Rigging Residential

First, can your ceiling hold an extra potential 1,100+ lbs without being damaged? Many homes with another floor above can, but a contractor will be able to access this based on the age of your home and type of construction. If it is not strong enough, a contractor or structural engineer can determine how to reinforce your ceiling.

Just because someone has the title of “general contractor” does not mean they necessarily have the ‘know how’ (or the insurance) to create anchors points, so our advice is this: Shop around! It’s easy. Call at least 3 contractors in your area, explain you want to hang an aerial yoga swing and get a bid for the job. Bids can vary wildly, so get 3. (Make sure the person has experience with framing or structural work rather than simply drywall or finishing.) The hardware they can use is generally not expensive, so do not try to pick the hardware yourself.

Below, are ideas to pass on to your contractor.

Please pass this info on to your builder:
Remember that we are speaking about rigging for hammock aerial yoga and fitness movement, not drops/acrobatics. Your contractor’s goal will be to spread the hammock’s load over as many ceiling joists as possible, make sure there is horizontal support/reinforcement between your joists, and create anchors that are ideally “compression” anchors if possible (that fasten at the top and compress a beam). These photos are not meant as DIY instructions, nor are they necessarily the ‘ideal’ solution for any given ceiling. They are simply methods that other contractors have approved and people have safely used in the past.


If your ceiling has exposed wooden joists:
Lucky you! This will be a clean and fast job. Here’s a idea to get your contractor started. Grade 5 or higher hardware is recommended. This is a general sketch, so your builder may choose to create something slightly different based on your ceiling’s needs:

If your ceiling is closed off with drywall:
You contractor will need to inspect to see what is in the ceiling. Often they can use a stud-finder and remove a lighting fixture to peek in to the ceiling to make sure the ceiling is load-bearing, and not simply a false lower ceiling (which sometimes exists on older houses over drywall).

Once they determine they can work with it, they can either cut a hole in the drywall (and patch it afterward) big enough to expose 2 joists and use something like the method above. This is the safer method.

If the drywall needs to remain intact, they might choose to use a brace, bracket or pipe to span the length of multiple joists, anchoring up in to the joists at many points and creating a compression bolt anchor in the middle. The one shown is a mount for a punching bag, but a forged-closed, shouldered eyebolt with locking nuts and washers (like above) would likely be more accessible and affordable. This is a good start, although the hardware used in this example may not be ideal. (The ceiling is removed in this photo so you can see where the joists are.)

If your ceiling is closed off with plaster:
Talk send your contractor both of the photos above and ask whether either of the methods might be options. Talk to them about their ideas to prevent your plaster from cracking.

If your ceiling is concrete:
You MUST find a professional to see whether rigging your specific building is possible. Please call around to find a professional that has experience installing overhead lifting equipment in to concrete. Concrete eventually ages and crumbles, so if your building is older, safe rigging may not be possible without dropping something from the floor above to the ceiling below. Your contractor may decide to create an anchor plate with many epoxied bolts, or if possible, may try to connect to any metal reinforcement within the concrete.

BEWARE OF NEWER HOMES


The ceiling joists in old houses (if not molded or water damaged) are frequently stronger than new houses. As solid wood ages, it actually gets stronger. That said, beware of newer, cheaper construction techniques that don’t use solid joists! In some homes the joists are comprised of composite/press-board and boards on the top and bottom to create a wooden ‘I-beam’ shape. While this is strong enough to hold the floor above, you cannot simply drill in to the lower beam as support. Depending on the size of your room and the surrounding structure, some contractors have determined that these type of joists cannot be safely rigged. Others have created supports to reinforce them to create something that can bear the load of a swinging, jumping person.

Whatever your contractor chooses, know that:
– It’s always a good idea to get a second opinion.
– Real professionals don’t mind having another person check their work.
– You need to periodically inspect your anchor(s) to make sure they are still holding safely. What are signs that your anchor is becoming unstable or unsafe? Ask your builder, and create inspect regularly.