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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Unhappy radiant hot water heat and plaster

    I have a beautiful big old mansion built in 1950's with copper pipe closed system radiant foor heat. 50 yrs of expansion and contraction of plaster caused ceiling inner layer to fall off in one room. Need to find someone qualified to do old home plastr work over the rest of plaster which has partially exposed copper pipes (in good shape, no leaks!!). Also need to find out i there is any technology to "check" other ceilings in house to see if the ceiling is going to drop on me in the middle of the night (this time was dining room, so just hurt furniture, next time could be someon's head as they sleep). Live in Virginia/NC area, only a few radiant contractors found by internet search, and non list experience with older copper systems.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default Re: radiant hot water heat and plaster


    I also had problems finding anything on the internet using the search engines.

    Perhaps it's more of an issue of finding a plasterer contractor, or someone who installs drywall; also known as sheetrock.

    The modern approach is to go right over the present ceiling with new drywall (being careful to map out beforehand where the copper pipes are located, so they are not punctured with the drywall screws).

    This would depend on the adequacy of the wood support structures above the ceiling (often wood lath on floor joists in older homes), which would have to hold the weight of the present failing ceiling & the new sheetrock.

    It's much less labor intensive to simply install new ceiling drywall right over the present ceiling; every home improvement center is loaded with drywall panels---it's one of the largest selling items in these improvement centers; since they come in 4' X 8' sheets they cover an old ceiling very quickly with an extremely smooth, solid surface that has a new appearance.

    Another issue is the type of copper tubing in the ceiling.

    Most copper tubing installed for radiant ceilings was flexible copper tubing without any soldered joints; this would be preferable to multiple soldered joints that could leak in coming years.

    Have you had any water leaks from the copper tubing in the ceiling???

    I've had good luck going to the public library and asking the librarian at the reference desk if she/he has the "Blue Book of Contractors" for the local area.

    There are usually quite a few contractors in the Blue Book that are not listed on-line or in the Yellow Pages.

    Also in the Yellow Pages, look under "Plasterers-Contractors", "Ceiling Contractors", or 'Drywall Installers/Contractors".
    Last edited by JacktheShack; 01-29-2008 at 03:48 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Re: radiant hot water heat and plaster

    No leaks directly over area, but smae room had rain leak down outside wall when previous owner let gutters overflow. Wall damage around window was badly replastered, so wonder if something happened at time to dissect apart the gypsum plaster from the undersurface of copper pipes, which look quite good. I imagine this means we have wood lath rather than steel chicken wire type, since electrolysis would have occurred over time between the 2 different metals.

    Although drywall and dropping ceiling height is an alternative, would not be best for this fine old home.
    I want to stay with plaster for historic and other reasons. Few "old style" plasterers around, found one thru historical society but he is booked. Any suggestions how to find a real plasterer besides word of mouth?

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