to be). I ran all the cabling from my equipment cabinet through the walls and out through an electrical box I installed on the wall just behind the projector. I had to cut several holes in the wall sheetrock and I had to drill holes through the studs in order to get the wires to where I wanted them. After carefully patching the holes, you can't tell that they were ever there.

I made my own screen by simply painting a screen on the wall where the projectors image landed. Then I got some 4" wide fluted molding from HD, painted it flat black, and nailed it up around my screen.

When I finished, the whole setup passed the 'wife test' AND the 'mother-in-law test', so I guess it looks okay.

Hope this helps...

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post #3 of 6 Old 02-16-2007, 12:34 PM
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Stud finders may have problems on popcorn ceilings. Instead you may want a finishing nail and a hammer. pound away, if the nail plunges in, move it and try again. Small holes are easy to patch and you can probably ignore the holes if the mount will end up covering them anyways.

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post #4 of 6 Old 02-16-2007, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. I've already tried the stud finder and as Chiahead says, they don't work too well on popcorn ceilings. I'll try the finishing nail and hammer method and hope the builders used a consistent spacing of the joists.

What I really need here is some kind of ultrasound or X-ray machine to see what's underneath the ceiling.

Running cables to the projector and rear surround speakers will also be a problem--I may end up tearing the entire ceiling out, running conduit between the joists, and redoing the ceiling.

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post #5 of 6 Old 02-16-2007, 02:12 PM
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If you have access to the attic or under the floor, you can see the direction the joists ran, and they most likely run th same direction between floors. I noticed mine in my house aren't 16 or 24 OC, but around 20, so access underneath might let you know the distance too.

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post #6 of 6 Old 02-18-2007, 10:17 AM - Thread Starter
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No access under the floor (it's a concrete slab) or the attic (there isn't one). I'll probably have to do a lot of probing.

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