How To Hang A Canoe From Garage Ceiling (Step-By-Step Guide)

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

It is not surprising that more than 18 million Americans canoe or kayak every year. There are so many reasons why this sport is widespread, and people who become involved benefit from a widening circle of friends, their fitness levels improve, and their emotional wellbeing is positively affected.

To hang a canoe from the garage ceiling, you need to carry out the following steps.

  1. Decide on the method to employ.
  2. Choose the location.
  3. Drill all of the holes.
  4. Install the eyebolts and pulleys.
  5. Pull the canoe up and secure it.

After a great day out on your canoe, you need a safe place to store it, away from the cold, moisture, and excessive heat. The storage solution should ensure the canoe is not vulnerable to damage (cars reversing in, children tripping over, etc.), but were it also relatively easy to store and retrieve.

The Steps Needed To Hand A Canoe Are Listed Below

Hanging your canoe is very straightforward; however, you need to follow a plan to avoid missing anything.

Step 1 – Decide On The Method To Employ 

There are four options to store your canoe.

Store The Canoe On The Floor

If you do this, make sure you put something (e.g., two planks of wood) between the canoe and the floor. If you have enough space, this may be a viable option.

Store The Canoe On A Custom Trestle

Use a custom-built canoe storage trestle. 

These racks are, arguably, the safest way to store a canoe. The canoe’s weight is evenly distributed, so there is no chance of buckling, twisting, or warping.

Store The Kayak Against The Wall

Install supporting brackets on the wall, and rest the canoe on these.

Hang The Canoe From The Roof

Design and build a ceiling-mounted storage system and hang the canoe from this device.

Never hang the canoe from the carrying handles, seats, grab loops, thwarts, or rudder (if it has one). The ropes should wrap around the entire canoe.

Whichever method you decide upon, ensure that it complies with the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations.

Step 2 – Choose the location.

hang canoe in garage ceiling

As this article covers the steps you need to take to hang a canoe from the garage ceiling, it is assumed that you chose the third option in Step 1.

Locate a portion of the garage ceiling with a space equal to the entire canoe length free from electric garage door openers, stored bicycles, or any other obstruction that will conflict with the canoe.

Measure the length of the canoe on the floor below the ceiling portion you intend to attach it to. The average canoe size is 14 feet in length.

Before proceeding, clear the area under the ceiling.

Identify where you will install the ceiling pulleys at each end of the canoe. If the canoe is 14 feet long, these should be 12 feet apart.

At this position, locate the rafters with a stud finder and find two sets of points, 12 feet apart, with rafters behind the ceiling.

Mark all four points on the ceiling at a place in the middle of the rafters.

Step 3 – Drill All Of The Holes

Drill four holes part of the way into the ceiling and rafters. 

You also need to attach a cleat to the wall at the halfway point of the canoe. Cleats usually require two holes to be drilled for installation. 

Step 4 – Install The Eyebolts And Pulleys

Screw one eyebolt into each of the four holes you drilled in the ceiling and rafters. 

The eyebolts must be able to hold the weight of the canoe. Test this by hanging heavy weights on each eyebolt. Try to pull yourself up with a rope attached to each eyebolt if you feel athletic. Be very careful as it would be an embarrassing story to tell an ER doctor!

When you are happy that the eyebolts have been adequately installed, attach a pully to one on each side.

Step 5 – Pull The Canoe Up And Secure It

Work out how long the pieces of rope should be. The chord must be long enough to

  1. Be tied to an eyebolt that does not have a pulley attached.
  2. Fall to the ground and back up again.
  3. Be threaded through the pulley.
  4. And then it must reach the cleat attached to the wall.

Cut two pieces of rope to this length.

  1. Attach one end of the rope to the eyebolt that does not have an attached pulley. Ensure the knot you use is strong enough to hold the canoe
  2. Lie the canoe directly below the ceiling you will store it against.
  3. Loop the free end of the rope, under the canoe, and up the other side.
  4. Thread this end through the pulley attached to the second eyebolt.
  5. Loosely attach the rope to the cleat on the wall.
  6. Repeat the same process at the other end of the canoe.
  7. From the previously installed cleat, take both ends of the rope and pull. The boat should rise in a level attitude.
  8. When it is high enough, secure both ends of the rope to the cleat.

Congratulations, you have hung your canoe from the ceiling!

Cautionary Tales!

It is not difficult to hang your canoe from the ceiling, but there are a few precautions you should take.

Be Careful Of Heat

Check that there are no furnaces, burners, geysers, or other heaters installed behind the ceiling where you will hang the canoe.

Prolonged exposure to extreme heat may damage it over a more extended period and possibly compromise the glues and resins used in its construction.

Keep The Canoe Level

Don’t hang the canoe from one side. An equal force must be applied to each part of the canoe.

Some people recommend hanging the canoe upside down with the pressure of the rope being applied to the canoe’s gunwales. Others prefer the canoe to be upright with the cords looping around the canoe’s hull. Check with the manufacturer which is the preferred orientation for your vessel.

Only Hang The Canoe By Looping The Rope Around It

Whether you want to hang the canoe right side up, or upside down, only do this with the ropes strapped around the vessel.

Do not attach the ropes to the carrying handles or any seats, grab loops, or thwarts. These fittings are not designed to hold the boat for long periods, and they may work loose.


As beneficial as canoes are, their sheer bulk makes them difficult to store. If you leave it on the floor, it could lose some of its shape, and if that isn’t an issue, it may be more exposed to damage. Hanging the canoe from the ceiling is the best balance of options available.

If you install the mechanism carefully, making sure that the eyebolts are drilled into the middle of the roof beams, it will be a safe and secure storage solution,

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.