Repairing a ceiling

27 Nov 2006
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United Kingdom
Due to a leak in our flat roof, the utility room ceiling below got badly stained, and is bowing slightly (not much though).

Today the roof was repaired, and the banging has made the plaster crack, its like a 3 pronged crack, so I think its going to have to be removed if it doesnt fall down first.

What is the best thing to do - is there any way we can repair it ourself?? Its in the corridor part of the utility room and its quite dark there so I dont think it has to be a really professional job, but what would be the best way to do it and would it be worth it?

On the other hand, would a plasterer be expensive? I assume if we had a plasterer in they would do the whole ceiling and not just the damaged part??
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a thing you might try...
(no harm done if it doesn't work and you have to have it done properly. In which case punch down all the old stuff. It will be very dusty and dirty. Because of this the pro plasterer will try to avoid doing it)

Go up into the loft and clean away any loose bits.

Find some bits of timber that will reach between the floor and the ceiling.

Find some assorted bits if board (chipboard, ply, whatever. Bigger than 4x4 will be awkward.

Hold the pieces of board against the ceiling, and wedge them up so they squash the ceiling up against the joists. Start with the highest parts.

When you have done enough bits of board, the whole ceiling will be squashed up against the joists.

If it is a plasterboard ceiling, bang in some big-headed galvanised nails to hold the plasterboard against the joists. use plenty. You will have to fill over and redecorate when finished. You can move the boards around to give access to the covered parts of the ceiling.

If it is a lath-and-plaster ceiling (in which case it is enormously important to clean and hoover up all the broken nibs before jacking up the ceiling) pour a thin mix of finish plaster over the laths from above, so that when it sets it will stick the plaster to the laths. If laths are missing or broken, nail expanded metal lathing to the joists and use that.

(although I got this technique from an old plastering book, I have done it myself and it works. It is particularly useful on old ornate ceilings.)
Not sure why you mention a loft.... its a flat roof so the damaged ceiling is directly below it.....

then all you can do is prop and nail it. Will work if plasterboard. If L&P the nibs will get in the way so you will have to pull it down. At least you will be able to improve the insulation at the same time.

Didn't notice the flat roof bit.
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Thanks for that info.

Hubby was thinking to cut out the damaged bit and replace with a new piece of plasterboard.... not sure about that - I've warned him the new board would need skimming etc....

He is the type who will try anything and usually does a good job too :D

(Just realised you're the guy who helped me on the hot water tank.... just to let you know, job is done, no leaks at all, hot water is now back on and hubby is pretty chuffed with himself!!) :D :D
Oh, just thought of something.. is there any rule that helps to work out where the rafters are...??

yes, there will be a row of nail heads. where the ceiling has sagged they will probably have left holes. you can usually see slight indentations if you shine a light along the ceiling. They also usually leave dirt spots as they are cold.
Is there a set distance apart for the rafters?? I can see where some nails are as when the roof was repaired, the banging has caused the plaster to come off, however it seems to be along the same rafter, which isnt the one\s we're trying to find!!

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