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Currently gutting a room in our old farmhouse... the walls are currently drywall covered by plaster. We’ve run into the issue that the existing insulation in the attic is loose and has no plastic down as it was put in before we owned the house. How do we do the ceiling? If we drywall over existing ceiling, how do we handle the wire mesh that is in all seams? Are we better off to hire a professional to handle the insulation? Please give all advise as we are new to the home remodel and this is our first project on our own.
 

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I would tear out the ceiling and upgrade the insulation to rolled pink fiberglass. Of course you better test the old loose stuff for asbestos first.
If you don’t want to go the messy route, you can simply drywall onto the plaster as long as you know where ceiling joists are to put screws in the drywall to hold it in place.
 

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Without pictures, it's hard to say. But if tearing out the ceiling and redoing it isn't an option, you could drywall over the old ceiling and use drywall mud, or better yet joint compound ("hot mud") to cover the mesh and eventually get it smooth. You might have to float it out a ways to get it to look flat, but it could be done.

Not sure if that helps or not.

But I agree the best option is to tear out the ceiling, put in new insulation, and put up a new ceiling. Unless you know the condition of the insulation and that it's new, it's something that could pay for itself quickly depending on what area of the country you live in. Ceilings are the worst for heat loss in areas with cold winters.

But be careful on the asbestos risk!!
 

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As in gypsum lath under plaster? or is it drywall someone skim coated over?
Do you know when your house was built? lead paint could also be a factor.
The OP stated there was wire mesh in the seam's. ( by seams it is most likely the corners)
That would indicate that the existing is Rock Lath.
If he elects to install drywall over the existing there should be no problem.
 

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Yeah, I can tell you plaster/wire lath is a mess to deal with, and you'll need some tools you probably don't have. I would just drywall over if I could. You'll need to use the correct size drywall screws (coarse thread), which will most likely be 2". And as mentioned, finding the joists is key.
 

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As in gypsum lath under plaster? or is it drywall someone skim coated over?
Do you know when your house was built? lead paint could also be a factor.
It is drywall that someone must have skim coated. From what we can tell, the house was built in the 60s and since then the walls have not been redone.
 

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Wouldn’t hurt to post a picture.
 
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