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FIxing plaster ceilings

I have two rather large areas of my plaster ceiling that need to be fixed/replaced due to water leakage.  I really don't want to turn it in to my insurance company as I just had a new roof put on and the leaking has stopped (obviously I should've put it through my insurance company prior to putting on the new roof).  Any suggestions would be very much appreciated!  Thanks!

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Posted 2010-11-30T19:47:02+0000  by rfossitt rfossitt

Hello rfossitt, and welcome to The Home Depot Community!

I also have an old home with plaster walls and ceilings, and have had to do the exact same repair.


To get a feel for how this is done, check out this project guide video on our Home Depot website.  The videos don't have a direct link (they're pop-ups) so:

Click on Videos, Project Know-how, Building Materials, and choose “Repairing Damaged Plaster”.


This is a wall repair demonstration, but doing a ceiling works much the same way.  You will want to actually measure the plaster thickness.  The video example used 3/8” drywall, but at my home the brown base coat is much thicker and I used 1/2”.   When you take down the damaged plaster, don’t be surprised at how much needs to come down.  Water damage will cover a large area over time.  Cover or remove nearby furniture and protect your floor when you do this.  Everything not firmly attached to the lath must be removed.  Add additional nails to any loose lath to ensure that the drywall is applied to a flat surface.  So far this is a messy project but not that hard.  A wet/dry vac comes in very handy!


When it’s time to mount the drywall to the ceiling, you will want some help to hold it up while you put in the initial few screws.  You don’t need a professional drywall screw-gun.  An electric drill with a drywall screw bit will work just fine (it’s just slower).  The trick is to set the screws just below the surface without puncturing the paper.  Strike a chalk line to mark each joist location and set screws every 6-8 inches.


I prefer to use a dry mix (45 minute set time) made up in small batches to fill the cracks between drywall and plaster.  It is less likely to crack as it sets up hard like concrete.  Since it also is hard to sand, I use the premix mud for the final coats which are thinly applied.


I hope this helps.  Please let us know if you have any further questions about this or any other projects you may be working on. We are here to help.





Posted 2010-11-30T21:24:25+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

Hi I am new at this, how do you do the same with a popcorn ceiling. I would like to replace or remove the popcorn ceiling. Thanks in advance for your help.

Posted 2010-12-01T12:44:00+0000  by curly29

Hello curly29,


My name is Christine.  Let me be the first to welcome you to our community! :smileyhappy:


Here is a link to another post that may help you out in removing your popcorn ceiling.


 If you want to replace the entire ceiling, Newf’s advice above will work for you.


Let me know if I can help with anything else,



Posted 2010-12-01T13:51:53+0000  by Christine_HD_ATL
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