Plastering Question

We're thinking about getting the ceiling in our upstairs bedroom either skimmed or replaced. it is uneven in places and some lines (like raised cracks) are visible. what's best?

We're not sure how long it has been like this as we just moved in. The property is a smallish Victorian semi. Should we look at replacing the ceiling or get it skimmed?

17 Answers

Best Answer

agree with most of the suggestions on here.
Chances are it is the original lath & plaster construction and strongly recommend that these ceilings are NOT re-plastered/skimmed on to directly and absolutely DO NOT dot & dab the plasterboards onto the ceiling.
If the ceiling looks pretty level,then locate & mark out all the main joists in the ceiling,then using extra long drywall screws (i normally use 60mm screws when over-boarding ceilings) fix new plasterboards over existing ceiling & skim finish.
If the ceiling is badly bowed/not level,then screw some battons to the joists first,then board on new battons.
Either way,try and avoid at all costs not to take down the original ceiling as it will be incredibly messy and ultimately you will not really gain any benefit by doing so.
Hope this has been of some help to you.

Answered 23rd Feb 2011

carl melady

Member since 1 Jun 2008

I would over board and skim, saves a lot of mess taking old ceiling down.
Locate all your existing joists first and mark, use plaster board screws long enough to go through existing ceiling and into joists.
If you have bad bows in the ceiling, I would batten out first, helps pull old ceiling up, and fix new boards to battens,could even thread electric cables etc in, probably easier and better,
Make sure to use plenty of screws,tape up all joints and 2coat skim.

Answered 22nd Feb 2011


Member since 29 Oct 2008

This is where you have to be carefull. If it is lathe and plaster, check the joists in your loft and ensure they have not starting sagging and buckling. I'm sure you may find this is the case and then the problem starts. I am currently working on a home with this problem close to Luton Airport and this is the case. I have lowered the ceiling by 100mm. At the edges there is a different of 100mm and the centre of the ceiling is a mere 5mm above the new timber support structure. That is a massive different. The centre has dropped by 95mm. All the support in the loft has sagged and buckled. If this is not the case, then follow the advise of the tradesmen above. By overboarding it, it will still be uneaven in places and this doesn't cure the problem unless you add large quantities of plaster, adding more weight to the structure.

Answered 23rd Feb 2011

Monray Domestic Services

Member since 6 Aug 2008

hi . best way is replace or overboarding , then skim over. regards andy

Answered 22nd Feb 2011

azs property service

Member since 8 Sep 2010

Hi bob sounds like laths & lime ceiling locate joists normally 16 inch centres on victorian properties overboard & skim 60/65mm screws saving mess from hacking down if you pull it down dust goes everywhere & i mean everywhere kind regards kev

Answered 2nd Mar 2011


Member since 13 Apr 2009

if its a old property its normal to have a uneven celling due to the joists moveing over the years. give the celling a good thump. if its solid i would even the celling out with hardwall or bonding. cover the cracks with scrim . then two coats of plaster. if the celling is soft ie laths and plaster. you can rip it all down or plasterboard over the top but you WONT even it out just by replacing the celling if it is a old house unless you pack out the joists. roy

Answered 22nd Feb 2011

northview property mainenance

Member since 13 Sep 2010

overboard and skim dont take down unless it is bowed as is very messy

Answered 22nd Feb 2011


Member since 16 Nov 2010

No feedback

It depends how uneven you are talking ,if it's down to the joists then ripping down the old ceiling wont solve your problem you could reboard over the top but rather than screw it to the joists I would use the dot and dab method that way you are not just following the contour of your joists but forgot to mention before I remove the board surports I then use 50mm sometime longer plaster board screws with small washers so they don't pull through the board,I then fix every 8" along every joist this is most important or the ceiling will come down due to the waight!.It's possible you may get away with putting tape over the cracks bonding then skimming.

Answered 23rd Feb 2011

DAKS Plumbing Heating & Plastering Specialists

Member since 24 Feb 2011

Hi my advice due to the uneven ceiling would to either remove the ceiling and replace or over board and skim as just skimming will not solve the uneven parts. Regards Steve

Answered 22nd Feb 2011

S P Cousins

Member since 6 Aug 2008


Answered 24th Feb 2011

CG Plastering

Member since 3 Sep 2010

all above are good answers,first off is it a listed building or in a conservation area ? if so check with them on what your aloud to do.Also you may not want a flat ceiling as it can take away the charecter of the building.if this is the may be possible to fix cracks witha special filler and linig paper.or have a builder cut out along cracks not to break lathes.and fix withpva and bomding then skim .hope this was helpful.

Answered 24th Feb 2011

y,not build

Member since 3 Oct 2009

if you want a flat straight ceiling and dont mind loseing a few cm m f ceiling put in with laser ,plasterboard and skim it will be perfict ,all in a day

Answered 28th Feb 2011

DPF Plastering & Screeding

Member since 26 May 2010

I have had exactly this problem today with a replaster job, I evidenced on a quotation down lighters fitted to lathes with burnt out old wiring and exposed conductive parts from the below the ceiling itself. So I would also to be sure, try and remove the lathes one because of build up of combustible materials and dust and two because the old way of wiring in most cases was not clipped direct to joists and therefore could very likely be drilled into when screwing new plaster boards and that's not all plumbing pipes also often are out of there zones in older build properties. Also lathes are a big fire risk when they come into contact with hot halogen bulbs which I see regularly as an electrician/builder. Fortunately not at the burnt house carcass stages yet.
Good luck all

Answered 5th Nov 2013

MPEP Building Services

Member since 7 Oct 2013

hi depending on the size of the cracks you can either fill,tape,unibond,and skim over,or you could reboard over the top and skim hope this helps andy.

Answered 22nd Feb 2011


Member since 4 Jan 2011

You probably have lathe and plaster ceiling so only solution is to overboard with plasterboard then plaster

Answered 22nd Feb 2011

AJ Plastering & Building Services

Member since 14 Jan 2010

Either put new plasterboard over existing and skim or rip down ceiling and put up new plasterboard

Answered 22nd Feb 2011

M.R Electrical Ltd.

Member since 24 Jan 2011

Yeah overboarding is possible but if there is sagging in the ceiling i tend to find its easier and a much better job to batten out the perimeter and install a new ceiling provided you have the height to work with. Perfect for pulling your cables etc through

Answered 9th May 2017

Emerald Construction

Member since 1 Mar 2017

No feedback

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