How to Hang a Hammock Chair From Plaster Ceilings
It was about a month ago when I first decided a hammock chair would be perfect for my office. I’m not sure what made me think of it, but really, an office space could always use something a bit relaxing, no?
My first, and pretty much only concern was how to hang the hammock from the ceiling. I knew the hammock needed to hang from a ceiling joist, but I’d determined finding one through the plaster and lath ceiling would be near impossible.
Lucky for me, upon exploring my attic a bit more thoroughly, I realized I had access to joists right above where I wanted the hammock to go. This was perfect, because if I strategically drilled a few holes through my ceiling, I’d know exactly where to hang the hammock so that it hit a joist.
This was my method.
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Any hammock chair you hang from the ceiling MUST be supported by a ceiling joist. If you have a plaster ceiling, the plaster and lath alone is not enough to support the weight of an adult human. If you have a drywall ceiling, the drywall will almost immediately crack and break upon anyone (even a child) sitting in the hammock.
If you expect your chair to hold heavier persons (200+ lbs), you might want to do a bit more research before hanging your chair from a single joist. The weight a ceiling joist can hold depends on many factors (how strong the joist is, if the weight is in the center of the joist vs. the edge, how much weight the joist is already holding, etc,) so you’ll want to make sure your joist is strong enough before hanging the chair. There are ways to spread the weight out between two joists instead of one in order to safely support more weight, but I’m not going to address that today.
If you have drywall ceilings, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a ceiling joist; a typical stud finder should identify them quickly and easily. If you have a plaster ceiling, finding a ceiling joist is much more involved. In fact, I don’t have a quick and easy method for finding ceiling joists in plaster ceilings without attic access. My method requires attic access above the space you want to mount the hammock.
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Hanging a Hammock Chair From Plaster Ceilings
I was hanging this hammock chair that I got from Amazon. It's super comfortable, and large enough that I can fully stretch out my legs in the chair. If you're in the market for a hammock chair, I highly recommend it!
Step 1: Identify the Area You'll Hang the Chair
This sounds obvious; of course you know where you want to hang the chair! But in addition to identifying the location in your living area, figure out exactly where that is in the attic. Where in the attic is exactly above where you want to hang your chair?
I wanted to hang my hammock in the left corner of this room.
Since this was on an exterior wall, all I had to measure was the distance from the right wall to where I wanted my hammock to go.
We went up to the attic, measured over, and took a guess at which ceiling joist would be appropriate to hang the hammock from.
Step 2: Drill a Small Hole Through the Ceiling
From the attic, directly next to the ceiling joist you've identified, drill a small hole through the ceiling. This small hole will allow you to pinpoint exactly where the ceiling joist is from your living area.
Step 4: Identify the Final Hanging Point of Your Hammock Chair
Using the hole as a guide for where your ceiling joist is, decide the final hanging point for your chair. Remember that A) the hammock needs to be hung in the joist and B) the hammock needs room to swing around. We ended up using the next joist over from our original hole to ensure the hammock wouldn’t hit the walls when pivoting (the one I purchased was pretty big!) Because of that, we repeated step 2 to ensure we knew where our new joist was.
Step 4: Drill a Large Hole at Your Final Hanging Point
From your living space, drill a large hole upward through the ceiling and into the ceiling joist at your final hanging point. We used a 1/4” drill bit to drill this hole. Make sure you hit the ceiling joist- if you drill eventually lurches after you’ve gone through the plaster and lath, that is a bad sign and means you didn’t hit the joist. Go up to the attic and figure out how far off you were, then re-drill the hole.
For what it’s worth, we missed the joist on our first attempt, and had to try again.
Step 5: Screw the Screw Hook Into the Ceiling Joist
Screw the screw hook through the hole and into the ceiling joist. It will take a fair amount of force to get the screw hook into the joist. My father (the primary installer of the hammock- I just stood around and took pictures) ended up grabbing a screwdriver to gain a bit more leverage.
Step 6: Add Hammock and Adjust to Length
When we hung the hammock on the wall, it was about 6 feet off the ground, requiring a ladder to sit in it. Obviously, we went and got some nylon rope to lower it to a more appropriate height. A strong chain would have worked as well.
I don’t know about you, but my hammock came with absolutely no instructions about how to hang it up. If yours was the same way, I hope this helped you out. And if you regularly struggle to hang things in your plaster walls, check out my other posts about hanging curtain rods and opening a doorway in plaster walls!