Putting up a plasterboard ceiling can be a difficult DIY job. But if you have some skill at DIY in general putting up a plasterboard ceiling yourself can save a great deal of money. Most of the main challenges associated with installing a plasterboard ceiling can be overcome or at least made easier by following a step by step process and in the right order. It is almost impossible for one person to safely complete the plasterboard ceiling hanging process without considerable ingenuity and an amateur should not try it alone. Two people are required. Alternatively a Plasterboard Ceiling Board Hanger Tool might be a better investment. See our final paragraph below.
Preparing to put up a Plasterboard Ceiling
An existing ceiling can be modified into a plasterboard ceiling. The first thing is to find where the joists are located. When installing a plasterboard ceiling into an upstairs room the joists can be located in the loft. But downstairs it can be more difficult. You will need to examine the existing ceiling by prodding it with and awl or some similar pointed tool. If that doesn’t achieve an accurate location of the joists you might need to lift the floorboards of the room above. Alternatively you might strip off the existing ceiling and screw the new plasterboard ceiling directly on to the joints. It can however be advantageous to retain the existing ceiling above the new plasterboard ceiling to assist with noise and thermal insulation. If you find noise an issue you might even take the opportunity to install some Rockwool insulation. However you proceed make marks at the top of the walls to record where the joists are located
Tools Required to install a Plasterboard Ceiling
- Wood Saw
- Sprit Level
- Screwdriver (preferably electric)
- Stanley Knife
- Dust Mask
- Platform to stand on (aluminium, plank, or trestles)
- Plastering Trowel or Rubber Blade Fillet Tool
- Measuring Tape
Materials Required to Install Plasterboard Ceiling
- 120 Grit Grade Sandpaper
- Joint Filler
- Plasterboard Tape (Perforated)
- Dry Wall Screws (38mm)
- 12.5 mm Tapered Edge plasterboard ceiling Sheets
- Some lengths of wood to assist in supporting the plasterboard ceiling sheets
- 50mmx50mm sawn wood for installing noggings
Installing the Plasterboard Ceiling
- In the case of non sloping plasterboard ceiling a near accurate measurement of the area of the ceiling can be obtained by measuring the floor. Multiply the width by the length to obtain the estimated area of the proposed plasterboard ceiling in square metres. Board suitable for plasterboard ceilings is usually sold at most DIY Stores and Builders’ Merchants in 1.2x.9m, 2.1×2.1m, 1.8mx1.2m and 2.4mx1.2m. sizes
- Plasterboard ceilings have to be well supported. If no wood is present where the walls meet the joists nail in some 50mmx50mm wood noggings. Noggings are also required where the long edges of the plasterboard ceiling sheets will meet between the joists. The edge of the plasterboard ceiling.
- sheets must reach half way across the joists so as to allow the next plasterboard ceiling sheet to come up to it.
- The first plasterboard ceiling sheet should be placed starting at the corner of the room. Lengths of wood can be used to prop the plasterboard ceiling sheet up.
- 38mm plasterboard ceiling screws are required to screw the plasterboard ceiling sheet into the joists. It’s usually better to use screws rather than nails.
- for renovation work. Hammering can damage and disturb the joists. Fixings should be located 150mm apart and at least 13mm away from the plasterboard ceiling sheet edges where they’ve been cut. The screws can be placed at shorter distances (around 10mm) where the plasterboard ceiling sheet edge has been factory bound. Avoid screwing the screws in too deep so as to prevent damage to the plasterboard ceiling sheet. The correct depth is just below the face of the plasterboard ceiling sections..
- Staggering the plasterboard ceiling sheets allows for a stronger ceiling and if any cracks develop, helps prevent filler running the full length or width of the room. Leave a 3mm gap between the plasterboard ceiling sections to allow the filler to obtain a good grip.
- When cutting the plasterboard ceiling sections first measure and mark the sheet which needs cutting. Apply the sprit level along the line and cut through the paper using a Stanley Knife. Bend the plasterboard ceiling sheet back the opposite way to where the paper has been cut and cut through the paper on the other side of the plasterboard ceiling sheet. The resultant cut should be clean and neat.
- When all of the plasterboard ceiling sections are in place tape over them with plasterboard tape.
- Make up a smooth stiff paste of joint filler in a bucket using a measured amount of water in accordance with the instructions. Avoid making up too much filler.
- Using a trowel or a rubber bladed applicator fill in the spaces between the plasterboard ceiling joints and the points where the screw heads dip, into the board. The result should be only a small ridge of filler left which will need rubbing down. After leaving the plasterboard ceiling to dry for 24 hours sand it down with the 120 grit sandpaper. Sanding filler can create a very fine unpleasant dust so it’s essential to use Goggles and a Dust Mask and leave all the windows open.
Plasterboard Ceiling Board Hanger
Many of the difficulties associated with installing plasterboard ceiling sheets can be avoided by using a relatively new innovation called a (plasterboard) ceiling hanger. They cost around £40 and are available by Googling ‘Ceiling board Hanger’. The tool overcomes most of the problems which arise when one man attempts to perform the operation. The clamps allow one person to align and hold up the plasterboard ceiling sheets. The clamps themselves are small and fit easily into the pocket or a belt hung and comprise two sets of clamps which you can attach quickly to the edge of the plasterboard ceiling sheets and two further ones which attach to the joists. The plasterboard ceiling sheet is then brought up to alignment and they clip together. The plasterboard ceiling is then hinged upwards and rests automatically square with the joists so that it can be screwed into the joists. The system avoids most of the awkwardness associated with the process and no heavy lifting is required. Long term neck and back injuries can arise with lifting plasterboard ceiling sheets into position and the risk is particularly bad when attempted by one person.