Home>Discussions>INTERIORS>Molding & Carpentry>Too much weight for plaster and lathe ceiling?
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shuling
Too much weight for plaster and lathe ceiling?

My house was built in 1860. We have done quite a bit of remodeling and our next project is the living room ceiling. Currently the ceiling consists of 1 ft square tiles stapled to a furring strip grid that was attached to the original plaster and lathe celing.
I thing we have decided on putting drywall up and finishing with a decorative wood grid of some sort (not exactly sure what yet) and possibly some ligting in the grid. Does anything/everything have to come down before doing this? Can I go with thin drywall just to cover the awful tiles? My concern is adding too much weight to the original lathe. Wood grid will not be any kind of heavy beams, just something to help break up the large area. This is a large room. 14' x 27' with a 9 1/2' ceiling.

A. Spruce
Re: Too much weight for plaster and lathe ceiling?

It is always best to start from a clean slate. It would be preferable to go to bare joists, but at least remove the tile and grid down to bare plaster. The plaster can be overlaid, just mark the joists first and put the fasteners into the joists.

Tom
Re: Too much weight for plaster and lathe ceiling?

You have to be a little careful here as most ceiling tiles installed before 1981 contain asbestos. If you tear off the tiles you will fill your house with asbestos fibers which are extremely dangerous to your long term health. Most ceiling tiles were installed in the 50s, 60s and 70s as they were very popular then and is almost a certainty that your tiles were installed in these decades.

The safest course of action is to install drywall over the whole ceiling including the tiles and this will in fact encapsulate the asbestos. You should get a quality stud finder with a "deep finder" setting which will find the joists through the tiles and furring strips. Mark the joists with a chalk line and then install the drywall. 5/8s is the usual drywall installed on a ceiling as lesser widths can sag between the joists. They do manufacture a 1/2 anti-sag drywall but it is probably special order and not ordinarily available.

Hanging drywall on a ceiling is extremely punishing work unless you have a drywall lift. My thought is to hire a drywaller to hang the drywall and then finish it yourself. They will knock the work out in four hours or less and it will take you days to do it.

josh the painter
Re: Too much weight for plaster and lathe ceiling?

Try your best to get down to bare joist , it will be far more rewarding in the end. As stated before there are a number of health and saftey concerns so you really should get a few bids to understand the amount of labour involved. that kind of demo will probaly fill a dumpster or two, as plaster substrates are very heavy.

Tom
Re: Too much weight for plaster and lathe ceiling?

Very dangerous to remove these ceiling tiles by yourself or with a regular contractor. He may not know or care and a certified asbestos company would charge a small fortune to remove them. You should not put you and your family at risk by removing these tiles. Once asbestos fibers get in the air they can infest the entire house and get on every surface. They can linger for years and because they are so light and friable you breath them in. Bad idea to remove these tiles.

A. Spruce
Re: Too much weight for plaster and lathe ceiling?

Usually, before we start getting people all paranoid about asbestos, we recommend having the material in question tested by a lab. Your building department can help you find one.

Hank Bauer
Re: Too much weight for plaster and lathe ceiling?

The existing plaster ceiling including the lath estimated weight for this room is between 2,268 & 3,024 lbsbased on thickness of plaster.
Now add the weight of the tile and if 5/8 inch sheet rock is applied over the tile I estimate the weight added is 945 lbs.
If the tile is tested and found not to be asbetos why not remove tile, inspect plaster and if sound and not detatched from lath than prep existing plaster surface and reskim with a veneer plaster.
If plaster has failed remove and install sheet rock total weight 756 lbs.

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