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Old 11-22-2011, 11:35 AM   #1
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Drop Ceiling removal


I know this question has been posted a few times but it doesn't seem like anyone has specifically answered my question.

I have recently purchased a house built in 1937. The House is GREAT but.....the downstairs has a drop ceiling that looks like I should put in a cubicle as opposed to a bed room. I want to remove the drop ceiling and.......(NO IDEA).

I need a step by step on how to remove a drop ceiling and hopefully some ideas on what would look good. There are no air ducts downstairs and I have yet to lift the tiles to check the integrity of the original structure. I am new to DIY, the forum and the act of, but I have help.

I would just like to get some ideas and some instructions so I can try and get better at fixing things myself. As the project advances I will post pictures so if you answer my questions you can vicariously see the fruits of your labors. PLEASE PLEASE HELP!!!


Last edited by oh'mike; 12-12-2011 at 03:35 PM. Reason: added spaces
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Old 11-22-2011, 11:51 AM   #2
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Drop Ceiling removal


Usually when a drop ceiling is installed in a house of that vintage it is there to hide something. I would first remove some panels and see what surprises lay in store for you above the grid. You may change your mind.

Next issue is in a house of that vintage the walls are probably made of plaster. This can be done several ways but usually attaching the necessary wall angles will disrupt the integrity of the wall covering material (plaster) and will cause untold damage when the angles are removed.

Do some exploration first and see what is really there then report back and we'll see what the next move is.

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Old 11-22-2011, 02:16 PM   #3
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Drop Ceiling removal


Thanks for your pointers. I'll be looking into why that ceiling was put in very soon and taking some pictures to post in case you spot something I don't that may prevent/discourage me from removing it.

I don't know how to tell if these are plaster walls or not so any tips could be useful....I'm new to this so please don't judge haha.

I'm attaching a current photo of the downstairs so maybe I can get some pointers/ideas on what I can do with this horrendous ceiling. Also I plan on making this room my first DIY project which will include ripping up those floors and staining the concrete underneath.....tips appreciated but, lets save that for another day.

Thanks again for your help and there will be more pictures to follow. Also....is it possible that they put in the drop ceiling to make the window unit more efficient?

Nothing was flagged as per home inspection and my guy is VERY detailed so I'm hoping he would have noticed a problem under said ceiling. Anyway here is the picture and again thank you!


Last edited by oh'mike; 12-12-2011 at 03:38 PM. Reason: added spaces
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Old 11-25-2011, 03:43 PM   #4
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Drop Ceiling removal


You remove all the ceiling panels.
You remove the lights.
You remove the 2' and 4' pieces
You remove the long runners in the middle.
You remove the wall attachments.
Tin snips will make it easier then disengaging the interconnections between the 2' and 4' pieces and the main runners.
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:07 PM   #5
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Drop Ceiling removal


When we did the demo of the drop ceiling in my old house, the guy helping took a pry bar, reached up in the middle of the ceiling and yanked down on those long runners. The ceiling was on the floor in about two minutes, along with the light fixtures.

Yikes.

His philosophy has some merit -- it's that time = money and there's no profit to being careful on stuff that's headed for the landfill.
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:16 PM   #6
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Drop Ceiling removal


Quote:
When we did the demo of the drop ceiling in my old house, the guy helping took a pry bar, reached up in the middle of the ceiling and yanked down on those long runners. The ceiling was on the floor in about two minutes, along with the light fixtures.Yikes. His philosophy has some merit -- it's that time = money and there's no profit to being careful on stuff that's headed for the landfill.
That would be one of the more irresponsible approaches I have ever heard of. Apparently he has never been involved in a Workers Comp claim which in and of itself is surprising.
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:34 PM   #7
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Drop Ceiling removal


Buds right, the only times I see a dropped ceiling installed is then someones to lazy to fix or replace the ceiling that was there or in a basement. In a basment it's ment to cover up the plumbing, electrical, but still make it excessable.
A real simple way to change this would be to replace those ugly panels with better looking ones.
There avalible that look like raised and recessed panels.
Check out Outwater.com for dozens of differant styles or just do a key word search on recessed panels.8
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:15 PM   #8
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Drop Ceiling removal


The advice you have so far has been all good, except that guy pulling the ceiling down with a pry bar. He could easily have created a fire or electrocuted himself, that would happen in less than 2 minutes.

Hoping you have enough common sense not to fall for this, I would suggest you remove a few ceiling panels, (you would just gently lift the panels and slide aside) and have a good look in the ceiling space. Ask yourself these questions.
1. Is there enough extra ceiling height to be gained?
2. Can you see the old fibrous or lath and plaster ceiling, and what condition is it in?
3. Is it cracked, and how serious is the cracking? This will determine if it's worth repairing.
If the answers to 1,2 &3 are positive, you can proceed to remove the dropped ceiling as outlined in above posts. Remove all wiring (or re-route) and brackets.

Assuming the old ceiling does give you extra height and is repairable, repair it and repaint.

If it does give you extra height, but too badly cracked to repair, locate floor joists and run 2''x1'' battens at 18'' centres, screw fixed through old plaster and perpendicular to joists.

Remove all old cornices. Replace all wiring. Then drywall plasterboard sheets glued and screwed to battens. You may need a plastering friend to help you finish this. Replace cornices, trim and scrim plasterboard.

Refit light fittings. Repaint all of room. Job done.

Cheers from Oz.
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:36 AM   #9
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Drop Ceiling removal


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Originally Posted by JoJo-Arch View Post
The advice you have so far has been all good, except that guy pulling the ceiling down with a pry bar. He could easily have created a fire or electrocuted himself, that would happen in less than 2 minutes.
He couldn't have caused a fire nor electrocuted anyone, seeing as how the power was off.

Besides -- it wasn't advice -- go back and look again -- I advised against it.
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:37 AM   #10
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Drop Ceiling removal


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Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
That would be one of the more irresponsible approaches I have ever heard of. Apparently he has never been involved in a Workers Comp claim which in and of itself is surprising.
Not surprising at all -- you don't get those sort of claims if you don't have workers.
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Old 12-09-2011, 02:12 PM   #11
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Drop Ceiling removal


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Originally Posted by pyper View Post
He couldn't have caused a fire nor electrocuted anyone, seeing as how the power was off.

Besides -- it wasn't advice -- go back and look again -- I advised against it.

Sorry if I misinterpreted what you meant. As far as switching power off, how do you know what other wiring was in place. Did he switch off and isolate all power?

From what was said , I thought the contractor was pulling the ceiling down in one hit to save time and money. Note it was his time and his money, he saved, not yours. All you would get is a bigger mess you have to clean up at your time and your cost.

Cheers, Joe from Oz.
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Old 12-10-2011, 08:04 PM   #12
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Drop Ceiling removal


Pop a tile and stick your head up the hole with a flashlight and have a look around. If you don't see any lines you should be able to see all the walls. If you decide on removing the dropped ceiling then you need to take all the tiles out try not to damge them. After the tiles are removed make sure that before you take the grid down that you have a plan laid out on how to make the ceiling look good. If you can't figure out how to make the ceiling look good then put the tiles back in.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:35 PM   #13
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Drop Ceiling removal


Quote:
Originally Posted by JoJo-Arch View Post
how do you know what other wiring was in place.
Because I knew what was there.

Quote:



From what was said , I thought the contractor was pulling the ceiling down in one hit to save time and money. Note it was his time and his money, he saved, not yours. All you would get is a bigger mess you have to clean up at your time and your cost.

Cheers, Joe from Oz.

He was pulling the ceiling down that way because it was fast and easy. I was paying him by the hour, so it actually was my money. In most cases he just works on his own projects (buy house, fix it, sell it), so in most cases it's only his time/money. He works really fast. Sometimes, imo, too fast.

The mess made by pulling down a drop ceiling is nothing compared to the mess made by removing the tile ceiling that was above it, and both those together were nothing compared to pulling down the original beadboard ceiling. Or the walls and their blown in insulation... That stuff really makes a mess.
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:49 PM   #14
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Drop Ceiling removal


Question---you said ,"down stairs."

Did you mean "basement'?

What I see in the picture looks like a nice basement remodel--with stepped framing for the foundation-

Two problems with removing the drop ceiling---

1.The walls may not be drywalled all the way to the floor joists above---
2.There are probably pipes and electrical above the ceiling that would cost a lot to move in order to get a drywall ceiling ----

2 1/2. there may not be much height to gain after all that work.

I lied--2 1/2 problems.---Mike---
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:05 PM   #15
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Drop Ceiling removal


Yeah as soon as I saw that was a basement area I thought "Pipes, no drywall." The only thing that leads me to think you might find otherwise is your windows which look original and not the sort of windows that you would put in an unfinished space.

The dropped ceiling may have been installed to deal with a plaster ceiling which become detached from the lath and cracked buckled and sagged. Not at all uncommon in a house of that vintage. If you see a wavy cracked plaster surface above when you take one of the tiles out, then that is your situation.

You can deal with that one of two ways 1) tear it all down, dropped ceiling, plaster and lathe and all, and put up a new sheetrock ceiling, or b) after the dropped ceiling is down, screw firring strips up against the plaster ceiling, along where the joists run with long screws and washers to raise and flatten and reattach the plaster to the joists and then drywall over that. The second option is obviously less work but you lose a couple of inches and you don't have the opportunity to run new electric and whatever with the whole ceiling down. Also, it's more weight hanging on your floor above.

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