false ceiling

Pulling down an old defective ceiling is extremely messy and disruptive so, where the ceiling height permits, it might be better to erect a false ceiling just below the existing one. The way to do this is to fix a network of battens to the ceiling, with screws driven through them and the plaster into the joists. lf you decide on a plasterboard ceiling, the network should go both along and across the joists, to give the necessary fixing points, as detailed in the previous section. Finding the ceiling joists can be difficult, but in cases such as this – where there will be a good cover up you can make a series of test borings. Once you have determined the position of two joists you should easily locate the others, because usually the spacing between them is regular.

 

To get a good, level ceiling, all the battens should be at   the same height. Check that they are by placing a long, true batten, with a spirit level held against it, across them. To adjust the level, withdraw the battens fixing screws or drive them in further as necessary. Where the ceiling joists have twisted badly out of true, and the ceiling bows heavily in the middle, fix the battens at the perimeter of the room to the top of the wall, rather than the ceiling. The battens should have a cross section of about 50mm square, so long screws will be required a minimum of 100mm to get through batten, plaster and lath, and give a good, firm fixing, A false ceiling serves a useful function in a top-storey room, where there is no accessible attic space above. You can place insulation materials above the plasterboard, to make the house warmer, and so reduce heating bills.

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