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What to do with this ceiling?

Posted by barbcollins (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 19, 14 at 18:19

DH and I are renovating a foreclosure. We recently gutted the living room to figure out "what was going on" in the ceiling/structure since we are replacing the stairs to the second floor.

What we found was drywall screwed to a dropped ceiling, ceiling tiles above that, then finally the original ceiling as it was 150 years age. The beams and floorboards above were whitewashed with lime/milk paint. Obvious now cracked and peeling.

I have been scraping off the loose paint, so that I can prime and paint, but after scraping I have come to like the look of the floorboards as is. They looked like old weathered wood. And you can see the rough saw marks.


I am thinking about sealing the floorboards with poly and painting out the beams white.

Any thoughts? My biggest concern is that once I poly, it will be difficult to paint over in the future. Would you do a light whitewash over the whole thing first to brighten it up?

Oh and yes, we are going for a rustic look. This section of the house was an old log structure built prior to 1860.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What to do with this ceiling?

I would consider a bit of lime/milk wash paint to help even out the appearance and leave it.

NO POLY........the resins in the poly will turn yellow over time.


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RE: What to do with this ceiling?

Why poly? I'd sand them a bit, just to get rid of any flaky/chippy paint (I hope you've been wearing a mask. Is that lead paint?) and then leave as is, including the beams. Then, on the walls, I'd plaster thin bricks. Gorgeous.


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RE: What to do with this ceiling?

beverly27 - Yes, I thought about the yellowing. I don't know that I want to do another lime wash as that's what's cracking & peeling now. I planned on doing a waterbased clearcoat.

Tibbrix - No there is no lead. It's 150+ year old lime wash.

Believe me, I have scraped, and scraped. It reminds me of drywall mud. But if I tap on a beam with a pole, more white dust comes down from where I have scraped. I need to do something to seal it, or whatever is left will keep flaking

I think some of the debris could be coming from upstairs. We plan to put down 3/4 plywood up there so that should help.


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RE: What to do with this ceiling?

If you want to seal it, use a water based poly such as Minwax Polycrylic. It won't yellow over time.


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RE: What to do with this ceiling?

Could be completely wrong, but it appears as if the walls only go up to the joists (beams). Would you have a gap above the walls and no insulation in the walls? Not sure how to correct the problem without tearing out the walls and insulating and then replacing. I would concentrate on making the house sealed tighter. You also would have no insulation in the ceiling between floors, even if you lay plywood upstairs. I'm certainly no carpenter, but even though it would look kind of cool, some real thought needs to be put into the viability of this plan. Is your husband skilled in construction? Best wishes on what looks like an exciting project.


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RE: What to do with this ceiling?

Have you heard of Zinsser Peel Stop ?
I've only read about it.
Maybe here :)
Google around and see if it fits your needs..


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RE: What to do with this ceiling?

I would ask on the woodworking forum...there seem to be some experts there who certainly helped me when I had wood/stain related questions...


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RE: What to do with this ceiling?

voila - No the current framed walls do not go up thru the joists but we will address that. Certainly we plan to insulate before hanging drywall. And we don't want insulation between the floors.

forboystoo - No I have not heard of Peel Stop, but I will look into it.

AnnieDeighnaugh - Good Suggestion. I have never been in that forum. I am usually in Kitchens & Baths and Buying & Selling :)


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RE: What to do with this ceiling?

Try the Old House forum, too.


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RE: What to do with this ceiling?

What kind of room is above this room? I'm thinking noise factor.


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RE: What to do with this ceiling?

I had the same thought as gracie01...the noise factor. With no insulation and plywood on top, I think the noise and cold floors would be a factor.


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RE: What to do with this ceiling?

Very good point Gracie. I recently moved my desk to the ladies parlor directly below where it was. My son and I ripped out the carpet and padding getting it ready for wood floors and moved two recliners and an area rug in there for him and his son to use as their living room until we find the right wood flooring. I swear I've about had a dozen or so heart attacks from the sudden noises from above my head. Between our six year old grandson bouncing around and the sound of the old recliner when it's released it's quite noisy.


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RE: What to do with this ceiling?

If you think the dust could be sifting down from above, you might want to use an air compressor from above and blow out as much as you can before you add a subfloor to the 2nd floor.

I like the way it looks scraped, but make sure it's something you want to look at all the time.


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RE: What to do with this ceiling?

Upstairs will be two bedrooms for my granchildren (4 & 7). We will be renting the house to my DD & SIL. So "I" don't have to worry about the noise :) And they may appreciate hearing the pitter patter of little feet that are supposed to be quiet in bed.

But seriously, we have owned A LOT of houses, and I have NEVER had one that had insulation between the 1st and 2nd floor. And I am not sure how not having insulation in the ceiling would make the floors cold upstairs? Seems like it would be the opposite.

Good idea marti8a about the compressed air. To be fair there is still a lot of dust up there too from tearing down some walls etc. A good vacuuming should cut down on a lot of that.

My daughter over today and said she really likes the idea of leaving the planks unpainted... Zinsser makes a clear Peel Stop which could be a good choice, because it could be painted over later.


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