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Lath & plaster ceiling & cornice - repair and paint in old Victorian house

Hi all, I have a lath & plaster cracked ceiling repair to do and I need some advice on how to best tackle this problem. The cracks extend to the cornice as well, so those cracks need to be filled, made good and painted as well.

Originally, the hall ceiling was covered with woodchip wallpaper. I removed the woodchip paper and sanded the ceiling using a Mirka Deros using 80 grit Abranet abrasives. Doing so, I have eliminated almost all of the glue that held the wallpaper to the ceiling. The ceiling cracks extend to the nearby cornice all around.

I have not cleaned out the cracks on the ceiling, nor have I filled any of the cracks yet. I have, however, cleaned out some of the cracks on the cornice (see photos attached). I was thinking of using the Toupret 1.5Kg tub ready-mixed filler to fill the cracks, both on the ceiling and cornice, then sand the ceiling using Mirka Abranet abrasives (240 or 320?). The plan so far is, once the I finish sanding the ceiling, to cover it with the Wallrock Fibreliner Plus 180 - one of those paste-the-wall type of lining papers. I will be using the Wallrock Power Adhesive as glue for the lining paper.

The fiberliner will not expand or contract, which in my opinion would make it an ideal lining paper for the plaster/lath ceiling I have. Am I correct to just use the filler to fill in the ceiling cracks, versus using the filler, together with something like the Toupret scrim tape? Others on this forum mention the Toupret Elafib, however would that be easy to sand? Others even suggest using the

Do I need to PVA the cracks before filling them in? I have read conflicting views on this topic.

Here are the paints I am going to be painting the ceiling & cornice with:

Cornice: Loft White 222 Little Greene Absolute Matt Emulsion
Ceiling: Strong White 2001 Farrow-Ball Absolute Estate Emulsion

Once I fill in the large cracks, do I need to skim the whole ceiling with something like the Toupret TX 130, or is that step not needed since I will be applying lining paper over the ceiling?

I am planning to paint two coats of the Little Greene paint over the lining paper. Any objections?

I have two more rooms, the downstairs living room, and the master bedroom upstairs, whose ceilings need to have the same kind of repairs.

Many Thanks!

Hi Chris, welcome. I would fill and skim as well as you possibly can in an attempt to avoid lining paper. I say this purely on the basis that a lined lath and plaster ceiling may land on the floor in the shape of the lining paper! The weight of the paper, paste, it should be a last resort, in my view.

You have the fillers and the sander to achieve a great finish.

The advice in this previous thread covers it all really, especially the initial prep for belt and braces.

With Toupret you have the option of fibacryl filler which has replaced elafib. Scrim for the cracks, no PVA!

Skim over the whole ceiling with Toupret’s all purpose skimcoat filler or the Prestonnet system in the referenced thread.

And when you have a good filled level, use your dust extraction kit to sand it flat with 180 abranet and see where you are at.

That ceiling in the picture would look great and not too vast a place to start on, to get the hang of the system.

Once skimmed and sanded, give it a good vacuum and you have a great base for 2 coats of LG acrylic emulsion. Cuts out a whole layer, excuse the pun, of materials.

Sounds like a lot of work to then line it afterwards. Fibacryl is good stuff, but a pain to sand. I normally leave it short and fill over the top with a filler that can be sanded. Needless to say, given the pictures, I would leave the Fibacyl in the van and go with Andy’s advice - scrim, fill, paint. The only caveat for the ceiling is if the plaster is blown, that is - are those areas in the picture stable?

Thank you both for your responses, Andy and Howzz,

I will be going on site today and I will check whether the plaster is blown or not. I seem to recall that it is blown in a few places. If that is the case, what are my options? Take it all down?



So, I have removed all the woodchip wallpaper from the ceiling in the main bedroom. I have managed to also remove some of the wallpaper on the ceiling in the living room (last photo on this post is from living room ceiling, which shows the area that I have also sanded using the Mirka Deros).

It looks like the main bedroom ceiling is quite cracked, with a few places having the top coat plaster missing. The missing plaster was caused by myself, not being extra careful when taking out the paper.

When gently knocking the plaster, some places feel like the top plaster coat is blown, just a little.

From the photos, where the downlight ceiling lights are located, one can see there are two separate layers of plaster/cement. What is the top coat made of? Is it normal plaster? If I were to hire a professional to remove the top coat of plaster (the thin layer) and apply a new one, would that solve the issue for me? If so, what kind of plaster would it be suitable to apply?