View Full Version : Ripping down the ceiling...

Art Mulder
10-30-2006, 12:43 PM

I'm only half done, if that, but I do have photos...

A few weeks ago I asked about fishing a wire through a finished ceiling (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=44114). Well, there were a number of responses, but the end result didn't sound that hopeful to us. So we decided to bite the bullet and rip down the ceiling in order to move the light fixture to where we want it.
(summary: with dark wood floor, tall dark bookcases, a large masonry fireplace, and a location on the NW corner of the house, the room was just too dark. And we use it as our homeschooling room, and it really needs better light)


Here is the before. It is a poorly stitched picture, but you try taking a photo of a ceiling with a point-n-shoot camera! You get the idea.


Anyway, as I said we decided to rip down the ceiling, but not the whole ceiling. Instead we marked and cut out a section roughly 4x9 in size, centered in the room.

Naturally we had an attentive audience.

And soon it was down

Actually, it is only mostly down in that photo. Oh well.
(... to be continued)

Art Mulder
10-30-2006, 12:54 PM
(...continued ...)

Then with the ceiling down there was the relatively easily job of moving and relocating the wiring. Boy, that is so much easier than trying to fish through drywall and work through these tiny little holes.

Though I did have one "Aughh!!!:eek:" moment when I was drilling some holes through the joist with a 3/4" spade bit and it caught, ripped the drill out of my hand and flew down toward the floor. It was only sort-of in the direction of my kids who were watching from the doorway, but that is enough to give palpatations to a dad. The drill was fine, came nowhere near the kids. But the shaft of the bit had a nice 15-degree bend in it. :eek:
Couldn't find a gouge in the floor either. :confused:


Then we muscled a new piece of drywall into place. The size of the of the hole was deliberately chosen to ease the job as much as
possible. It covers over the location of the old light fixture. It covers all the holes left by the mount points for the old track light.
It covers everything that we need open in order to move the wires around. It is reasonably nicely centered in the ceiling (more on that later) and it is fillable by ONE sheet of drywall (4x10, trimmed down a bit) so the amount of patching to do is pretty minimal.

(I hate mudding drywall. And I'm not that good at it. It is one of those skills that I think takes a LOT of practise - and a home owner doing the occasional job on their own house is NOT going to get that practise.)

Okay, first step done...

Oh, and the reason for being careful to center the patch? We're not replacing the popcorn. I don't like popcorn much. So our plan was to put a section of ceiling in the middle of the room made out of smooth drywall. I'll frame that using something like 1x2 oak or some such -- haven't worked that out yet -- to cover the transition between the old popcorn and the new smooth ceiling. Voila - a quicker job, with an interesting look.

At least, that is the goal.

Here is a rough idea, though the trim isn't right...

And there we stand. Not bad for a Saturday eh? Okay, i did do some smoothing and mudding on Sunday also, but only about 15 minutes worth. Tonight it might be read for the primer coat.

(...to be continued ... maybe by the weekend?)

(edited to fix formatting/wrapping)

Rick Gibson
10-30-2006, 12:55 PM
And now the fun starts - the repair. I have to do the same thing when I finally get around to doing my kitchen. The whole ceiling has to come down and I hate drywall. I think I will hire someone. Since you have all this practice I'm only about an hour away from you. Did I mention I hate drywall.

Joe Pelonio
10-30-2006, 1:10 PM
Saturday I removed the popcorn ceiling from the big room that's going to be my sign/laser shop. It's not that hard to scrape off, just wear a mask.
Took about 3 hours. The hardest part is trying to get the vacuum to suck up the dust. Even sweeping it first we filled 3 bags. I actually enjoyed the texturing. Again it's messy filling the gun with the thinner mud but it blew on nicely. I opted for sponging the overspray off of the windows rather than a big masking job and it worked out. If your room is not too big you can buy spray cans of the texture. Might be worth doing now since you have such a big section of it smooth already and you don't have to do a perfect taping job.

Art Mulder
11-04-2006, 10:49 PM
Coming along...

This week I patched the screw holes (have i mentioned how much I hate mudding drywall? :cool: ) primed the ceiling, and painted a couple coats of a nice satin white. Then I could put up the new fixtures...

... the next step will be the wood trim/frame to cover the transition between the old ceiling and the new.

Dave Ray
11-05-2006, 2:33 PM
Art, nice creative thinking on that ceiling. looks like you had good attendance while you worked also, plus a helper with a putty knife. I hate mudding also. Really like your thoughts on framing the repair in.

Rick Gibson
11-05-2006, 3:30 PM
Looking good Art be sure to show us the finished work.

Art Mulder
11-11-2006, 7:32 PM
Finished up the ceiling today...

The frame I made was of ash. resawed and planed down to 1/2" thick, by 2-1/2" wide. I stained it fairly dark, to match the bookshelves (oak) and flooring already in the room.

I also pre-assembled the frame. Why would I do that? Well, I wanted to be absolutely certain that it was square. This was rather challenging, working with a long flimsy 4'x9-1/2' frame in my shop. To improve the strength, and make the glue-up smoother, I routed out a roughly 2x2" by 1/8" deep recess behind each miter joint, and glued in a piece of hardboard. At half an inch thick, the trim was too narrow for biscuits, as well as screws. This was a bit awkward, but as the end result is completely hidden against the ceiling, it worked well. MUCH stronger also. I made two test joints from scrap - one was just glue on the miter, and one was glue with the patch. The glue-only joint I easily snapped with my hands. The glue+reinforcing-patch one was rock solid.

Borrowed my friend's air compressor and 18ga Paslode nailer to tack it up. Boy that made an awkward job (just) manageable. I needed both my wife and my 9yr old to manage this.

Here is a roughly spliced photo - not easy to get back far enough to get this in the frame.


(the room is actually very bright now, but I had to turn off the lights to take the photo)

(Edit to clarify about the patch behind the miter)

Anthony Anderson
11-11-2006, 10:25 PM
Looks really nice Art. I would have never thought to do something like that. Goo idea. Regards, Bill

Art Mulder
11-11-2006, 10:34 PM
Looking good Art be sure to show us the finished work.

Flattery will get you nowhere, Rick. I still am not available to help you with your kitchen ceiling... :rolleyes::D Not that you'd want me. I hate mudding drywall. Hire that one out!

Art Mulder
11-11-2006, 10:37 PM
Looks really nice Art. I would have never thought to do something like that. Goo idea. Regards, Bill

Thanks, Bill. Or Anthony. You signed one way, but your name reads another?

The idea just came to us, and grew for a few days. It was a bit of a risk, but I was pretty sure that the end result would look good, and I think it does.

Jude Tuliszewski
11-12-2006, 4:05 AM
Nice job on the ceiling, and the trim adds a nice touch:) .
I also, am looking at a dry wall night mare of sorts. After 30 years of paint, patches, and leaks, it is about time to gut the whole house down to the studs. If I can talk my better half into letting me do it all at once (moving out of the house for a couple of months) instead of one area at a time, I will plan on doing the demo my self. Thatís the easy and fun part, smashing stuff:D . I will bring in the pros to hang, tape, and mud, as they, in a week or so, will do what it would take me months to do, specially the ceiling. I will help as much as I can with out getting in the way:o . I would like to do it that way but the LOML is not thrilled about packing everything up, moving it out, then two or three months latter moving everything back and unpacking.:(


Ted Miller
11-13-2006, 12:45 AM
When it comes to sheet rock, I can't sleep the night before, just hate the stuff, matter a fact a did just a little today in my garage, and I do mean "little" I still smell the dust. I must admit the older I get the easier it seems to get at taping and mudding, not hanging though, I remember the days of banjos and paper tape, talk about a nightmare...