ceilings are driving me crazy

mikesjFebruary 1, 2013

I've got a 1920's farmhouse that I am slowly remodeling. As I go I am trying to rid my house of ceiling tiles and to cover up exposed fubar plaster. In a few of my rooms I have used 16' lengths of pine tongue and groove stained a pickeling white. This is not cheap and is pretty labor intensive. In a couple of my rooms the boards have contracted so much that there are visible gaps between the tongue of one board and the groove of the next. Arrrrrrrggggghhhhh.

What I want is a solution that is diy friendly and that compliments our house. Does anyone have a suggestion? If you've faced a similar problem and have any pics of your solution, I would be extremely grateful.

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Is there any reason why you wouldnt pull down all the plaster (assuming it truly is fubar, is it?) and just put up a thin drywall if replastering is not possible. That would be the most economical. You can rent one of those drywall lifter thingies that raises it up to the ceiling. I never ever recommend removing plaster and replacing with drywall, EXCEPT plaster on ceilings which does tend to be worse (gravity pulls it down) and you dont have doors and trim to contend with so it can be done easily and doesnt look bad. If it doesn't come down easily, if its not already falling down in chunks, then I might interpret that to mean the plaster could just be left up there and repaired.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 3:42PM
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One more suggestion -idea I was going to use in my kitchen but never did. This one is cheap cheap cheap - board & batten I think it's called. Scrounge a bunch of old circa 70s-90s wood panelling sheets that someone tore out and left on the curb (as long as not broken). Nail to ceiling upside down so the plain unfinished wood backside is facing outward, then get firring or 1x2 strips and nail so they cover the cracks were the panels meet and also arrange nicely in a grid pattern or in rows. Then paint.

If you google board and batten ceiling you'll know what I'm talking about.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 3:50PM
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Ceilings are one of the places that are easily covered over with even 1/4 inch drywall (rent the lift).

The only molding would be cornice that might need to be popped off and re-installed (instead of burying it by the drywall thickness).

Just like T&G flooring, wood moves (and nothing can stop it).

This post was edited by brickeyee on Fri, Feb 1, 13 at 16:12

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 4:11PM
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The plaster is too rough to refinish. It's pretty uneven- nothing that I've uncovered is even close to flat. I've thought about drywall, but I've never drywalled a ceiling and I'm pretty sure I'm the world's slowest drywall hanger/finisher. I may break down and try it, we'll see...

I'm not sure why I've never looked at the board and batten approach. That's something to consider.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 4:55PM
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Interesting idea for repurposing used paneling. The room I'm going to tackle next is covered in it. Hmmm.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 4:59PM
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I had friends flipping their 1st house. The drywalled a few ceilings and they hated it. They looked to hire it out and it cost less than their materials.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 5:46PM
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I have seen some nice textured ceiling paper that looks like tin (or otherstuf) which is white and could be painted. I saw it in some late victorians (not fancy, more cottage than formal) and it looked really nice. I am not normally a fan of wallpaper or ceiling paper (stripping that in our house SUCKS) but if the plaster is a mess, and you are looking for DIY that might work?
here's one link
and here is one at Home Depot

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:52AM
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You can also get actual tin panels or plastic panels made to look like them.

But in our attic I'm doing board and batten (though I didn't know that was its name :-)) with nice-quality eighth-inch maple plywood. If painting, then repurposed panelling would be a good idea.

Karin L

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:04PM
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I'm leaning towards coffered ceilings at this point. The trick for me right now is to find something cheap and simple that wont be out of place in my old farmhouse. I really like the idea of re-using the paneling that's already in the room for a more noble purpose. I think that if I use 1 x 6 lumber to make a 2 x 2 grid to cover the seams and don't build it up it should give me a decent look. If anyone has any pictures of a project like this I would be much obliged if you would share them.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 7:33PM
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If you are inclined to use t & g again, a trick that I use is to paint the wall/ceiling behind the planks the same color. Then, when the boards shrink, you don't see it as much. We just did the t & g ceilings for the same reasons you mentioned. We let the wood acclimatize for a month and painted the ceiling as close to the natural wood color as we could. No problems yet.......

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 1:49PM
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Here are a couple of photos of some panelling I did in our attic. In this room the beadboard was horrendously uneven and badly done; I spent a lot of years looking at it and despairing about what could be done with paint, or removing and replacing or what have you. Finally I decided it could only be covered and looked to do it with as little loss of space (ie headroom) as possible. Some of the original material shows in the photos as these are work-in-progress.

The first two photos are of the shoulder walls which are about 4 feet high, the second two are of the beginnings of work on the ceiling. I've mixed nice quality maple and walnut plywood with poplar and walnut trim, all 1/8th thick, held on with brass screws. On the ceiling, I first attach the panels using flat-head screws, and then add the strips, which are stop-n-screen type pieces from the moulding store, with round head screws, covering the flat head screws. I think the poplar strips are 3/8 thick.

The only caution I'd offer is that the material is obviously not rated with any kind of fire protection, so I am obsessive about having a working smoke detector up there and good egress. If your work is being inspected, or if the area is more complicated than our little attic, sprinklers might have a certain appeal.

The end wall is flat T&G boards, so it is just getting filled and wallpapered.

Karin L

Later I actually redid this section to add another piece of poplar or maple (light wood) flat trim between the walnut panel and walnut trim for additional definition. Not sure I like it better though; this is a nice clean look.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 11:28PM
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We have the same issue in an addition our previous owner addedâ¦

Actually, I should say that we have 34,000 issues, in the addition our previous owner built⦠one of which happens to be the same as yours.

WeâÂÂre going to replace with sheetrock.

Here is a link that might be useful: Addition off our kitchen

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 10:36AM
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In another part of the room I did the panelling in, I wanted to wallpaper over the dreadful TiG, and so for half the room I spent many hours filling and smoothing before hanging paper. It looked OK but not great - the grooves still show a bit, and the undulations of the boards are almost impossible to hide.

THEN I learned about lining paper, which I have now started using on the last part of the wall, and I am absolutely thrilled with it. It is super easy to work with, super cheap, and actually looks really good even BEFORE I put my decorative wallpaper on. It's like a translucent sheet put over the beadboard. It really is nice to apply: doesn't have as much goopy glue as normal wallpaper, and does not stretch or distort at all - I guess it has to be that way so that it evens out bumps and valleys rather than following them like normal wallpaper does.

I'm really sorry I didn't discover it a couple of decades ago as I would have put it up even as a temporary measure; it would have been easier to look at all these years than the beadboard itself.

According to the instructions, you hang it horizontally (which I did) and you're supposed to prime before hanging paper (which I'm not sure I'll do - will test). Also, they say you can just paint over it, vs papering. I found that something like a nailhead or a paint drip (no shortage of those from the PO!) on an otherwise flat part of the wall are best flattened somehow because they do have an outsize impact otherwise. But it mitigates major flaws like protruding board ends and uneven boards fabulously.

Karin L

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 11:51PM
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Update on the lining paper: yes, priming is needed because wallpaper doesn't adhere well to the lining paper by itself. The lining paper seems to be somewhat hydrophobic; water beads off it.

Once the liner is primed, I'm amazed at how easy it is to hang the paper.

Karin L

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 7:46PM
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