Drop Ceiling - Advice Needed!

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by LiamAdlen, May 22, 2020.

  1. LiamAdlen

    LiamAdlen New Member

    I'm going to waffle so key points are in bold!

    So I'm taking on the task of refurbishing the flat above my workshop. It's an old building (somewhere between 1888 and 1910 I think) and has been offices for most of the last 40ish years at least.

    A couple of walls have had crappy looking repairs done before which I'm planning to cut out, board and skim but the ceiling I think is too far gone. It's lathe and plaster and bowing in the middle. There's also been 4 or 5 repairs done to fix water ingress in the past.

    I think my best option is to make sure the original ceiling isn't going to fall down and then build a new one underneath it, but the big open plan room is 10 x 5 meters and I'm unsure of the best way to do this.

    I think metal frame looks good and it's less weight to be suspending than using timber. The perimeters are all brick so I'm assuming that here I can fix the MF with Rawl or equivalent fittings? For securing the span what should I do? Drill through the original ceiling and hang an adjustable rod or something to the original beams? And what should my spacing be for a single layer of 12mm boards?

    I've done just about every DIY task and build tons of bizarre structures but somehow managed to avoid all plasterboarding and plastering until now, looking forward to sinking my teeth in with a bit of advice!

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  2. stevie22

    stevie22 Screwfix Select

    I would bite the bullet and pull all the old lath and plaster down.

    I would check the joists and repair any damage then find the lowest spot and cross batten using shims (either proper plastic ones or rip some out of scrap timber if you have a table saw.). Then just board.

    If you want a suspended ceiling (presumably to reduce height) then I would still get rid of the old 'cos then you know it's not going to come tumbling down some time in the future
    Abrickie and David Hatim like this.
  3. David Hatim

    David Hatim Member

    Yes I think also that the old ceiling has to come down if there is any chance of it falling of its own accord at a later date.
    I've used the suspended ceiling track system in the past, I found it very quick and easy to install. You will be able to download the fitting instructions from the manufacturer. I think through memory that the minimum drop is about 100mm from the existing ceiling, this also enables you to fit a thermal or acoustic quilt in the void. Personally I like to go with 400 centres if using 2.4 x 1.2 board or 450 centres if using 1800 x 900
  4. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Screwfix Select

    I agree the old lath ceiling has to come down before it falls down. Filthy horrible job, but once it's gone it's gone.

    In current house the ceiling in the main downstairs room was all over the place. Existing joists were sound but had about 1 1/2" deviation in height across quite a large room. What I did was fasten metal hanger brackets to the existing joists, and then laser level onto the hangers. I then cross-joisted with new 2x3s fastened to a bracket on every existing joist and spaced at 450 cntrs for 1800x900 boards. Reboarded, skimmed. job jobbied. I lost 4-5" of height, but with an original 2.8m ceiling, it wasn't a problem.
  5. Wayners

    Wayners Screwfix Select

    7 yard skip.
    Tarps tapped to floor.
    Batsuit or similar with hood.
    Good masks. A few.
    Fan at the door blowing out doorway. Any summer fan will do
    Claw hammer.
    Wheel barrow
    Oh (your chosen god) give me the strength and will to do this.
    Zone out like an android. It's going to be hell
    Get it down and tidy up.
    Been there done that.
    Also needs good vacuum.
    Try get the lot down on day one with some loading of skip. Anything else is a bonus. Good luck
  6. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Screwfix Select

    Sounds about right except I preferred a 24" wrecking bar. Levered against the floorboards it was easy to just break out the latts or pull them down with the hook.

    If just reboarding, getting rid of all the nails is also a great job...Not:D:D
    Wayners likes this.
  7. dobbie

    dobbie Screwfix Select

    The best way, if there is a loft would be to go into the loft with a shovel and knock it down from there. Try and knock down the plaster leaving as much laths as you can in place, it is a lot harder to clean up with the laths mixed in, also make sure the door is shut when knocking it down and sweeping up as the dirt will go everywhere into other rooms.

    When you have cleaned up the plaster, then knock the laths and denail the ceiling timbers.
  8. LiamAdlen

    LiamAdlen New Member

    Thanks for the responses so far - I've had a good prod and bash from the room side and in the loft today and it seems solid as ****! Not sure if it's just that the joists have bowed (and therefore no play in it) or what but does this change anybody's opinion on smashing it down?
  9. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Screwfix Select

    If the joists have bowed, but the ceiling is otherwise solid, it's your call. I think the choices are leave as is and live with the boew, or take it all down and create a new ceiling. Don't think there is a halfway.
  10. Jord86

    Jord86 Screwfix Select

    Apart from getting someone else to do it and get filthy instead of you, I've always had good and easy results from using a pickaxe to pull the ceiling down from underneath, whilst obviously staying comfortably out of harms way.
  11. Wayners

    Wayners Screwfix Select

    Look for cracks that split like a fork in a road. That is the weak point.

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