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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    3

    Unhappy Pointy Plaster Ceiling Removal *with pic*

    I just bought my first home in NY (1967 Wide Ranch) and the ceiling in the living room is pointy plaster (see below). Thanks to what seems to be some recently removed wooden beams, there are flat lines cutting through the pointy sections that make it look even cheesier.



    The plaster is in great shape but I really want to get rid of it and paint a nice flat ceiling. I've read about and been given a few options from do-it-yourself'ers.

    1. Sand it down with a "pole sander" and then paint over it.
    2. Tear out the drywall and redo the whole ceiling.
    3. Drywall (sheet rock...same thing?) right over it and forget it.

    Any advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Midwest USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Pointy Plaster Ceiling Removal *with pic*

    That's just nasty. :-)

    Personally, I'd try scraping it first with something like my handy 5-in-1 painter's tool (maybe a hammer too). No promises, but you might be able to get it down to something closer to smooth, especially if it was done with mud (aka- joint compound). Then make the choice to sand, or skim. Be careful not to dig to deep when scraping. (Ever use a wood chisel and mallet?)

    Even if you choose to rock over it, you might still want to knock down those high points. Tearing it out may be the better long term solution as it doesn't add weight to the ceiling, but it can be a mess if there's insulation above.
    "I think that's gonna leave a mark."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sand Springs, OK
    Posts
    467

    Default Re: Pointy Plaster Ceiling Removal *with pic*

    Quote Originally Posted by Krill_Guy View Post
    That's just nasty. :-)

    Personally, I'd try scraping it first with something like my handy 5-in-1 painter's tool (maybe a hammer too). No promises, but you might be able to get it down to something closer to smooth, especially if it was done with mud (aka- joint compound). Then make the choice to sand, or skim. Be careful not to dig to deep when scraping. (Ever use a wood chisel and mallet?)

    Even if you choose to rock over it, you might still want to knock down those high points. Tearing it out may be the better long term solution as it doesn't add weight to the ceiling, but it can be a mess if there's insulation above.

    I'm going to agree with Krill_Guy
    Debby in Oklahoma

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Pointy Plaster Ceiling Removal *with pic*

    From the looks of things that might be venetian plaster or modern equivelent.

    If it is, that stuff dries and is almost impossible to get off without damaging what it is adhered to. It goes on like cake frosting and dries rock hard. If it is, using a pole and sanding manually could take a long time and cost you a lot of sanding paper, as that stuff tends to tear up anything that brushes by it.

    You might try experimenting in removal, but unless it was strictly a decorating choice (blue and white sponge treatment perhaps someone was trying to make it look like clouds and sky - ugh!) consider that it may have been used to cover up a very bad surface problem in the first place (stained, cracked, uneven plaster or drywall, leaking or condensation above) or to encapsulate, contain or hide a sprayed on asbestos containing acoustical ceiling treatment, a delaminating/cracking lead paint issue, etc. which you might create more issues by scraping, trying to remove in layers. If it is venetian plaster or a modern venetian plaster like hardened finish, you'd likely destroy or at least quickly dull the edge of a wood chisel on this stuff. You'd probably find that you'll need stone/masonry chisel or similar grade tools/grinders to be effective.

    I don't see option 3 on a grid being great especially if your ceiling height isn't that generous to begin with. What is above this ceiling? Is this below a low pitch roof? Do you have access from above? Exploring for option 1 if it is doable or if regular plaster of paris was used (doubtful), but suspect option 2 might be your best choice if the original ceiling beneath this yuck has any possible surface or hazard issue, making containment, removal, disposal and cleanup much faster and easier to accomplish.

    If looking for fast and quick temporary uniformity which would allow you to add color as well, you might try knocking down the texture significantly but not removing it completely, filling in the beam areas with a modest base coat of venetian plaster, then using one with a color additive, refinish the knocked down and new areas with a less drastic smoother textured finished surface layer.

    The first exploration tool/experiement I'd try is a stiff SS 6-8" wide sharp edged joint taping knife and a mallet after first wet sanding the edge of the of the transition where the beam was and the ceiling texture begins, and see what that produces. I'd wet the area with a spray bottle of water and dish detergent before I began and as I worked using containment precautions for lead and asbestos just in case, and be prepared to patch the worked area with an encapsulating coat should something nasty be encountered.
    Last edited by unregistered; 03-19-2008 at 02:20 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Pointy Plaster Ceiling Removal *with pic*

    Quote Originally Posted by unregistered View Post
    (blue and white sponge treatment perhaps someone was trying to make it look like clouds and sky - ugh!)
    Yes, pretty horrible ay? They also painted the outside of the house.....turquoise.

    Quote Originally Posted by unregistered View Post
    What is above this ceiling? Is this below a low pitch roof? Do you have access from above?
    It's a single level ranch and I have access to the top of the ceiling from the attic. The house and roof are in great condition so I don't expect any surprises, if I can get the damn slop off the ceiling.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Pointy Plaster Ceiling Removal *with pic*

    Quote Originally Posted by Krill_Guy View Post
    That's just nasty. :-)

    Personally, I'd try scraping it first with something like my handy 5-in-1 painter's tool (maybe a hammer too). No promises, but you might be able to get it down to something closer to smooth, especially if it was done with mud (aka- joint compound). Then make the choice to sand, or skim. Be careful not to dig to deep when scraping. (Ever use a wood chisel and mallet?)
    It's terrible and basically (aside of getting the floors refinished) the only thing I want to do to the house before I move in. I imagine this will be very, very messy.

    I watched a video over at DIYNetwork.com that demonstrates how to remove a popcorn ceiling and I think moistening and scraping the ceiling might get the job done. I'm just concerned that if it turns out I need to completely rip out the ceiling, I won't be able to get a professional in there in time to replace the drywall and plaster. I only really have a two week window between closing and move-in to work on major issues.

    I'll then need to paint the room and the floor guys would want to come in for three + days to sand and poly all the floors.

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