What are some other methods used in finding joist patterns?

We strongly recommend using the magnetic probe to locate joists with sheet rock nails and marking along the way when you find nails in a consistent pattern over 8'x 8' area.

Water always runs down hill, right?  So do joist directions! So if you look at the outside roof structure it shows you for the most part what to look for.  Also, look at the joist ends on the outside under the eve (paying close attention to the length of eve itself on two stories with living area above) for direction, length, and span.


Another hint is to look very carefully at the texture and see if your builder left tell tale nail or hammer marks yet visible through the texture and paint.  Look across the surface using the hardware patterns as a starting point since they are in joists.


Go back to the 8 possible situations to see if you can get a drawing or get help?


What can I do if my carrier clearance won't let totes slide by?

SIDE TO SIDE - When you must deal with a carrier rail you can work around it in many cases.  In a Side to Side installation you can place the tracks such that the totes will allow the carrier to pass between them in the gap under the handles (the joist needs to be directly over the carrier rail or holes won't align with gap between totes, and new custom holes then must be drilled to keep 1/3 of the track on one side and 2/3 on the other side of the carrier yet align with the joists). Or sometimes you can raise the carrier slightly without causing a motor issue, if the tote just needs a small bit more space to over under the carrier rail (about one inch or so)

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FRONT TO BACK - When you are installing over a carrier splitting the space over an eight foot door, you can take do so by centering the jig directly over the carrier rail. When the totes are loaded (you must have 24" from the motor or the header to load on one side or the other) you will have the gap between the totes for the carrier to sit between without interference since the taper of the totes makes a perfect gap. 


How do I know where my joists change direction mid-garage?

The best indicators when you are without X-Ray vision or access to a blueprint or crawl space are: our magnetic probing tool, hardware patterns, visually studying the outside roof structure and exposed truss ends under the eve, tell tale nail or hammer marks or rises. There are some creative architects out there that make things interesting. I would exhaust all possibilities on the list of 8 situations before going crazy with a stud finder. Quality stud finders are reliable if used correctly. Begin with the starting pattern you have established, then confirm the joist continues on the same pattern with magnet.


Just how far from header do I start my first piece of tracking?

SIDE TO SIDE - We recommend starting the first piece of track 4 - 6" from the header to better hide the set of totes with the door.  You can move further away from the header to avoid an obstacle that interferes with loading or you just prefer not crowding up against the header.  The distance recommended is to get far enough away from springs.

FRONT TO BACK - A couple of options come into play here: you can hide the system over the door by being on the first joist away from the header but you give up double end loading.  OR... you can move one more joist towards the opener and enable loading from both ends but be somewhat more visible (not covered with door when opened up).
 

What decides which joists I position on for best loading area?

FRONT TO BACK - A couple of options come into play here: you can hide the system over the door by being on the first joist away from the header but you give up double end loading.  OR... you can move one more joist towards the opener and enable loading from both ends but be somewhat more visible (not covered with door when opened up).

SIDE TO SIDE - The options here are usually dictated by what you have on the sides of your garage.  Beams or ceiling elevation changes or a narrow garage can play havoc or possibly a cabinet or some other obstacle keeps loading on one side only usually loading is best by leaving 24" from the carrier rail with the tracks stopping just above the garage door tracks (Joist pattern will dictate the placement along with the mount pattern with tracks secure into 4 joists on 24" mount points or 5 joists on 16" points) Occasionally it may be necessary to alter the holes to make this work creating your own custom hole pattern.  The metal is thin and the jig holds the track while you drill.

ACCESS TO ATTIC OR CRAWL SPACE - When you have the ability to install studs on top of the ceiling joists you can spend a small amount of money to be able to place them at whatever placement you choose.  When using this method you can mount the loaded jig exactly where you want it with shorter screws first, then go up in the attic and fasten down lumber across the top of the joists above all of those screws.  Now that you have lumber fasten down you can use 6"screws to essentially reach up into the new lumber. 
Maybe you only need this method in select areas - use this method sparingly as needed.


What if I want to go with my joist pattern instead of across it?


ACCESS TO ATTIC OR CRAWL SPACE - When you have the ability to install studs on top of the ceiling joists you can spend a small amount of money to be able to place them at whatever placement you choose.  When using this method you can mount the loaded jig exactly where you want it with shorter screws first, then go up in the attic and fasten down lumber across the top of the joists above all of those screws.  Now that you have lumber fasten down you can use 6"screws to essentially reach up into the new lumber. 

(15 qty - size 10 x 2" & 32 qty - size 10 x 6" Phillips plus 5 qty - 8'x 2"x 4" studs per jig)  

Those who do not have attic or crawl space access and therefore lack the option to accommodate new mount points by changing or adding structure... Sorry you need to work with what you have.


How do I place studs over my joists when I have attic access?

ACCESS TO ATTIC OR CRAWL SPACE - When you have the ability to install studs on top of the ceiling joists you can spend a small amount of money to be able to place them at whatever placement you choose.  When using this method you can mount the loaded jig exactly where you want it with shorter screws first, then go up in the attic and fasten down lumber across the top of the joists above all of those screws.  Now that you have lumber fasten down you can use 6"screws to essentially reach up into the new lumber. 

The studs need not be shortened from 8' as long as you can get them into the attic just fine and the extra length will help you get to hard to reach points.  Remember you need to fasten them down in at least 3 places with 2" screws so when you push up with the longer 6" screws they are held down and don't lift up keeping the screws from grabbing.

(15 qty - size 10 x 2" & 32 qty - size 10 x 6" Phillips plus 5 qty - 8'x 2"x 4" studs per jig)  


How do I establish exact center of joists to assure hitting all 32?

Depending on the quality of your stud finder it may be prudent to physically probe through the sheet rock finding the edges of the wood by drilling a screw and feeling it hit or miss the joists.  Then mark exactly where the center is so that you can align the loaded jig with the centers on each end assuring that all mount points will hit all joists. 

HOT TIP:  Do your fishing for ceiling joists at a point (60" from the first tracking mount points) so that the tracking will cover up the holes you will have made so you don't have to fill them and paint.


What if I hit something hard keeping the screw from going in?

Occasionally you will hit a sheet rock nail since you are aiming for the same place that they are located.  Sometimes you can angle and miss the nail in the same mount hole but other times it is much easier drilling new pilot holes 1/4" away missing it altogether.  
 

How do I know if screw is hitting wood or gone in far enough?

This is a very important question in that it is a MUST that all mount points are fastened into solid wood structure to assure a proper installation. The difference of when the screw is only sunk into sheet rock (usually spins in place and stops pulling upward when head of screw is flush) and when it bites into a wooden joist is dramatically different.  The best indicator is when the tracking material begins to dent in with the tension that is only found when screws are fastening into solid wood material of a joist.

Make sure all screws are tightened to a point of pulling the tracking tight enough to put slight indentations in the tracking material but not too tight to distort the track's shape. When fastening the screws at final install - alternated holes on back to back track pairs so that the tracking pairs that are together go up evenly and straight not all distorted.

You'll know it when you feel it!


What if screw just keeps on spinning and has missed the joist?

Sometime carpenters are not precise like cabinet makers.  You may be able to reach the joist by angling the screw towards the direction that the joist deviated from.  If this fails you can find the screw missing the mark and block wood in place if you have access or you can drill a new alternative hole to align with joist... which is much easier!

If the problem persist and you are missing many holes then you need to go back to finding the joist and what caused you to miss the joist in multiple locations. Go to other remedy back in layout process to make one overall correction or drill alternative holes?


What if joists do not align with mounting holes on either span?

Align as many holes as they are standard on track pieces and drill the remaining needed holes to assure 4 or more mounting points aligned into solid wood joists.  Do drilling of all track pieces while in the jig on the floor if you catch the problem before most screws are not at final install.  Drilling overhead is more difficult and sometime not as accurate

Catching this issue in the planning stages is why locating all joist in entire area is key.


What if my jig nuts comes out of the metal and is loose or lost?

Don't panic... the jigs are made of thin material and the nut can be used or replaced by a standard 1/4"-20 nut found at any hardware store.  The jig will function just fine despite.


How do I remove the install jig with all mount screws in wood?

The screws should be easily reached with a cordless drill. Start by removing the middle 3 screws and then the furthest from the post last so you can keep the jig from falling. While holding the jig with one hand remove the last screw and the sides of the jig should pull away after each of the 4 screws are removed and the jig post is pulled away.

Be careful to not drop the jig when removing screws it will bend!


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INDEX OF FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are some other methods used in finding joist patterns?

What can I do if my carrier clearance won't let totes slide by?

How do I know where my joists change direction mid-garage?
Just how far from header do I start my first piece of tracking?
What decides which joists I position on for best loading area?
What if I want to go with my joist pattern instead of across it?
How do I place studs over my joists when I have attic access?

How do I establish exact center of joists to assure hitting all?
What if I hit something hard keeping the screw from going in?
How do I know if screw is hitting wood or gone in far enough?
What if screw just keeps spinning and has missed the joist?
What if joists do not align with mount holes on either span?
What if my jig nut comes out of the metal and is loose or lost?
How do I remove installed jig with all mount screws in wood?

Can I speak with someone to ask questions not found in FAQ?