Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Basement Ceiling

I've been muttering to myself about how the POs (or perhaps the PPOs) finished the basement ceiling when they finished the basement. Oops. I was wrong. Last night, I was looking at the ceiling and the plumbing, trying to figure out how to gain access.

The ceiling, it seems, is composed of some sort of material on metal lath. I'm inclined to say that it is mortar or concrete of some sort - it feels harder and more rough than plaster.

I've never seen anything like this. I'm not familiar enough with the style of the work to say whether it was original or later. Whatever the case, it won't make working on the plumbing or utilities hidden underneath it easy.


Mr. Kluges said...

Most of our basement ceiling was wooden lathe and plaster. It wasn't in great shape, but I still felt awful when we had to tear it down to replace our knob and tube electrical. Thankfully it was the only "destruction" we had to do for the electrical work.

If you do have plaster and metal lathe, I hate to say it, but you are going to have a tough time working in plumbing and electrical. Be sure to find a good plasterer before you start any demo.

NP said...

There are some more recent plasters that appear to be more concrete/mortar-like, and applied over metal lathe. If you're basement was finished after the house was built, then it's entirely possible that metal lathe/plaster was used instead of the more traditional wood lathe/plaster. We found some patch jobs in our 2nd storey bathroom ceiling where a coarse mortar like plaster was applied over metal lathe, then smoothed to blend into the existing wood lathe/plaster.

Christopher Busta-Peck said...

NP - that's good to know.

I should note that the rest of the plaster in our house is non-standard. Rather than having been applied on lath, it was applied on fiberboad. While this seems strange, in most areas it has held up well.

I only mention this to clarify the general non-standard nature of our plaster.

kendra said...

I'm wondering if you have the same type of metal lath on your ceiling that I recently found on the ceiling of a first floor room? Our house was built in 1925 and the lath/metal/plaster on this ceiling appears to be original (though I could be wrong, as this is the only one we've cut open).

Here's a photo of our
metal lath. (The metal area you can see is a couple inches across).

The deepest coat of our original plaster (hidden by the finer-textured outside coats) looks very much like concrete with the odd horse hair in it. I wonder if you just have the rough first layer of old fashioned plaster on your basement ceiling??

I don't know enough about what we've got to be much help to you, except that our insulation guy used a sawzall to cut through our plaster/lath/metal ceiling.

Good luck!