advice needed to fixing this ceiling


Here are some images so you can see what I'm talking about
http://mysite.verizon.net/iunknown/Ceiling/index.htm
This is an old house and I'm not even sure how they made the ceiling because I don't see any screws or nails holding it up. It looks like some plaster was applied to the lattice and then sheetrock was stuck to it but it's probably screwed in and I'm not seeing the screws.
I'm guessing to fix this I would cut out a square that encompasses the entire hole then screw in large piece of sheet rock and use mud to cover and smooth it out and sand it.
does that sound right ? Any recommendations on materials needed?
Thanks alot !!!
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Professor wrote:

Wow, I've just helped my son fix something just like that. Its a double layered plaster ceiling, there is no drywall. If the wood is sound, and it looks it, then your best bet is to remove all the ceiling plaster to the walls. Get some 3/8 thick drywall and screw it up to the slats. Tape, mud and sand then texture it if you wish or just prime and paint it with a good ceiling paint. I wouldn't even try to replaster that.
--
Grandpa

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Thanks for the advice Grandpa !!!
That's sort of what I was thinking of doing but just only over that area. The long term plan it to rip it down and make cathedral ceilings but that's a couple years out.
I appreciate your wisdom !!
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Professor wrote:

Practical experience. Our family does this all the time. You will have a hard time seamlessly joining the drywall to the plaster, hence my recommendation to go to the walls.
Don't get to hasty on the cathedral ceiling part. Those ceiling rafters may be a structural member. Get some expert advice on that, and by that I mean someone local who can inspect the construction.
By the way, you realize that your walls are probably constructed similar?
--
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I would just like to add that while you have the entire ceiling down, if you have an attic above this room, now might be the best time to add insulation. You don't have to take down all of the wood lathes, just some to get the insulation in there, although there is nothing wrong taking down all of the wood lathes either. Also if you wanted to add some hi-hats or other light fixtures, now is the time to do it with the ceiling down.
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I can see insulation between the lathes so we're set there. There is an attic so I could get up there if I needed.
Thanks
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Yes we are definately going to get some help with the catherdral ceiling part. I peeked into the attic and I saw the cross beams, they're nothing fancy so I'll ask the a local expert if we can get away with removing them or replacing them with something that looks nice. And then there's the spot where we want the sunlight. Anyway, that's all going to be done by professionals down the road.
And I understand some of the walls are the same, they're ok. If I had alot of money I'd think about replacing them.
Thanks for your help
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Professor wrote:

Yeah, this could have easily been my home a few years ago. Don't try to repair the paster. The keys (pieces of plaster that smoosh up between the lath and hold it all together) are long gone.
Proper way: Do what grandpa said
Improper way: Screw 1 x 3's directly through the plaster into the ceiling joists and attach the drywall to that.
Whatever else you do, make sure the source of that leak is fixed.
BTW, clever Verizon user name. Everything implements iunknown.
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Our long long term plans are a catherdral ceiling so I might just patch it for now. The roof of my house was replaced last year before I bought it so there shouldn't be any leaks. Its pouring out today so I'll probably take a look to make sure.

Thanks, not many people understand it and think I'm trying to by anonymous.
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Professor wrote:

I used to do some consulting under my own company name, "Option Explicit" Most people didn't get it.
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