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Old plaster lath ceiling...

Hello all,

I'm helping a friend repair his 1910 row house... I would consider myself very handy, but I do know my limitations.... We would like to repair a 15'x15' plaster and lath ceiling. The plaster is releasing from the lath and starting to fall. We would like to attach furring strips along the ceiling and put up new sheetrock right over the furring strips. We don't want to remove the plaster and lath because this is the top floor and there is loose fill insulation above that we would have to deal with. The problem: This flat roof row house has true 4x10 lumber to support the roof, below is the 24" attic space and the ceiling below is framed with true 2x4 lumber and plaster with lath. Can we safely attach 1/2 sheetrock to the furring strips that will be over the plaster and lath and attached to the 2x4 ceiling framing? Would this be a weight issue for the 2x4 lumber?


Timothy Miller
Re: Old plaster lath ceiling...

Howdy 15'= 14.5' span with lath an plaster is a lot of weight. Adding more is a poor choice think catastrophic ceiling failure and collapse not a pretty picture. Quick look at span charts would make me pull the ceiling lath an plaster - id install 2by6 joists to improve the loading then rock the ceiling. In the attic can you rake back the insulation, or vacuum it so you do not loose it. But insulation is cheap to replace.

Re: Old plaster lath ceiling...

Hello all again,

The problem is my neighbor is still living in the house with his family, and taking the ceiling down and replacing the joists is not an option. What about 20 gauge steel track around the room, and supporting the metal ceiling studs every 3 to 4 feet from above into the original 2x4's. I'm thinking most of the weight will be on the track and transferred to the walls... Is my thinking correct? Also, I thought about using USG 1/2 ultra light sheetrock with the metal stud system.... Is this an option??


Re: Old plaster lath ceiling...

The problem is that the plaster bond is failing, so that is what you must address. Removal is the best way to go but leave the existing joists if they're OK and run furring strips perpendicular across them to hang the sheetrock on. That will give you a nice ceiling when it's done.

Sorry but you just can't win against gravity once the plaster or lath on a ceiling starts to lose it's grip, and nothing I know of will stop that process. It will just hide the warning signs of the ceiling being ready to fall on someone. Heed the warning you see now- lose the plaster, OK? We don't want anyone hurt!


Re: Old plaster lath ceiling...

Sometimes the truth hurts, thanks

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