I'm getting ready to sell my old house, down to the final handy-man type
fixups. One problem is the ceiling tiles in the basement. The house is
50 yr old and I suspect these tiles have been there for a good portion
of its history. The tiles are those square ones the consistency of
heavy cardboard, with the little patterns in them, about 10-12" square.
Several have been knocked off/removed during renovations, several are
sagging down (I think dislodged when the electrician was running wiring
above them) and a few have water stains from an old leak.
Warning - completely NON-DIY'er here... I found a box of replacement
tiles. Is this something I could do myself? How are they held up? Could
I get away with like super-gluing them in place? How to get the sagging
ones down? Just cut? This is primarily in the back utility area of the
basement, so while I want it to look good, I'm not hugely concerned
about aesthetics... more wanting it to look well maintained.
Pull one of the loose ones down, and look closely at the edges with a
flashlight. If these are the tiles I am thinking about, there is a
tongue on two edges, and groove on the other two, or perhaps half-lap
joints. The ones I have seen were held up with tacks, staples, or glue,
such that each succeeding row hid where the previous row was fastened.
Usually fastened to a lattice of furring strips nailed crossways under
the floor joists, since those are not at regular 12" intervals.
Now I'll throw a monkey wrench in the works- some tiles of that vintage
contained asbestos. I'm NOT saying it is a hazard, as long as the tiles
are not breaking down into dust. But in a sale situation, you know how
people get, and how disclosure laws are. I'm no tile expert- I don't
know a quick way to tell if what you have is the ordinary (celotex?)kind
or the asbestos kind. But if you have the energy and time, pulling it
all down carefully and replacing with new tile, may be cheap insurance
against questions. Do NOT have the old tile tested- if you KNOW it is
asbestos, you have to disclose it, and usually have it removed by an
abatement contractor. Don't ask, don't tell, etc. Just use common sense,
a dust mask, and if you start breaking tiles, spritz it with water from
a plastic spray bottle to reduce airborne dust.
Me personally? I'd patch it as best I could with the spares on hand, and
play dumb. If there aren't enough matching tiles, I'd strip the utility
room (including furring strips). Mechanical spaces shouldn't have
anything in the way of where the pipes and such run anyway, IMHO.
They did end up being the tongue & groove kind. I picked up some new
Armstrong ones in almost the same pattern.... and then chickened out and
hired a handyman to do it. He had to cut the ridge thing off of a few,
but most of them just slid right in place. Having watched, I think I
could do it myself the next time... except that fortunately I don't have
a basement in my new house. Even though there are some noticeably newer
tiles, it definitely looks better than the old brown water stains and
missing tiles. (Oh, and I didn't ask what they were made of<G>). Thanks
for the help.
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