Save my Cornice and Ceiling Rose while renewing my ceiling?

12 Jan 2007
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United Kingdom
Hello All,
I have a 1890's house. The sitting room has a complete cornice and a huge celing rose. The lath and plaster ceiling is on its way out - lots of huge cracks. One or two have cracked straight through the cornice.

I would like to renew the ceiling with modern board, sticking in rockwool etc as I go. However, I would like to retain the cornice and ceiling rose?

Can this be done by a standard plasterer or does it need to be some kind of specialist?

I was thinking of cutting out the rose and setting it aside. Then, remove/cut away the ceiling from any links to the cornices, then removing the ceiling. After this, installing some kind of support for the cornices, and installing boards upto the edge of the cornices. Would this work or has it got Walter Mitty written all over it?

I have a BILLION questions walking around this house with "original features". :rolleyes:
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Your idea for the ceiling rose will work but get several friends to help you take it down. If you try it on your own you'll probably end up shovelling it into a bag.
The cornice may be possible to remove although it may also be better to leave it in situ , it will depend on its construction. It will most likely have been run in place and could be solid or have a lath backing. If you do try to remove remember it won't be in sections like modern stuff and you will lose some and need repairs.
Thank You. I was hoping to leave the Cornice in-situ and cut out the Lath and Plaster. This would hopefully leave the Cornice on the walls, and I was going to get a plasterer to install plasterboard to the edge of the Cornice - so preserving them.
Leaving it in place is your best bet. In the past I've come across such cases and sometimes there hasn't been a problem but in others it has been necessary to consolidate and mechanically fix the cornice with metal dowels and washers resined into the wall. Alot will depend on the backside of the cornice, sometimes if it's fixed on top of lath the nails have coroded or the lath has rotted then it will need help
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That is great news. Thank You. I will get on with it.....carefully. least the pics might help the coroner with the sause of death!
Use a 4.5 grinder with a diamond blade to cut the 'plaster' then a reciprocating saw (or jig-saw) to cut the lath. Cut between the lath on the side that the lath runs longways.
The laths all run one way opposite to your joists - so if you cut over a lath you would have to cut it the whole length of the room. Therefore, cut your plaster between the laths so you don't have to cut the lath at all.
Would that not mean that it will take longer and the laths will remain in situ after the plaster is taken off? I assume we still have to take the Lath off to install the plaster board?

<It should be dawning on you all, that I do not have a CLUE what I am doing!!!>
If you think of the laths as fingers of your hand you would cut between the fingers - then remove those that you were replacing. (laths not fingers).
Joe does make a good point about the lathes, I perhaps should of explained a bit more. Generally the ceilings were put up first and then the cornices run in underneath them.An exception would be very large cornices which are sometimes formed on timber and lathes independant from the ceiling , but asyou described it as an 1890's house rather than a mansion I think we can assume the former.
The laths will normally run the same direction as the floorboards in the room above i.e. paralell to the longest side of the room. This is because joists normally run the shortest distance. However , don't take that to be set in stone , check first.
I'd agree with joe about cutting the plaster (wearing a mask and goggles mind) although you do need to be careful.If you cut at the edge of the cornice it can leave your cornice unsupported and you will need to put in a few noggins from above to fix both your cornice and your plasterboard to. A better approach would be to leave your lathes fixed to the joist exposed nearest to the cornice then pack down the other joists once the lathes have been removed from them and then fix your plaster board covering up the lathes that stay in place.

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