Weekend post: ceiling replacement?

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Looking for advice, bids, and suggestions:

I have a 1950’s era Cape with these sort of cardboard/wood pulp tile ceilings:

Ceiling tiles

(click for larger image)


Ceiling tiles

This is in a room that is approximately 144 sq. ft.

I want to get them replaced with this kind of ceiling tile from Armstrong, available at the big box home improvement store of your choice:

Ceiling tile

A few questions:

1. Has anyone done anything like that, and if so, is this the approach you would recommend, or is there a better/more efficient/more cost effective method for replacing an old ceiling like this?

2. What would you budget for this? The tiles are about 92/box, and each box is about 29 sq. ft., so off the bat it’s500 for materials. What’s reasonable labor from an insured contractor to get this sort of thing done? Is it a DIY project for the reasonably unskilled?

If you’re in the metro Boston area and a contractor (or really enjoy traveling at your own expense), you are more than welcome to make an offer/bid! Either leave it in the comments or email me from this comments page.

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3 responses to “Weekend post: ceiling replacement?”

  1. Fun post! I’ve stripped and redone my entire house, after practising for a few years on student dorms. You’re in for a surprise

    Looks like it has leaked many times, fixed now but it will have affected the structure.
    Or is it just a very odd paint job? Anyway, looks like you’ll meet a mess once the tiles are removed, it’s a pretty non-perfect ceiling

    Here’s what I’d suggest: remove the tiles yourself. Guaranteed success, just wear goggles and a mask, there will be plenty of black dust and sand on top of them

    Then you can see the state of affairs: do you need to replace the structure as well, or can it still serve another round? This will also save you from surprise when the contractor removes the tiles and reaches the conclusion that will provide him with most work and pay

    Where the ceiling meets the wall, you have an issue: do you want to keep it this way, or change it? There’s a reason why it’s this way (I say plumbing) but it’s damn ugly and maybe there’s an alternative. If you keep it, how are you going to made the transition between ceiling and wall? Need perfect tools and eyes for that, unless you cover it up with a strip on both sides

    Last: how are you going to make transition between ceiling and wall for the rest? Strips? Square, high, low, thin, thick, which colour?

    There is plenty of structure to affix the new ceiling, as these tiles seem to be 1.5 foot square. Meaning one man can do it. Including buying, transport, preparation and all, it’s 8-12 hours work. I don’t know the new ceiling but assume it’s good quality, cheap will mean it takes extra time to slide it all together

    If you like DIY i’d certainly take on the challenge. Have you ever laid a floor? This is exactly the same, only will it teach you that you never use your triceps

    1. Aye, I’ve done a tile floor for the kitchen. It took some practice, to be sure.

      1. Ah, tiles are a b*tch and you definitely need some practice for that. Perfectly level floor or wall being one of those, btw. I was talking about laminate flooring

        I read the post and wrote the comment from mobile, have a much better look at the ceiling now: seems to be sagging a bit, indicating the battens will have to be replaced indeed.
        Anyway, strip it, then decide whether to DYI or spend 300-500 bucks on labour (no idea about exact rates around MA at the moment, although I do know a few Cape Verdians around Brockton who will give you a great price LOL)

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