If you have an old ceiling that is totally knackered with cracks all over it or perhaps you have a ceiling that has been wallpapered with that dreaded chipwood!! Aaagghhhh!!!
Straight away you know you have your work cut out for you before even starting to do anything. Well don’t get too despondent as there is an old trick you can use that will save all the hassle of either pulling the whole ceiling down, or if it’s papered, getting that wallpaper steamer out and going through the mundane task of trying to get all the paper off. Depending on how old the ceiling is, most of it will come down with the heat from the steam anyway.
Stop right there in your tracks and try this:
Measure the ceiling and then go to your local DIY or home improvement store and buy some 12.5 mm plasterboard. Our company uses 8 x 4 sheets when boarding out but just buy whatever is more comfortable to work with. 6 x 3 sheets are also fine for this task. Buy enough to cover the area required with a little bit of waste as well. What we are going to do is plasterboard (plate) over the existing ceiling.
It’s actually quite easy providing you follow a few simple rules.
The main and most important part of this exercise is that we secure the new plasterboard securely to the ceiling above. Now that doesn’t mean to the actual plaster itself or even the laths; What we want to do is screw the new plasterboard directly to the existing ceiling joists.
Now you’re probably wondering how you will find these joists without being able to see them because the ceiling has already been plastered. Well there are a number of ways to do this. By the way, don’t go out and waste your money on one of the so called ‘joist or stud finders’, as they are seldom accurate and will probably give false readings in the ceiling due to old laths etc.
I’ve also seen some blokes getting a long nail and tapping it into the ceiling in various places to try and find the joists that way. Total waste of time in my opinion and if anything, you may end up going through a cable or pipe from above. You’ll be surprised where cables and pipes can crop up.
Here’s the simplest way to fin the joists. Take a hammer and knock small holes in the ceiling around the perimeter of the ceiling, take care not to damage any coving or mouldings etc. Joists are normally at 14 or 16 inch centres in older houses so you will be able to knock the holes in round about the right places. At first glance the ceiling will look somewhat of an eyesore but don’t worry about this as you will be covering all of the holes you made with new plasterboard.
Now that you know where your joists are located, mark on the wall with a thick pencil their positions. Mark from the centre of each joist. Now comes the clever part, you will need a chalk line for this. With the use of a helper, snap a line from each end of the ceiling where the joists are so that you can see exactly where the joists are running. As we plasterboard, we will then know where to screw the plasterboard to. Also, plasterboard the ceiling (at right angles to the joists) and use abou 2 or 2 ½ inch screws for this purpose. Any longer screws than this and you will struggle to drive the home, any shorter and you will not find the joist.
Once finished, tape all the joints, skim it up and Voilla!! You have a brand new ceiling ready for painting when dry.