Best Way to Replace a Ceiling.....??

Old 12-07-10, 01:32 PM
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Best Way to Replace a Ceiling.....??

Hi, Everyone;

I am in the process of remodeling an inherited house to rent out. I am using a process of doing some of the work myself, and contracting the stuff I feel is beyond my ability.

Here is my current portion of the project: The Ceiling in the living/dining room.
The ceiling in this room was covered with the ubiquitous “popcorn” coating that was common in the 70’s. It was covered with cracks and it was discolored as well. The cracks were long and wide in places.

I was not quite sure what to do about this. I did not like the “popcorn” (it might have been better with butter and salt), and when I have looked at other popcorn ceilings that had been repaired/repainted, I never saw one that looked really good….you could almost always see the lines where the cracks had been repaired.
I had a local handyman who did this kind of work come over and take a look, and he poked at the ceiling and discovered that it was a false ceiling made of 12X12 tiles that were made of a thick cardboard-like substance. He suggested that we remove the false ceiling and simply repair/paint the original ceiling. He also suggested that it would be very easy to remove the old one, and it would be something that my Son and I could do in a couple of hours. It was, in fact, very easy and we pulled the old tiles down in short order.

BUT…..what was underneath the tiles was a little troublesome. The entire ceiling was covered with a matrix of (I think) 2X2’s, to which the tiles had been stapled. There are a LOT of them, and they are very securely nailed to the original ceiling. Numerous nails hold each board in place.

So, here’s my dilemma; Should I remove all of the 2x2’s and patch all of the hundreds of little holes left by the nails (and the big holes that might be left by removing the nails and wood) and use the original ceiling?....OR should I use the existing 2x2’s and create a new ceiling using drywall, or whatever kind of material is used for a ceiling?

Your thoughts?


Old 12-07-10, 01:57 PM
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How old is the house?

I know the type of tiles you removed, they are always stapled onto strapping. Is the ceiling plaster? I'm guessing this is an older house that has plaster so it might come down if you remove the 2x2s. As long as the 2x2s are secure, there shouldn't be any issues with hanging drywall over it. 1/2" drywall should work fine.
Old 12-07-10, 02:07 PM
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Thanks for the reply, mark....

The house was built in 1951, and yes, i do believe that it is plaster....and yes, that is my concern, that the plaster will come out in chunks if i pull out the boards......
Old 12-12-10, 09:35 AM
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I have a home built in 1941. Same 2x2 was used to put up the ceiling in my basement which held up 3/8" sheet rock covered by a plaster texturing. I pulled down the sheetrock which had started to sag/crack and plan to put up CeilingMax since my basement has 7' walls. Good luck!

Experience with this house has been that doing anything with the pre-existing construction the walls are all plastered and a nightmare to try to patch. If possible leave the 2x2 and cover them. The 2x2 in my basement were to add spacing to allow for electrical conduits and gas line which run below the floor joists (which I didn't discover until I had pulled them down along with the sheetrock )

Last edited by lcarlso4; 12-12-10 at 09:40 AM. Reason: additional thought
Old 12-12-10, 10:00 AM
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If you try to remove them you will have to be very careful that pressure from the pry bar doesn't damage the ceiling. At the very least I would use a wide board under the pry bar and tryto put pressure over a ceiling joist.

Have not tried what I am about to suggest but if I found it difficult to pry off the strips with out damaging the ceiling I would try splitting them away from the nails using a chisel to hopefully run a line with the grain down the whole length. I'd suggest try it once carefully to see if it is going to work.

Once the boards were split from the nails I'd then go through with a pair of end nippers and cut the nails as close to the ceiling as possible. Next I'd use a nail set to drive the nail just a bit below the surface and finish with a bit of Spackle. A lot of work and only suggested as a "last resort" idea.
Old 12-12-10, 08:52 PM
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Two concerns: 1. The fasteners in the 2x2's are strong/long enough for the light-weight tile but not new drywall; 2. The ceiling joists are original and may be over-spanned now with 8# per sq.ft. for plaster and lath, adding drywall at 2# more may be too much for it.

Unless I was sure of the span and load, I would remove all- to the joists just for the liability involved to a renter and your Insurance coverage.

Old 12-13-10, 05:16 AM
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I agree with Gary, regarding the weight factor. Although it is quite a bit more work, removing all the plaster, lath, and extraneous stuff that is up there, now will produce a better substrate for your drywall. One downside, you will lose all your insulation and will have to reinstall it, as I am sure it is blown in type. May not be a bad thing, though, as you can dispose of it and put new in with a much higher R value for less money. Our hardware store is starting to sell the compressed stuff you see on Holmes on Homes that has a far superior R rating per inch than fiberglas. I think I'll try it on my next project. You could install it from the bottom and install a vb prior to sheetrock.

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