100 year old house ceiling cracks


Hi
On the first floor 1 room has cracks showing under the woodchip paper. once i get the paper off (Big job i know) what's the best method to fix the cracks and recover the ceiling ready for repainting.
Mark
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the
What is the original surface, lath and plaster? I don't know how it would react to trying to remove woodchip. I've just recently removed the woodchip in what is now my computer room and it was a real pig, two of the walls are stud partition walls with plasterboard and are now somewhat rough to say the least.
Anyway, one of my neighbours sons is a professional decorator, and when I saw him arriving for a visit I collared him for some advice. He told me that on a job he was involved in, rather than remove the woodchip from a ceiling, they covered it with a new layer of plasterboards and artexed it. This might be worth considering if your 100yo timbers can take it. As might removing the existing ceiling complete with the dreaded woodchip and replacing it.
DISCLAIMER - I am not an expert and I wasn't going to jump in on this one, but you don't seem to be getting killed in the rush, so I thought I'd add my two penn'orth.
Steve
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This is very common and is called overboarding. It is usually the quickest and cheapest way of getting a new finish on a poor quality ceiling.

I am sure the 100 year old timbers will be fine for overboarding. Removing the ceiling is probably one of the dirtiest jobs ever. It should not be done by the faint hearted.
One problem may be with any plaster coving (the old nice looking stuff). In replacing the ceiling it will probably be destroyed and on the otherhand with overboarding the new finished ceiling level may not match up properly to the coving and look a mess.

Why not add your two penn'orth? I think you are correct in what you said.
Adam
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I guess its lath and plaster with horse hair as a wall in the attic i rebuilt with plaster board had this construct.
over covering with plasterboard would spoil the plaster coving detail so guess i have to see what happens when i take some of the woodchip off.
all the timber sofar seems solid.
Mark
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the
Lath and plaster work of that age needs treated with care. Lot's of TLC involved here. The best solution is to place a few pots of water on a stove in the room, and let them boil for an hour or so to let the steam loosen all the paper off the ceiling (and walls). You should then be able to use a sharp scraper to remove the paper quite easily, but still be careful not to dig the scraper in to the plaster to much.
If the ceiling is to badly cracked, then your only other solution is to cut around the edges of the cornice work (decorative coving), and remove the old lath and plaster. Then replace the whole thing with plaster-board and a skim of board finish plaster to seal all the joints. Going for this option means a whole new ceiling, and it is a dirty, filthy job to do. Once it is complete however, you should have a nice flat new ceiling to decorate.
You should always put lining paper on the surfaces before painting them, as in the future removing the paint you don't like is as easy as using a steam paper stripper and starting again afresh.
Just be glad that it's only small cracks in the plaster work of a building that age. :-)
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BigWallop wrote:

Not the only option, and not the best option. Plaster cornicing tends to be very fragile after 100 years, and this is vulnerable to unintentional damage, and possibly heavy damage. And removing L&P ceilings creates a truly terrible mess during work, resulting in even more work being needed.
Better approach is: (after carefully removing paper)
1 first ensure the existing ceiling is still attached to the joists. If its coming down in places, reattach with pva poured above while propped up for a few days
2. Ensure the plaster is stable. If it turns to dust when prodded, again diluted pva etc will stabilise it.
3. Fill in holes and skim.
This approach will not trash the cornicing, and does not cause the dreadful mses you get when you take a 100 yr old ceiling down, a mess so bad that everything in the room is ruined, decoration included.
NT
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