Ideas From Ed: Teenee Tiny Ceiling Work

Ed is a do-it-yourselfer who is happy to share some of his ideas and experiences in this monthly column.

This month:  Teenee Tiny Ceiling work!

Although this same method works on a large scale (I have pictures to prove it), this month we’ll discuss an option for a smaller project.  In my case, it was a closet that had a very badly damaged ceiling from a roof leak in a house that had been abandoned.  Of course, the first step WAS TO REPAIR THE LEAK so that no further damage will occur!

Here’s a picture of what things looked like:

Those who are very skilled with doing trowel work with joint compound are welcome to “do their thing” and make “repairs”, but to me, working overhead to make the needed corrections wasn’t something I wanted to do.  In addition, house settling had put the ceiling a bit off level, and I wanted to get things looking nice and flat — better than I’d be able to do with a trowel.

My plan was to install a new drywall ceiling “under” the existing one, but to make it look like it had been there since “day one”.

The initial steps included removing anything in the damaged area that was not solidly anchored, and removing wallpaper on the adjoining wall.  The wall needed work, too, and repairs and removal of 4 layers of wallpaper might be shown in a future article.  I had to establish an approximate elevation for a new ceiling, making sure it would cover things, and yet look “right” and blend into any existing window surrounds, etc.  Here’s what things looked like after a bit of “cleanup” and wallpaper removal:

As you can see, there wasn’t much space between the underside of the existing ceiling and the top of the window woodwork, but there was just enough, provided I didn’t need to make a LOT of elevation changes to get things level.  Using that window woodwork frame as a temporary support would actually function as a temporary rest to help hold things while placing the new panel into position.

The next step was to determine the location of the attic floor joists above the closet, so that leveling shims could be attached firmly to them.  Here’s where that high school math was needed!  Given the thickness of the anticipated new drywall panel and the final ceiling height, and using a good carpenter level (or a laser could have been used) I cut shims and screwed them to the ceiling into the joists, creating “strips” onto which a new ceiling could be firmly anchored.  Here they are, in progress:

   

So, with some careful measurements, it wasn’t too hard to a job to cut a section of drywall and hoist it into position.  Note in the picture that I have the shim locations marked on the wall, because once the new panel was held up, they were no longer visible.

Of course, getting the new drywall panel up was just another step, and there still needed to be some work with joint compound, drywall “corners”, and sanding.  Here’s how things shaped up after slapping on the “mud”.  Now, all that’s left is painting!

Happy restoring!