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LonandMichelle 07-06-2012 12:42 PM

Old plaster ceiling with multiple layers
My husband and I are in the middle of removing a popcorn ceiling in our kitchen. It had areas that were cracked and starting to fall off, so we had no choice. Our home is 1918, and the ceiling appears to be plaster (as is the rest of the house). Although some of the popcorn slips off easily, other areas are impossible to remove more than just the texture itself. In some areas we are down to the plaster, in others there is an off-white color that we cannot remove, in others it appears there was patching. In the plaster areas, we can see multiple cracks in the ceiling, and they seem to be where the problem areas were.

We had hoped to paint the ceiling but are resigning ourselves to another textured ceiling due to the variations of the existing surface. However, we are concerned that as some of the ceiling has dried, the edges of areas where we could not remove more than the superficial popcorn, are pulling away further and chipping off relatively easily! Now what do we do? If we cover that, will it pull away with the new texture? Do we need to respray and do it all again (please,NO!).

We are total novices, and we don't have great expectations, but we'd rather not have to do this again any time soon! Any ideas about the multiple "layers", the dried areas that are able to be chipped off, and filling the cracks so they don't open again would be very much appreciated! THANKS!

user1007 07-10-2012 05:58 PM

You may end up deciding it is easier just to drywall over everything. Or if it is really failing and starting to separate, you may want to demolish the plaster and even the lathe first. It sounds like the ceiling is in rough enough shape you cannot skim coat it? It is hard for me to tell exactly what you have going on from your description.

If the plaster and lathe are intact and just cracking extensively, there are wall and ceiling resurfacing membrane products like NuWal (now sold by Abatron) that might work. Contrary to the product hype, they are not especially easy to use. Don't be discouraged from using them if they sound like they will solve your problem. Just be prepared for more of a challenge than suggested in the literature and know it will require two people. The good news is it works really well in the right situations.

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