repairing plaster on bathroom ceiling

Hi,
I wondered if anyone had any pointers on how to go about repairing the plaster on my bathrooom ceiling. The house is 105 years old with all the original plaster. I gather that over the years there had been a leak in the roof that was not repaired, which damaged the ceiling in the upstairs bathroom. I now have a new roof, so no more leaks, however, I have to tackle the plaster in the bathroom. The difficult part is, it is damaged around the "pipe/vent" thingy..... I am considering a couple of things...1. repairing the plaster then covering the entire ceiling with that paintable embossed wallpaper that has the old victorian look or 2. simply trying to repair the plaster just in that area and no ceiling paper. However, I wondered if there is some kind of "cowling" that I can put around it to give it a better "finished look". Kind of like something that you would put around a woodstove pipe that goes into the ceilng? To get a better idea of what I am talking about I have posted pictures. This is the link: http://www.maddawg.net/house/bath.html
thanks. janet
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It is going to be a hard spot for any "cowling" kind of thingee as you called it because any thing you buy will be round.
From the picture it looks like the old plaster ceiling has been textured at some point in time. If that is correct matching the texture will be the hardest part of the job. But a repair can be made to look almost as good as new.
I think if you will take the time to remove all the loose , crumbly material you will find wood lathe under there somewhere. Just remove the loose stuff until all the surrounding material is firm and stable. You are then ready for the repair. It isn't all that hard but it will have to be done over a period of 1-2 hour sessions using regular setting type drywall compound. Assuming you are going to wind up with about an 18" arc around the pipe to repair I would guess 4-5 1 hour sessions for a newbie.
I would guess than an experienced drywall guy could do it in 2-3 trips and about 3 hours time.
If you want DIY instructions just post back.
Colbyt
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Unless the can says it is formulated for use with plaster, do NOT use ordinary drywall mud. They expand and contract at different rates, and the patch will soon crack. and fail. (DAMHIKT) Figure out what you actually have up there, and use the same type of material for the repair. From a look at the photos, it DOES look like someone threw a texture finish up there, probably to hide other cracking and stains. If it is a small room, I'd be tempted to screw a layer of drywall up there, once I had 'thumped' the whole ceiling and removed any damaged areas.
As to the original question about the trim ring- yeah, they sell split rings for applications like that. If you want the old-timey look, it'll take some hunting, but a simple paintable or nickel finish ring should be available at any plumbing supply or maybe a stove shop.
aem sends...
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I am not looking to start a war here.
I have been using drywall mud in in its many forms for 30 years to repair cracks and voids in plaster. I still own several of the homes involved.
I have to say aem is wrong about this topic. Drywall mud works.
Colbyt
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I am going to try to do it myself. And yes there is lathe under there. I would rather not have to drywall the entire area if I can avoid it....but then, maybe that ends up being the easier route.
janet
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Be sure to read aem's post and my reply to him.
You do not need to hang drywall. You only need to be able to mix a powder to the right consistency and trowel it onto the lathe in coats. Less is better because you can always add more with no sanding. The final coat will need to be sanded unless you are a gifted newbie.
Matching the texture will be different exercise.
Colbyt
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will
Okay, now I'm confused. Here you refer to to powder, before you said drywall compound, which I assumed meant the usual 2 or 5 gallon premix kind. I had bad results using that on old plaster, even when it was cleaned back to solid dry materials, with no paint to keep the mud from adhering, etc. A fellow who had done that sort of work before advised me to use 'patching plaster', which did come in powder form, and I had to mix in a bucket, and use an improvised hawk and wide knife to apply, since even a dry mix flowed pretty well. It did work, and adhered much better than the premix mud. (which was the 'standard' kind, according to the bucket, not the quick set stuff.)
Hey, I'm always willing to learn from others- if I ever need to patch old plaster again (none in this house, thankfully), what is your recommended product? Are there some kinds of premix that do work, as opposed to the contractor grade buckets, which is what I had handy back then?
aem sends...
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The premix and powder are two different things. If you read Colbyt's post again you'll see he said "setting type" drywall compound. This means a powder mixed with water , which sets off a chemical reaction that hardens the mixture within a certain amount of time depending on it's lime content and other ingredients. The bag will usually say how long you have to work it. While the premixed is meant specifically for taping drywall, setting type compound is really just a variation of plaster and works great for these kinds of repairs. The challenge for the inexperienced user is mixing the right amount to a workable consistency without lumps or air bubbles. Because it hardens through "setting" not drying, you can put the next layer on as soon as the first one is hard even if it's still showing signs of moisture. Saves lots of time over the premix which has to dry 12 - 24 hrs between layers. A good hardware store or building supply dealer should be able to hook you up with the right product. I've had great results with the Durabond brand, but they're all pretty much the same. And read the instructions on the bag carefully. Take the safety precautions VERY seriously. Good Luck!
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Siralfred said it very well. No need to repeat what has been said.
I will just add that the Durobond product sets up hard and can not be sanded. It will set up even under water, on your tools or anywhere. It is wonderful for the base coats and to fill large voids. Then top it off with a sandable setting compound for the finish coats.
For first base coat to bare lathe I like the 20 minute type. For a first time user I would recommend the 45 minute and mix it a little dry and stiff. Don't try to fill the entire void in one application. The thicker and wetter the application the harder it is to keep the mud in place and prevent sags or drop offs.
These products all set within a few minutes of their stated time and another coat can be added as soon as they do. Small ridges and goobers can be scraped off before the next coat if necessary. The entire area need to be thoroughly dry before sanding. In most cases 24 hours is enough. Increased air circulation is more effective than heat to the complete drying process.
Once or twice when I had a really large and deep area to do I have even used mortar mix with a little lime added for the first base coat. I did not have any horse hair to add like the old guys did but it worked anyway.
Colbyt
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I do have some durabond from a previous repair. So I should apply a layer of the Durabond initially - directly on the lathe, then, after that has set, apply layer(s) of drywall compound and finally texture?
thanks janet
Colbyt wrote:

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Janet,
You should apply the thickest layer of Durobond that you can get to stick in place AND be below the surrounding surface. On a ceiling depending on how dry you mix it, the area size and your skill level this might be done in 1-4 coats of Durobond (non sandable).
Thereafter you can use any sandable setting type mud (Durobond makes several as others do) to bring the surface to level. Then you mix up a batch and create the texture portion.
For the texture I have used all of the following at one time or another: A shaving brush a paint brush a pony roller and cover a block of wood the kitchen broom a sponge
Use whatever you can dab on and create a similar look. You will never create the exact same look unless you have the same tools and the same number of beers as the original finisher. :)))
I just touched up a leak are like the one you have on a ceiling I textured years ago. I can see the repair. No one else has been able to see it. Your eye will be far more critical than the next person who looks at it. If you can almost please yourself you have done a great job.
Colbyt
Colbyt
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Do not use the paintable embossed wallpaper on the ceiling in a room with high humidity. Not only will the paper fail over time, mold can form under the paper. I say this because I recently demo'd a bathroom that had that paper on the ceiling.
Scrape the old plaster around the pipe and repatch with patching plaster. I would then look for one of those split ring type collers that was suggested. If your handy, you could find a column cap the same diameter and cut it in half and nail/glue in place. If you want a perfect seam on ring, buy two. Cut each one just off center so when you put them together, there is no gap from the saw cut.
-- Bill
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Note that it's sometimes possible to duplicate texturing. I've done it a couple of times, and it's been pretty much invisible.
[Just a temporary thing until we strip all the texturing off. I hate texturing.]
Experiment with thick mixtures and dab it.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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