I have a small, one story, prefab house built in 1949. It seems it was put together as cheaply as possible because there are many things that wouldn't live up to today's standards. The most obvious of this is the sagging ceiling in my living room. Seams are opening up and the board is warping badly in some areas. It's not sheetrock up there, but some kind of fiber board. Upon further investigation, I discover that the ceiling joists are 4 feet apart instead of the standard 24" or 16" today. Also, there are 1x4's running perpendicular underneath the joists, which is what I assume the fiber board is attached to as well as the joists. There is some dampness up there too so I think some of the problems are do insufficient venting causing moisture to build up and warping the fiber board.
And, to make matters worse, there is loose-fill Vermiculite insulation on top of fiberglass batting resting on top of all of this. I worry that the Vermiculite contains asbestos but have not had it tested yet.
I've gotten estimates on fixing all this and it comes to well over 5 digits. Basically they want to rip out the ceiling throughout the house and insert new 2x6's in between the existing joists to bring it to 24" on center. Then of course they have to deal with the insulation and electrical and replace it all with 1/2" sheetrock. They would also install 4 roof vents to handle the moisture problems.
I'm wondering if such measures are necessary. This house has stood for 60 years and is structurally sufficient. The only real problem are the cosmetic issues. Perhaps when using this fiber board, because it's stiffer and stronger than sheetrock, there is no need for 24" on center joists? And I think maybe most of my problems are do to moisture. Could I, for instance, just install the roof vents and somehow replace the ceiling with new fiber board without having to insert new joists and deal with the insulation?
Are there any other alternatives?