one of our ceilings in our 1930s house has started to sag.
One way to repair this (as suggested by our plasterer) is to screw 9.5mm
plasterboard over the top then replaster.
This saves all the filth of removing the ceiling, and all the toil of
removing/knocking in the original nails.
We were about to start putting up the board this weekend, but noticed that
the ceiling had sagged further (the original area which started to fail is
held up by an old floorboard and a couple of props).
At least 50% of the ceiling has now sagged by over 2" and I am concerned
that trying to push a large area back up with thin plasterboard will just
end up with damaged thin plasterboard and a lumpy ceiling.
Waiting for the plasterer to drop by today for a look, but wondered what the
worst L&P ceiling was that had been repaired in this way, or if anyone had a
disaster story to share :-)
We've used both these techniques in this house. Pulling down is
definitely a 'better' way of doing it, but is more time consuming, and
If your current ceiling has sagged by a couple of inches, you really
don't have much choice - it has to come down.
This was my thought - however I thought I would wait for someone to say -
"no problem - ours was down by a foot or more and went up a treat" before
sorting out the one piece boiler suit, mask, goggles, full breathing set
Now wondering how much waste there will be - our local tip limits the amount
of 'building waste' you can dispose of in a day.
To spoil your day, I'm now going to tell you that this is the single
most unpleasant job I've yet to encounter in house renovation. And I've
had to dig out our cess pit.
Vast quantities of dust will be created, which will be distributed
throughout the rest of the house. Seal up the room you're working on
with large amounts of gaffer tape. Wear a really good mask - I like the
30-day 3M ones (screwfix/B&Q).
I can vouch for that too. It is a dirty dusty filthy job.
If you can easily get above the ceiling it might be worth vaccuming up as
much as the black filth as you can before knocking down the rest of it.
Clearing out and digging out under the floor in properties with low
clearances has got to be the worst.
Demolition is quite a lot of fun. For PPE wear a hard hat, visor,
coveralls gloves, safety footwear with sole shields as it's very
probable one will stand on a nail in all the dust and particle mask
under visor. Remember PPE is always the last resort in H&S hierarchy.
If you can easily get the floorboards up above knock it down from above.
Spray water from above and from below to reduce dust and effort. It
might come down itself when wet.
Use a 4by2 or 8by4 batten and a couple of small whacks will take the
whole lot down easily.
This is what we do in burn outs (though the fire services help with the
If you have ARTEX applied before 1985 it will contain asbestos.
Also while you have the ceiling down it's a good chance to put in any
wiring you need.
I would recommend when you do sheet the ceiling to use a plasterboard
with good heat and acoustic insulation properties. Install deafening as
See Sheffield Insulations website for details.
Speak with the plasterboard wholesalers and/or planning authorities on
how long a fire barrier the ceiling should be rated at.
I would second this. Make sure there is *nothing* in the room
that you care about. No amount of dust sheets will protect it.
To avoid pulling out or knocking in all the nails from the laths,
I fixed 2x1s to the joists at right-angles at the appropriate
spacing for the plasterboard, which solved the issue of the
joists being non-standard distances apart. It also gave me new
wood to screw into when attaching the plasterboard. I didn't
lose an inch off the ceiling height because the original plaster
was about an inch thick! Also, I used the smaller 9mm ceiling
plasterboard sheets (brown ones from Wickes) as I could
handle these on my own and I was getting the ceiling skimmed
It is worth it in the end.
PS I forgot:
If you want to rewire or alter plumbing in the room
above, do it while the ceiling is off. It is surprisingly
useful to be able to access a floor from below. Sort
out where you want the lighting in your room as well
If you are the only one in the house while pulling the ceiling down, put
some "essentials"... bottle of drinking water, mobile phone and house phone
(assuming it can reach / wireless) into a binbag before you seal yourself in
the room and take them in with you. Also make sure you seal the bottom of
That way you don't end up effing and blinding when the phone rings, as it
inevitably will as you've pulled half the ceiling down. Good luck with one
of the most shittiest DIY jobs ever:)
| If you are the only one in the house while pulling the ceiling down,
| put some "essentials"... bottle of drinking water, mobile phone
| and house phone (assuming it can reach / wireless) into a binbag
| before you seal yourself in the room and take them in with you.
| Also make sure you seal the bottom of the door.
Seal all round the door and enter and exit the room by the window.
Thanks for all the supportive responses :-)
(1) I know it has been discussed, but is 9mm plasterboard O.K. for dining
room ceiling in 2 story house? The reason I ask is the I already have the
9mm board to 'repair' the ceiling but am now realising it will need
replacing. It would be good not to have to try and persuade the builders
merchants to upgrade the board to 12.5mm. I don't really fancy doing two
layers of plaster board because that makes the ceiling thicker again, and
also gives me the problem of missing the first set of screws.
(2) Fortunately the dining room has a patio door to the patio (no sh*t,
Sherlock) so I can organise all my stuff outside or in the garage then seal
the doors into the rest of the house. Drinks etc. out on the patio, mobile
and DECT phone under cover on patio or in garage (which has a rear 'up and
over' door out onto the patio).
(3) No, I can't get at the ceiling from above because I have just laid a
laminate floor in the room above! AFAICS the wiring is O.K. because I
checked it while the floor boards were up as I ran electrics, H&C and CH
across the bedroom to the new bathroom. And yes, had I known the ceiling was
going to fail I would have sorted it before laying the floor :-(
So if you would all kindly join me in the 'sun & no wind' dance I will
proceed to get down and dirty.
As far as I am aware the only time you need more
than 9mm is where the fire safety bits of building
regs come into play, e.g. below room in the loft.
Since it's the ground floor of a two storey house,
I don't think the fire safety bits of the regs apply.
This is not of course to say that putting in thicker
board to enhance fire safety is a bad idea!
I'm sure someone here will point out if I am wrong
about the regs.
Trying to find the best dust protection.
I was expecting to find some 'all in one' solution like a respirator but
Screwfix seems to have mainly 'mouth and nose' dust protection.
So - goggles plus dust mask?
Brow mask to avoid misting up the specs?
What is the best solution to breathe, see (with glasses) and not get caned
by plaster dust?
Ah, the eternal question...
I find that a mask/goggles combo works great for the first 5 minutes,
but then I can't see anything.
Some people find full face masks (like SF 14060) good, but I find them
too hot for prolonged use, and they still steam up.
For dusty activities like ceiling stripping, I just use a good dust
mask, and close my eyes a lot.
On Mon, 19 Apr 2004 12:13:45 +0100, "David W.E. Roberts"
Buy one of the medium masks from Screwfix, not the crap paper ones or
the respirator the middle one, along with eye protection of your
choice, I hate goggles so use glasses or a full face mask.
Fundamentally the plaster dust is not toxic or even particularly
irritant (although irritating) so unless you're asthmatic then a
respirator is definitely overkill. If there is any external access to
the room then as I recall from doing kitchen ceilings (amongst
others), the best thing to do is get most of the plaster down quickly
(claw hammer is as good as anything else) and then get out and leave
it for a while to settle before coming back in to finish off in a
slightly less frenetic manner. If you have exposed floorboards above
you might want to tape them up, particularly if they are straight cut
Go on enjoy it!
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.