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Lath and plaster ceiling collapse

Discussion in 'Plastering and Rendering' started by richardrich79, 22 Oct 2015.

  1. richardrich79

    richardrich79

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    As the title of the thread says the effing roof just fell in narrowly missing my wife who is seriously not amused.
    Checked it out and there is no water around it's bone dry, 150+ years old, the rest of the ceiling seems sound enough but I guess it should all be replaced to be sure.
    Anyone have any idea if buildings insurance will cover this?
    My gut feeling is that as there is no obvious cause other than age (wear and tear) I'm in **** creek.
     
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  3. ree

    ree

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    Why not post pics from the room below the ceiling and the room or loft above.

    What section (size) are the joists, and what span?

    Any tanks or storage items in the loft?

    In my limited experience its unknown for a ceiling to collapse without plenty of prior warning such as cracks appearing or bulging showing.

    Sudden occurrences such as you claim are often co-incidental with some other occurrence such as a heavy truck vibrating past etc.
     
  4. Burnerman

    Burnerman

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    You haven't been tap dancing in the loft above, have you? :eek:
    John :)
     
  5. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Was there a strong wind blowing into the room / loft above the ceiling ? Air pressure pushing the ceiling down ?
     
  6. joe-90

    joe-90

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    It's quite common. Just clear it all off and board it out with 12.5mm plasterboard.
     
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  8. richardrich79

    richardrich79

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    There was nothing exceptional happening at the house or outside, (we have no passing traffic).
    There is definitely no water involved either now or in the past, there are central heating pipes above but no sign at all of any leaks.
    No tap-dancing BUT the bedroom above the sitting room is occupied by one of my teenage son boys.
    The first indication was small grains of grit falling, then a 'noise' and the fall, my wife was sitting on the sofa and just moved in time.
    When one of my kids came home they did notice a small bit of grit falling but didn't mention it until after the event.
    The photo relating to the event in my media are the ones before the consumer box and messy wiring.
     

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  9. ree

    ree

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    Presumably you will want to keep the plaster lath ceiling in your 150yrs+ house? I would, not only do original features add value to an old house but you retain the sense of living with the continuity of 150yrs.

    Check the remainder of the ceiling for any movement - gently push it up but first remove all paper. Any sagging areas or hairline cracks can be screwed up to the joists.
    Check the bedroom floor for any movement.

    The missing patch can have the plaster roughly squared off, and all the exposed laths securely fixed to the joists.
    The plaster keys between the laths are easily pushed up.
    The laths can be damped down - a weak mix of PVA & water will work - and re-plastered to a level plane with the rest of the ceiling.
    The whole ceiling can then be PVA'd and skimmed. Or the patch alone can be skimmed into the rest of the ceiling.

    You have traditional run-in-place plaster of paris coving, and any experienced plasterer can quickly run a fresh profile in.
     
  10. richardrich79

    richardrich79

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    Thank's for all the advice, I think it'll all have to come down as there is another iffy looking crack. I'll try and save the coving and perhaps get my teenage kids to strip it out this halfterm which should hopefully reduce the cost.
     
  11. ree

    ree

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    Then pic the crack and post it - have you removed all the ceiling paper?

    I've seen lots of hopeless looking lath and plaster cases that were saved. If it appears more serious than at first thought then before doing anything else start looking for the cause because without remedial action even if you board the ceiling more cracks could appear.

    Your pics are fine but they are not keyed to locations in the floor.

    Joist span and section are important so is the hefty notch(s?) i see.
    Why have what look like repair timbers been screwed to the joists in the c/heating pics - is this the ground floor or are we still in the damaged ceiling?

    Even if you consider all is lost then you still dont have to remove anything - you can board over the whole area and screw to the joists.
     
  12. richardrich79

    richardrich79

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    They are not repair timbers just supports where the floorboards have been cut mid-joist, the house was a student let for a while.
    The only notches are where the c/h pipe & aerial leads go through.
    The pic with the brass elbow is actually within a window recess set into the 2' wide stone eternal wall. I know about simply screwing boards up sandwiching the remaining ceiling and keeping it up. There's a lot to be said for doing that especially saving the mess.
    We've stabilised it for now with battens and membrane and will see what the tradesmen suggest next week. Unfortunately I am unable to do much due to disability
     
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