1940's ceiling panels... what are these called?

mclarkeJune 15, 2012

We have a cottage in Connecticut that was built in the 1930's or 1940's. The ceilings need to be painted.

BUT. The ceilings are made of panels. Four feet by ten feet. A few years ago, we had to replace one, and we were told that these panels are actually a kind of heavy cardboard, popular at the time.

The guy told us the name of this material, this cardboard -- but now I can't remember what he called it.

Does anyone know?

I'm going to cross-post this question in the Renovation Forum, but I bet you guys have the answer before they do... : )

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Google Homasote or Masonite. Both might fit your description. I know we had homasote ceilings in the attic of our last house. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 10:58AM
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They're still popular now - i've installed them; basically a substitute for the usual drywall panels, but they don't need the laborious drywall mud/dry/sand/tape process. Great soundproofing and fire retardant. I don't understand why more people don't use them. Actually I do - it's expensive.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 11:48AM
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Hi Mclarke.

It's too hot in Chicago for me to work up a sweat with unnecessary typing, so I'm recycling my answer to a similar question from five years back.

Or you may have walls of Celotex, an early green building material developed back in the 192Os. It was fabricated from the waste products from sugar refining, chopped, washed, compressed & molded into a variety of surfaces and textures & profiles.

It was an excellent product, dense, strong & termite-proof, and it also had good insulating & sound-deadening properties, which is why it ended up in a ton of nightclubs & theaters & old-fashioned open-plan offices, and a few years ago, they restored a huge arched ceiling of the stuff at one of the historic convention halls in (I think) Atlantic City. To me, this is a product that's unique enough to show it off, rather than to try to disguise it as Sheetrock, but then, that's just me and everybody knows I'm weird.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 12:08PM
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I forgot to attach this 1930 shot of the Celotex President's handsome office atop Chicago's Palmolive Building, an Art Deco landmark by Holabird & Root.
Naturally, that's Celotex on the ceiling. And on the walls. A cheap, design-on-a-dime fix the stuff was not.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 12:48PM
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Wow! Thanks, everyone!

And Magnaverde, I appreciate the photo. I wish my ceilings looked like that!

No, Homasote is the word I was trying to think of, and I never would have remembered it on my own.

Now I can research how best to paint it.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 4:15PM
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