Originally Posted by ukonline
Thanks again everyone for the replies. Have read them all and decided to take the whole ceiling out.
That'd be great, if it's not too much trouble!
I'm assuming here that;
- you have someone to help and both of you are used to DIY
If your not don't worry, take it slowly and spread it out over a week of nights. I've just visited a friend who (up to 6 months ago) had no DIY skills and has done exactly what I'm writing below.
- your going to do this over a weekend and want to get it finished in the weekend
- Your going to put up 2"X1" laths to level the ceiling
you haven't skimmed before so your going to tape&joint the edges and then just paint the whole lot without skimming (plastering) the ceiling
- the floor is level
Check that the floor itself is level - get a lath with a straight edge and put it on the floor - put the spirit level on top and see if it reads level maybe the floor is uneven or sloped - if it is badly uneven think again about this job as it will be very hard to get the room looking right - More than likely the floor will be level though so don't panic.
If at all possible try and get the preparation work done mid week before you start ie get the old ceiling down & out of the room, get the materials bought and stored. I'll write it as if your doing it all on saturday& sunday.
Buy the following;
1. Plasterboard slabs - how many slabs do you want (8'X4' or 4'X2')
2. 2 inch X 1 inch lengths of timber - If your re-levelling the ceiling by putting in new "joists" calculate how many you'll need.
3. roll of tape and jointing compound (not bonding or plastering mix) it comes in a bag similar to cement ie 25kg
4. if you don't have them buy a strip of Electrical connection block
sometimes called electrical terminal blocks.
5. Ceiling rose - MAYBE - see explanation below.
Check the following and see what option suits you best;
Check to see if you can get rid of the rubble (plasterboard) at your local dump site/recycling centre (some don't take plasterboard) and if you can;
a.have a trailer outside ready to take the rubble and buckets/wheelbarrows ready to bringit out. Have a sheet of plastic there to cover the trailer if you plan to leave it there for a whileto avoid making a mess when the dust mixes with the rain.
b. No trailer for the moment = make a heap in the yard and dispose later - have a plastic sheet to cover it.
c. If you can't landfill/recycle it nearby consider hiring a skip
Plan of action
yes I made this many mistakes myself I remember them all
1. Turn of all the electricity to the house at the fuseboard, remove the ceiling rose (the thing you can see on the ceiling for the light) disconnection the wires. Place the bare ends of the wires in the terminal blocks, cover in insulation tape and push that back up through the plasteboard once your happy all the bare wire is covered. You might want to buy a new ceiling rose as they are often so old and brittle they crack. Once fiished turn the electricity back on.
2a. Rip the ceiling at arms length - there will be dust up there and the original / previous builders will have left offcuts of wood, pipes, drops of plaster etc up on the ceiling - you don't want that falling on you. Use a short crowbar or a hammer.
2b. Be careful where the ceiling joins the wall, rip from the centre of the ceiling out to the walls and when your close enough to look between the joists to where the wall is see if there are pipe/wires over the join. If not think about using a plaster hand saw/mechanical saw (but nothing that creates sparks or heat) to cleanly cut the join between wall and ceiling. DO NOT CUT THE JOISTS, remove the plasterboard under the joists with a hand knife
2c. You will need to remove some of the nails to allow the laths to sit properly on the joists. You might want to have a think here - which way are the slabs running and - place the laths so that they are at 16 inch intervals under the slabs that way there will be 3 laths every 48 inches ie 4 foot . You could leave this job until the 2nd person is back and the rubble cleared out as your going to be playing with the laths getting them level
3. Clear the rubble out. (sounds short but it is the worst part of the job)
Around this point you'll need to break for lunch or just take a break anyway. You should be well past twelve o clock so stop and relax for a while
4. Fixing the laths - this will be a long explanation but shorter in real life -
- Find what is your lowest corner -If the floor is level measure from the floor to the ceiling at all 4 corners - If they are the same then the corners are all level with each other.
- Are the measurements hugely different - ie cm's rather than mm's = they are unlevel, pick the LOWEST corner (shortest measurement) and use that as your reference level.
- Check that there isn't a bow in one of the original joists that is lower than your lowest corner, if there is take that height as your NEW zero mark and put all laths level with that point. Mark the zero mark at all 4 corners lightly with a pencil.
4b. Fix the first lath to the old joists so that it can be adjusted ,ie maybe use 3-4 screws in it's length instead of permanently fixing it, running ACROSS the joists not parallel as this makes it easier to level it. You want it tight enough not to move but not fixed with so many screws you can't adjust it easily. Put one end in the ZERO CORNER. Now use the spirit level to level the lath then permanently fix it in place packing any spaces between the lath and joist.
- Once this lath is level you done all the hard work - now put up a lath at the other end of the room,levelling it off the 1st lath and then stand back and see if the ceiling looks right ie it doesn't look off square with the floor. You might want to put up a few more laths in between the first two as it will make it easier to visualise the ceiling
there is a trick you can use here - run 2 lengths of string or if you have it (to spare) run 2 straight edged laths between ends of the 1st and 2nd laths as you can see in the sketch. The top of the "guide" will always be level with the bottom of the lath so you just place, pack and screw all other laths in place without using the spirit level. MAKE SURE that the laths are never pressing heavily on the guides or it will distort the guides and create a sag in the ceiling.
- I'm using old measurements - inches - it would be a good idea to put a slab on the floor before you start the laths and arrange/mark on the slab what it will look like at 16" centers ie does the last lath overhang the edge so the next slab can screw onto that lath as well. it'll give you an idea of what your going to do later.
6. Screw the slabs on. If your using large slabs ie 8'X4' it would be nice to have a third person handy for the next hour. Two of ye can hold the slab in place leaving a 3mm gap all round and the third screw it. There should be 5 screws across the 4' width and 7 screws in the length of a slab - assuming you used 16" centers in all directions.
A trick to get the 3mm is to fold hard cardboard into a right angle and screw some to the existing slab, now just press the new slab against it and you don't need to worry about measuring for the correct gap it will be there. The 3mm gap is to allow the jointing compound to squeeze up between the slabs and get a better grip. 3mm isn't precise either - you'd get away with 4 or 5mm.
At this stage you'll be late Sat night, if you can get point seven out of the way you can sand the dry joint compound on Sun and re-fill any small gaps. That leaves it ready to paint. IF your not at this point on Sat night DON'T WORRY. You can do everything after this point on your own so you can leave it ti mid-week if you feel like it.
7. Tape all the joints and screw holes. You'll see the slabs have a depression at their edges - this is to give the jointing compound room to cover the tape without the tape showing. Get a smooth straight edge longer than the depessions and smooth the jointing compound so it fills both depressions. You'll probably need to come back tomorrow when its dry and refill any holes you missed/ridges you made.
7a. Don't forget to bring the wires for the ligh back down through the slabs
. If possible run them through a joist or a lath so you have something solid to screw the new light fitting to.
8. Run your hands & a straight edge over all the joints & screw holes. If you can't feel imperfections - congratulations your ready to paint.
This looks like a lot - both to write and to do. I was lucky enough that I had it written in an email for another friend so I copied, pasted and altered. You'll have it a bit harder and will need to do this once to learn the process, after that its simple and you'll wonder why you never did it before