PICS: 1960s house exposed beams and ceiling tiles question

Bridget HelmNovember 10, 2012

Hi. We are interested in purchasing a house that was built in 1960. It needs some TLC - kitchen and bathroom updates along with a new ceiling. It has acoustic tiles. They are 12x12 white squares. But there are also exposed beams which I love, but I'm just trying to figure out what may possibly be under these tiles and what kind of project and funds would be involved in a new ceiling for this retro home.

Of course, if we'd purchase, I'd get a contractor and estimates etc. I'm just trying to decide if we should rule it out or not. Does it seem like it would just be a process of removing the tiles and then floating sheetrock? I'm sorry that the pictures don't show the tiles themselves, but you can see the beams. That's what makes it different. Usually you see these tiles with no beams. Do the beams complicate things? What's in a ceiling with a house that has exposed beams?

Ok. Sorry. I'm all over the place. What say you?

Thanks ladies and gents!

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absolutely no way of knowing from any of these pictures

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 8:38AM
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Installing sheetrock is a sloppy job. There is a very good chance the beams will get dust or sheet rock compound on them and that will look terrible and be very hard to clean up.

Plus, a trim of some kind will have to be installed along the beam/drywall joint. That will not look normal.

Seems to me finding a different treatment is a better idea.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 11:01AM
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In the pitched roof section, and depending upon the type of sheating and or roof framing. Since the appearance of beam trusses, the sheating could be 2-4-1 ply or 2x T&G, or conventional framing with furring strips.
The flat sections lend themselves to coffered ceilings, however the lighting will need to be addressed.

You'll need to prudently remove selective sections of tile to determine the sub-straight, or obtain a copy of the original plans.
Any professional dry-waller can address the ceilings, cleanly.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 7:03PM
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Bridget Helm

thanks. i guess i'll ask to look under a tile. i'll feel rude doing so, but we can't purchase the house unless we know ABOUT how much it will cost to get rid of the tiles and put up a "normal" ceiling.

the beams can be protected from sheetrock. I was hoping the the exposed beams and architecture of the house (the beams running all the way through to the outside)would give a hint as to what may be under the tiles.

thanks for responding.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 11:53AM
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The 12 x 12 tiles may be the original material, or at least a newer version of the original material. Or you could have had celotex up there, which might still be there under the 12 x 12s. Mid-century residential design often made use of materials that would have otherwise been considered "commercial", so it isn't necessarily a jarring anachronism that you're finding in your ceilings.

As another suggested, see if you can find a place where you can pull down a few tiles and explorewhat is underneath. Another common treatment for the era was tongue-and-groove wood ceilings. So somthing along thoe lines might also work, but could prove a heavier load than the house was designed to support.

You're speaking of updating the kitchen and baths, and are having issues with the ceiling. I would step back a moment and consider if an MCM home is what you really want. You might find something else that will allow you to make the changes you desire without affecting the architectural fabric of the house too much. Consider also posting at lotta living, which has a wonderful group of posters well-versed in all things MCM.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 12:04PM
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Enjoy the title search.
In the meantime, stop by the building dept. and ask if they have the original plans on file.
There are those of us who actually plan and enact building renovations over an extended period, as opposed to RIGHT NOW.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 1:11PM
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Bridget Helm

thanks jakabedy and others. the market in baton rouge is crazy. i want the location and neighborhood of the home, and i do like retro. Our furniture and decor is Room and Board crossed with CB2 and West Elm. It's not all from there, of course, but that's look we've got going on. (no french provencial here) so our things would look great in this 1960 home.

I don't want to change the home too much. i do appreciate the architecture. i'd like to put long stainless steel pulls and white subway tiles for a backsplash. nothing major. my husband doesn't like the dark green granite, so would probably change to some sort of blue grey granite or something light. He also would want a new fridge and dishwasher. there are some really cool retro ones that would look awesome in there, but a little pricey. so we would probably go with kitchenaid stainless steel architect series or LG.

the bathrooms aren't bad. i'd like new cabinet knobs and faucets with a modern streamlined look. i actually like the green tile. LOL. not many do.

anyhow, as much as i appreciate the architecture and am in love with the neighborhood, I can't live beneath those ceiling tiles. :(

i still don't have a pic of them, but they remind me of those composition pads we used in grade school - the black marbled ones, but in white. they are hard to explain. they are all clean, however. (i've heard of the dreaded dirty ceiling tiles, but that is not the case in this home.)

I'm guessing that to do all that i mentioned above, including getting rid of the tiles, we would be looking at 40,000??? i have no idea. remodeling is so much more elusive than building.

anyway, thanks for your input. i'll check out that blog/forum

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 12:34PM
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In Baton Rouge, you could do 3 entire houses with all new drywall for 40K. I doubt seriously it would be anywhere near that. Labor costs are low in the South. DIY demolition would help keep even the 5-7K that it would cost to do new ceilings down and give you a nice feeling of satisfaction.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 1:08PM
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Our mid-mod has T&G ceilings. If you don't have T&G under the ceiling tiles, then you can certainly put it up. We just did that in the living room of the new house that we have purchased. It was not expensive and really warms up the room.

If you make an offee on the house, it would be a good idea to have one of those tiles analyzed for asbestos because removal would be a lot more expensive.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 2:27PM
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Bridget Helm

is the tongue and groove that y'all are talking about?

or the smaller bead board type? either would be awesome. i hope that's what's under there, but i have a feeling that it's not.

GreenDesigns, I could kiss you! Thanks for giving me a numerical idea. Anyone I'd ask would say "I can't say without going in." I couldn't even get a ballpark from friends that are builders.

I included kitchen and bath fixings, ceiling, paint, and landscaping in my estimate of 40K. The granite, appliances and subway tiles will be the bulk of it. Hopefully I'm still shooting high, however!! Maybe 20K is more like it. We've got an army of 4 kids, so we will definitely pull tiles down ourselves. We are sure there's no asbestos.

Today I'm going to find out what's under there. Drumroll.....I'll let y'all know as soon as I do. Of course y'all care as much as me ;)

No seriously, thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:48AM
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Bridget Helm

Their real estate agent says that there is sheetrock beneath the tiles. However, they were glued on by the current owner. He didn't like the echoing from the high ceilings and terazzo floors. So good new is that sheetrock is there. Bad news is that it was glued on. I suppose damage will occur to the drywall, but that can be rapaired, of course. Yay!! there is insulation between the sheetrock and ceiling rafters.

anyhow, i am glad to have gotten to the bottom of this, or top, rather.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 3:32PM
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I'm glad the mystery was solved! Although the glue dampens it a bit. And speaking of dampening, take note of the PO's issue with the noise. You may need to really fill that gorgeous place up with rugs and soft furnishings to tone down the echo chamber a bit.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 6:35PM
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Imhappy&Iknowit IOWA zone 6b

I posted to you on the old house forum earlier.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:48PM
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Bridget Helm

in response to:

"And speaking of dampening, take note of the PO's issue with the noise. You may need to really fill that gorgeous place up with rugs and soft furnishings to tone down the echo chamber a bit."

Shag, baby!
--Austin Powers

I couldn't resist

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:04PM
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It will be easier to rip the drywall/tile combo down entirely. Then replace it. Trying to salvage drywall with stuff glued to it is futile, and much more expensive than just replacing everything. Even if you decide to put wood on the ceiling, the drywall has to go up first as a fire code issue.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:30PM
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wonder if the ceilings have R-19 or higher insulation?
just that I always think of stuff like that.

you would want drywall behind the T&G..if you
go that route to stop air infiltration.
T&G is very leaky. and you know how hot it
gets here in the summer.

if you need a good home inspector, drop me
an email. I know a very experienced guy in BR.
he was the educator for LaASHI for years when I met
him. really knows existing homes.
He also does thermal scans of homes.

great house & best of luck.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 6:59PM
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