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Discussion Starter #21
Thanks, again, for the advice and info --

Update:
I thought about doing the ceiling replacement myself but lacked the confidence and some of the tools (and didn't have anyone to help me -- e.g. for holding the drywall in place). Instead, I researched contractors / handymen. Here were the prices (all based on 1/2" Purple Drywall except where noted):
1. Franchise 1 (A rating on Angie's List): ceiling (paint-ready): $750 (includes material); $250 to paint
2. Franchise 2 (A rating on Angie's List): ceiling (paint-ready): $780 (does not include material and the estimate was open-ended -- it was based on hourly work); no estimate for paint
3. Independent Business (A rating on Angie's List) - includes going to a supply store for 5/8" drywall b/c of 24" joist spacing: ceiling - $1280; paint - $325; Remove waste: $125
4. Small independent business (not on Angie's List): $450 for ceiling - 1 day, leave in almost-paint-ready condition (minor sanding needed by me).

I went with #4 and did the rest myself. #4 also added molding to avoid having to paint the walls from the spackle (same price). He also threw in the fan install but ... didn't have the lips of the fan housing flush w/ the drywall (instead, mounted it on top of the drywall. I removed the install and re-did it (included having to cut a small piece of drywall to expose the screws and then replacing it with a patch - easy b/c the rectangle was entirely under the joist).

It's done but ... need some duct work that I'm doing now.
 

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You got a fair price---and saved the tradesman a half of a day driving out to sand the new work---

I'm glad that worked out for you----keep his number--sounds like someone you might have a need for in the future---
 
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