large hole in plaster/concrete ceiling


Old 08-09-05, 07:30 PM
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large hole in plaster/concrete ceiling

I have about a 3'x4' hole in the kitchen ceiling of about a 100 year old house. It looks like some of the boards that the material is attached have broken. Recently another piece fell to the kitchen floor. I have been told that filling in the hole with shetrock is the way to go, but something about that doesn't seem safe given recent events. I have pulled in the plaster and it seems strong, but there are long cracks and small gaps on the edge around the hole. Any ideas on how to go about repairing this, safely?
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Old 08-10-05, 05:51 AM
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Replacing with sheetrock would be the easiest fix. After installing the rock, tape the edges, let dry and apply 2 more coats of joint compound. To replace with plaster you would need to replace any missing lath, apply a brown coat followed by plaster coats to bring to level surface. The cracks in the solid plaster can be filled by scoring the cracks with a screwdriver and filling the widen gap with joint compound or durabond.
What do you mean about safety regarding recent events? As long as the old plaster is soundly attached to the lath there should be no safety issues.
Old 08-10-05, 07:33 AM
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Not a suggestion, but I think mbioman was concerned about the lath in the ceiling not being sound anymore as to his concern about not being "safe given recent events," as he mentions "It looks like some of the boards that the material is attached have broken."
Old 08-10-05, 09:50 AM
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If the sound plaster doesn't have any give, the lath behind it should be attached ok. The water leak [or whatever] that caused the hole in the first place is likely what also caused the lath to come loose.

sometimes my thinking cap gets left hanging on the wall
Old 08-10-05, 09:14 PM
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The advantage of doing the repair with plaster is that new plaster can be made to fit the old plaster while drywall is almost always too high or too shallow. Here is how I do it:
If the wood lath are still more or less intact I use either metal lath or 20 ga chicken wire and screw that to the joists right over the lath. This will hold the patch. Otherwise it is good practice to renail the lath and that is a very dirty operation. Of course there is already a lot of dirt from the fallen plaster and the hole in the lid.
Then use some bonding agent around the edges of the existing plaster and plaster it with gypsum plaster and sand or StructoLite or Gypsolite. These need no sand only water to be used. Use a straight edge to screed the plaster even with the existing. Let it set.
For an amateur friendly finish skim it with a coat or two of drywall mud, sand, prime and paint.
I would use plaster finish but it isn't quite so easy as the joint mud so I recommend that for amateurs.

If the lath are missing or badly broken then use metal lath in lieu of chicken wire for reinforcement.
I can actually do a job like this faster and better with plaster than drywall.
Im' not sure a drywaller would be faster with his material but I grant you that he would be a little faster than I with his material.

But the plaster will be even all the way around.
What ever you do don't lap the plaster onto the old work. keep the old work clean and don't let the new plaster be thicker than the old at the joinings.
Old 08-12-05, 10:11 AM
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Thanks for the advice!! It looks like we are going to dry dry wall tomorrow. I am not to worried about appearances since we actually have drop ceiling pannels beneath the plaster ceiling. My concern is safety. I don't want another sizable chunck to fall on me or any member of my family. We were lucky no one was home when this last peice fell. It fell right in front of our kitchen sink!!

Our home is about 100 years old. The roof is less than 10 years old, but the ceiling is likely at leat 50 years old. The lath behind the plaster is about as rotten as can be, but the plaster that is still up seems pretty firm (I can pull on it and it doesn't move). Although, I had a contractor tell me that walking up in the attic or even storing things there was not advisable given the condition of things.

I just hope filling the hole will be safe. If I have to replace the entire ceiling area, moving to a new home seems much more ideal.

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