And When the Ceiling Comes Tumbling Down

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I got out of the shower and five minutes later, the ceiling in the bathroom fell down in our 108 year old piece of crap house that we moved into a few years back. The ceiling is--uh, was-- plaster and not modern drywall. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can patch up the holes in ancient plaster-- preferably so no more of it will collapse? :-)
Ron
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Pull it all down and replace with drywall. About 25 years ago a freind had a similar problem. She didnt want the demolition mess so she spackled the holes and covered the ceiling with drywall. She did all the work herself except for the drywall finish work.
Jimmie
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JIMMIE wrote:

Hmmm... that could be problematic. HD is the only place even remotely "close by" that has dry wall, and I don't have a truck or access to a truck. The last time I even thought about having something delivered, the delivery price was so obscene I almost fainted. I miss those days when Builders Square would haul out something for only ten bucks or so...
Ron
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Ron wrote:

HD rents trucks fairly cheaply for short term us.
--

dadiOH
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a larger issue is WHY did it come down after so long?
Roof leak? structural;issue?
Sewer or other line above leaking?
Better to take it down and find out why, while your at it insulation is always a good idea:)
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EXACTLY!! My house is nearly twice as old as the OP's, and it's been my experience that plaster only "comes down" if there's water involved. Find the leak, fix it, and replace the ceiling with drywall. Trying to patch plaster is a waste of time because it will never look like new. If it's a fancy molded ceiling in the livingroom it might be worth a try, but certainly not worth the hassle for a bathroom.
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Whether it looks like new is immaterial-- for the time being anyway. Getting drywall can be a lot more trouble than it's worth; is that DAP plaster stuff, or any similar products any good?
Ron
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bob haller wrote:

My guess is one or two earthquakes over the years, plus a lot of steam and hot water-- after all, it did all fall down right after I got out of the shower. Gotta be a causal connection there.
Ron
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Could you borrow a pickup or rent one for less?
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Dymphna
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Yes, I agree. Take it all down, find out why it failed, make sure everything is sound and replace. If you're not experienced with drywall, a ceiling is probably not the best place to start. You may be better off contracting it out. HD does rent trucks very cheap. I think it might be like $18 for the first 90 mins or so.
Also, now is a good time to check for proper venting. If you don't have a fan, now would be a good time to take care of it. Excessive moisture can lead to failure like this.

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You can patch with plaster, but if some came down now, the rest is probably not far behind. I'd take it down and drywall it. Patching procedures vary depending on the hole size. How big are they?
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Each one no more than four or five square inches.
Ron
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Ron wrote:

Holes in plaster usually don't appear without lath pulling loose. Is the lath sagging? If so, bracing it and screwing it back in place should help. Pretty easy to patch little holes after that.
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote:

The lath is fine. Vibration (we live on the edge of a freeway and a few eartquakes didn't help either) and steam has caused the plaster to fall, but not in small holes-- first one piece, then another, then another...
Ron
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wrote:

We had that too. In fact, twice. Caused by an imperfect bathtub install that left a crak between the tub top and the tile. It was all fixed. However, I will not easily forget the experience of hearing tiny sounds like grit falling, seeing the ceiling slowly come loose and just before getting the drop cloth down to get the ceiling, seeing a piece of plaster of about ~3x5 ft come down in the living room while still standing in the kitchen. That's when I learned that after a new bathroom installation you should keep the tub filled with water for a few days before tiling the walls around the tub, so as to make the floor settle properly (or something like that. The tile guy was going on vacation, hence the rush by the contractor).
--
Best regards
Han
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I was only out of the shower a minute or so when the ceiling fell in where I had just been standing. Sheesh!
Ron
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Ron wrote:

Wood or wire lath?
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wrote:

Eathquakes? Bay area or SoCal?
Depends on your desired end result...repair, replacement or antique restoration.
The fact that you refer to your house as a "108 year old piece of crap house" gives me the impression that you're not a old house "fan".
Owning a very old house requires some (preferably all) of the following characteristics....
a varied & experienced based skill set the ability / desire to learn to skills & processes the ability to find & use good subs patience love of old houses a deep pocket or good cash flow the ability to live with imperfection
All that said...... old plaster sagging can be restored. esp if oyu have attic access or by using plaster washers from below the fact that some is failing, points to water damage; active leak at some time or just moisture from bathroom use. tear down & replace is the fastest / easiest way you can leave in place & cover with drywall as well a pro drywaller could knock this this out in a flash for not a huge cost patching w/o addressing loose areas will only be a band aid patching with drywall compound without addressing moisture issues will only be a band aid
Is the texture smooth or bumpy / stucco like?
hard to give a specfic suggested path with eye balling it
cheers Bob
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Wood.
Ron
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wrote:

That's easy......
Fill the bathtub with gasoline. Toss in a lit match and get out of the house. While the house burns, use your cellphone to call home builders in your area. They'll be happy to build you a new home, complete with a fall-proof new bathroom ceiling.
Praise the Lord !!!!
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