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old cracked ceiling


swede's Avatar
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03-22-04, 05:11 AM   #1  
swede
old cracked ceiling

Our ceilings are old and alot of them are cracked and slightly hanging down. Do we have to replace the entire ceiling or can we fix it somehow?

 
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03-22-04, 05:30 AM   #2  
Are they drywall or plaster ceilings? Sound like plaster to me but I have seen a piece of drywall fall off a ceiling before.

 
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03-22-04, 05:59 AM   #3  
swede
Hubby said the whole house is lap and plaster....don't know if he was just talking about the walls or ceilings as well. All I know is it's old as heck...lol

 
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03-22-04, 08:04 PM   #4  
plaster & lath is the term you're searching for. Sounds like the plaster is sagging from the lath meaning it's lost it's bond with the it & sooner or later will probably fall completely off, leaving you with exposed wood lath.


If the plaster was still firmly bonded to the lath, you could get by with simply repairing the cracks. But from you description, I'm inferring that this is not the case. Try standing on a step ladder or stool & pressing up on the plaster, if it feels spongy, it will need to either be ripped out & replaced with new plaster or drywall, or the ceiling could simply be over-laid with new drywall.

Down side to ripping out the old stuff, very dusty & messy, in an old house there can be alot of accumulated dust, not to mention loose iinsulation that will all come down with the ceiling.

If you over-lay the ceiling, you need to locate & mark joist locations & use long enough screws to go all the way into the joinsts, don't depend on the wood lath to support new drywall. 5/8" rock is my usual recommendation for ceiling s, but you can use 1/2" if your framing is on 16" centers. You'll also have to lower light fixture boxes & such to accomodate the new slightly lower ceiling height. If you have crown mouldings, you'll need to cafefully remove it & reinstall after the new lid goes up & is taped, finished, & painted, etc.

Hope that helps, post back if you've still got questions.

 
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03-23-04, 04:20 AM   #5  
swede
Obviously I misheard what hubby said so remind me to get my ears fixed as well as the ceiling....lol Anyway, the ceilings are 10 ft. high, so I'm not worried about fixtures being lowered at all, but the thought of trying to put new stuff on top of the old sounds a bit intimidating. This is why there are these horrible panels on the ceiling in most of the rooms in this house. I'm assuming that the previous owner didn't want to go through all that and decided this was easier. But it's not very pretty. I would much rather go back to all the original ceilings than to cut time and possibly money by putting in false ceilings.
And before I forget, it must be this plaster and lath that you are speaking of because I noticed that down in the basement bathroom, there is a spot where the ceiling has come down and under it is wood slats or something. It's like an attic wall, I guess because that bathroom is under one of the stairwells going to the second floor. So, it's either like that through the whole house, or it's just that bathroom because of where it is. I really don't know.
Let me ask you this....we use to live in florida where the bumpy ceilings were big....is this maybe a simpler solution to fixing/covering the cracked livingroom ceiling?

 
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03-23-04, 05:07 PM   #6  
swede
ceiling picture

http://www.freepgs.com/conjureous/swede/swede3.html

Here's a pic of our livingroom ceiling that needs to be fixed.

 
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03-24-04, 04:10 AM   #7  
OK good pic, looks like what I call a splatter texture and it looks to be a plaster & lath ceiling you've got there.

I have done some decent looking patches on situations like that as long as the plaster isn't spongy around the cracked area & there are only a few cracked areas.

When you get up there press with your hand & see if the plaster flexes upwards. If it does this simple patch won't work & you'll need to do more extensive repairs.

Anyway, what I have done with some success is to fill the cracks with either vinyl spackling or slightly thinned joint compound & just used a finger to fill & smooth the cracks. After that dries, mix up a panful of mud to like a wet cement consistency, then use a soft household sponge & dip it into the mud & just dab it over the repaired cracks. Allow that to dry & then either spray or roll (using a 3/4" nap roller) a coat of primer over the entire ceiling. Depending on how good a primer you use it may take 2 coats to really hide the repairs. This is a temporary patch though, the area will most likely crack again in 1-3 yrs but definitely something you can try with minimal effort & expense.

A more permanent & IMO better solution would be to have 1/2" drywall put up directly over the P&L ceiling. This requires that you locate & mark the joists & use long enough screws so that you're attaching the drywall to the joists, not the lath. Drywall sheets should run across the joists, not with them. Make sure that any butt joints (where 2 sheets meet end to end) land in the center of a joist so both ends are securely fastened. Can't tell for sure, but that looks like just a painted wall & the blue is a painted border around the ceiling? If so & you don't want to install crown trim, you'll need to sand the top area of the wall all around to roughen up the paint & make sure you get a good bond on your corner tape.

To give you an idea of costs for having this done, (in my area anyway) I just did one similiar to what you've got in a room 12' x 20' hung, taped, 2 coats of fill & then a spray & knock-down texture= $300 labor plus $150 on materials. Total time on site 15 hrs over 2-1/2 days, 2 guys for hanging 2 hrs & then one to finish it up & shoot it. Owners opted to primer & finish paint the ceiling & in this case there was paneling on walls so corners weren't finished & they installed crown to cover the 1/4" gaps at wall to ceiling corner.

 
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03-25-04, 11:05 AM   #8  
swede
hehe, well, the blue at the top of the wall is painters tape that I left on too long and now is a permanent fixture....:P I didn't realize ya had to pull it down as soon as you painted that area and now I can't get it off without it tearing a jagged line down the wall. Crown molding is something we would both love to have in there though....but we are concerned about the height of the doorways and the fact that there is already some really chunky looking molding around those which would interfere with any other molding we put in the room. I think I have a pic of the doorway so you can see what I mean. I'll post a link to the pic below. As for the ceiling issue, did you mean that the whole job only cost roughly 500? Because that would be well worth it as long as we don't have to try and do it. Don't think hubby or I could pull that one off without a major disaster....lol Anyway, we could always just put the same false ceilings up in there too, but they look so tacky and I really love the 10 ft. ceilings in the livingroom. I'll have to go down and check to see if the ceiling there presses in at all. I haven't tried that. (Was afraid the whole ceiling would come down on my head! lol) I'll let ya know what I find out. The link below is one I used for the decorating section, but shows pictures of the doorways and molding.

http://www.freepgs.com/conjureous/swede/swede.html

 
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03-28-04, 04:38 AM   #9  
From what I can see in the pictures, there's just one spot that's cracking in the ceiling, if so I'd just repair that like I described before. The room with the built-in bookcase would present a bit of a challenge, as you have to take down & trim & cut it back then put it back back up, but other than that, don't see where crown would be too hard to insrall in the other rooms.

As to the costs, it runs about $1 per s/f for dywall hanging & finishing, excludes paint.

As for your blue painters tape, yeah it should come down within 24 hrs of painting. You can most likely get it down by using a blow dryer to loosen the glue & then pull it off, will probably also need a bottle of Goo-Gone to fully remove any residue thats left over after removing the tape.

 
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03-28-04, 06:52 PM   #10  
Bob I'm not
Awesomedell...............

I have a similar situation in a rental unit ; but only the outermost layer of plaster is loose . in some areas it's not real bad , but in others its worse; mostly an eyesore, since the plaster under the loose areas is intact .

my plan is to secure new drywall over the old plaster , using the methods you describe (joist location/long screws/etc).
however , a friend told me about a type of drywall screw designed specifically for cieling applications ; something about the screw having an attached washer .
have you any info on this type of drywall screw ? pros and cons ??

 
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