In my new 1902 house (I haven't moved in yet), there are awful bright
yellow plaster ceilings that are absolutely hideous and it's clear
that the plaster is sagging because it's so heavy; I think it's been
there since the 70s. I planned (from the moment I first saw the
house) to replace the ceilings. I searched this group for messages
about ceilings and found a few but I just wanted to confirm my
findings. Sounds like all I have to do is take down the old ceiling
(which I could do myself with a stepladder and something to knock the
ceiling down and haul it away) and then hire a contractor to replace
it with drywall? Or are there other, better materials to use to
replace a ceiling? And if drywall is used, is it just a matter of
nailing (using a nail gun) the drywall to the wood that will be left
when I remove the plaster? If so, is this something that I (or some
guy friends that I have) could do even if we had no previous
experience doing this?
Thanks again for your advice. This group is great!!
I doubt that the plaster ceiling is from the 70s, as drywall was in heavy
use by then. If the plaster is sagging, it probably original from 1902. The
ease of replacing it will depend on what you find under it, wood lath, wire
lath, gypsum lath, if original it will be wood lath. You will probably need
to remove the wood lath. The condition of the plaster in the corners will
create possible problems for you unless you cover it with a crown moulding.
With this type of work comes the "snowball" effect, or the "while you have
it down..." effect. This is the time to examine the plumbing and wiring in
the ceiling, even to insulate and vapour barrier the outside walls between
the joists. It is all cheaper to fix while the ceiling is down, but not
By the way, drywall is installed mostly with screws not nails, driven in
with a screwgun.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Lesley) wrote in message
1. Have you determined that the ceiling finish and not the framing is
It is possible that there is one or another problem in the framing of
a 1902 house.
2. Is the framing even enough to accept gypsum board?
Framing behind plaster is often less uniform than present day frames.
3. What is the condition at the ceiling / wall intersection?
If there is any kind of trim, I would want to save it to keep the
character of the old house.
It may be hard to knock down the ceiling without damaging the adjacent
A saw cut along the perimeter of the ceiling would help.
OK, ok! I surrender!
Sounds like this is not going to be a simple job. A piece of the
plaster was already removed, and it looks like wood underneath.
Sounds like a job for a contractor, though--not for me or my friends.
Again, thanks for the info.
Well a giveaway was "the plaster is sagging because it's so heavy; I
think it's been there since the 70s."
Your ceiling should be able to handle far more weight than plaster.
Plaster doesn't particularly sag becuase of weight. it will come off
because it's detached from what's behind it, but it's not a liquid that
I'd expect there to be wood behind it.
If the ceiling is high and you can lose an inch or two, lose the
ceiling, deal with what's behind it and work in a frame that's even
enough to handle drywall. (this might just be a simple matter of
getting to joists and "sistering" 2x4 or 2x6 to it for the purpose
of holding the drywall).
While you have no ceiling, ponder running cables for the floor above.
easier now than when everything is closed up.
As for drywall:
1) don't NAIL it. We use drywall screws for a reason.
2) rent a drywall lifter. This lets your help put a sheet into it,
then they raise it to the ceiling while you and someone else get
some screws it (I love my makita screw gun, which clutch) for this.
That part is just work and not terribly difficult. If you have a flat
surface to work on.
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