Replacing a Ceiling


COPYRIGHT 1999 G.G. ALONZY

Dear NH,
My home was built in 1959 in Duarte, CA (Southern California). I have these horrible acoustic ceilings, not all of them straight but slanted with the roof etc. Recently we replaced the roof due to rain damage/leaking and there are some spots of mildew. I tried a remover and it looks better but I noticed that you can actually SCRAPE off the covering?? Can I do this or will this be an asbestos nightmare all over my house? Moreover, can I cover the ceiling with ceiling tiles like the gypsum boards and than have no scraping issues??? Also is it possible to level the slanting ceilings like suspend a ceiling to make them straight across?
KG in Duarte, CA

KG,
You would have to take a sample of the ceiling material to a testing lab to have it analyzed for asbestos. Even if it is not asbestos, the dust you will generate will be enough of a pain to want to consider all other alternatives you suggested. If you are interested, read the article on asbestos at the website. Asbestos removal is not necessarily the first option. There are other ways to deal an asbestos problem... if you have it!

If you have enough ceiling height (and you seem to from your description) you can install a suspended ceiling. I am sure you have seen them... metal tracks that hold ceiling tiles. There are a wide variety of looks available, in both 2'x4' and 2'x2' sizes. They are fairly easy to install... probably one of the simplest and most satisfying home repair projects I can think of... and will solve all your problems at once... well, regarding the ceiling, anyway! My personal preference for high style are the 2'x2' tiles that protrude slightly through the tracks, giving an attractive depth to the ceiling. Armstrong has good instructional material in their product packaging, as well as at their ceiling website, http//www.ceilings.com.

If the lower portions of your ceiling are too low, start the suspended ceiling a slight distance up the slope. Then you will only have to scrape off a more manageable amount of the texture. You can find or fabricate a decorative moulding to cover the transition from the ceiling to the wall moulding. This may be the most difficult part of the job! But the finished product will be well worth the effort. Besides the aesthetics, a fringe benefit is that you will save in AC costs... I noticed your address... by isolating roof heat to the area above the ceiling!
NH


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