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Ceiling not level enough for crown molding

RoyTurning's picture

My 100 year-old house has a plaster on wood lath ceiling that slants up in one corner as it nears the stairwell. This hasn't been a problem (not noticable) but now that I want to add crown molding it will be. It's out as much as an inch over a six foot area.  

My thought is to attach wire lath with plaster washers in the worst area and slather a 50-50 mix of Structo-Lite and Mason's Mix (probably two coats), taper it off and finish coat it with drywall mud. I've had success with this method on walls but I've never had a ceiling this bad. Any advise on materials and/or process would be greatly appreciated.

I'd attach some photos but it didn't work earlier.

If the ceilings are high (post #207027, reply #1 of 17)

If the ceilings are high enough, don't attach the crown to the ceiling, but drop it down an inch or two.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

ceiling problem (post #207027, reply #4 of 17)

Thanks for the reply, unfortunatly the ceiling isn't high enough. I'm afraid the space showing between the top of the window trim, cap, and what will be the bottom of the crown isn't enough to fool the eye.

Roy (post #207027, reply #2 of 17)

If you can, attach some "plaster grounds" to the perimeter and taper out to what's not bad.  This will guide you trowell or knife and give you a base to fill to.  Remove and fill in.

Best of luck.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


ceiling problem (post #207027, reply #5 of 17)

Thanks, I'm thinking I should rent a rotary laser level and really see how far off everything is. I'm not sure if such a machine can cast a line at the very top, if so, it seems that I could screw on some plaster grounds that just kissed the laser line which would give me the perfect depth for the new plaster. Anyone out there that knows of a better way?

 

Get the level and pencil mark (post #207027, reply #6 of 17)

Get the level and pencil mark a level line about 10" down.  Then measure up from there to find where everything is and what you want to adjust.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Roy (post #207027, reply #7 of 17)

Out of level is not always a bad thing.  Sure, if you plan on having cabinetry up there that will show the difference, then level is a good goal.

Dips and waves are the killer.  Straighten as you can, carve out some small dips out of the molding so it sits higher.  90% of remodeling finish is fooling the eye. 

 

I have a line laser and like Dan mentions, use it for reference.  Set it up, walk around the room and measure down from the ceiling to the line and make note of the numbers (+ or -)  difference on a pc. of paper.  It's a quick way to see the variation and quickness of drop or rise.  No need to strike a line on a finished surface.  Heck, you don't even need to move furniture.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


Plaster materials follow-on question (post #207027, reply #9 of 17)

After seven months I'm finally getting back to this project. I'm wondering if my plan to use a 50/50 mix of Structo-Lite and mason's mix over wire lath (probably two coats) and then finish coat with drywall mudd is the right materials choice. I thank any of you that have experience in fixing plaster ceilings for sharing.

 Roy

Plaster materials follow-on question (post #207027, reply #10 of 17)

After seven months I'm finally getting back to this project. I'm wondering if my plan to use a 50/50 mix of Structo-Lite and mason's mix over wire lath (probably two coats) and then finish coat with drywall mudd is the right materials choice. I thank any of you that have experience in fixing plaster ceilings for sharing.

 Roy

Hey Roy,          What (post #207027, reply #11 of 17)

Hey Roy,  

       What Calvin said back in November is what I do regularly.  It works beautifully.  Rip some tapered "grounds", fat ends at the depression, "skinny or zero" end back at the good plane.  Then use your grounds to screed the patch material with a trowel of broad taping knife.  Remove the grounds before the material fully sets then fill the space left by the ground with more patch material.  As for what to use, I like Durabond 20 for this type of work.  What you are suggesting is probably fine I just have not used it.  The Durabond couldn't be easier to work with.  I've been sold on it since I saw a painter "replace" about 6 missing bricks in an interior brick veneer wall that was getting painted.  He filled the voids with Durabond, tooled the mortar joints in and when it was done and painted half an hour later we couldn't find the "new bricks" in the wall.  To get an idea of how much straightening you really need to do, just jam that trim up there and take a look.  In an old house where probably almost nothing is straight, it may look better to use a combination of fixing the egregious spots and putting a little force into bending that crown to fit.  Good luck Roy.

Now I get it (post #207027, reply #12 of 17)

I wasn't sure what "plaster grounds" were. I was thinking screws or small pieces of wood set at the level I wanted the final plaster to be. Now I'm thinking they will be long skinny strips, much like typical shims, only longer and as thick as the ceiling needs to be in the given area. I can cut them on my bandsaw.

Thank you Finefinish, Calvin and the rest who responded. Now I have a plan that's doable.

   Roy

Actually, they're the white (post #207027, reply #13 of 17)

Actually, they're the white gunk left in the pot after you brew the plaster.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Plaster grounds (post #207027, reply #17 of 17)

DanH,

You had me for a second - probably because I drink at least 12 cups of coffee a day.

or... (post #207027, reply #8 of 17)

Maybe some small profile trim at the top joint?

.

My suggestion would be to (post #207027, reply #14 of 17)

My suggestion would be to make either a block that has the distance down from the ceiling and out from the wall or a mock up an inside corner. Use this to then mark a line in the wall and ceiling in each corner outside corner. You may want to do the middle of each wall as well to see how bad it is. Snap a line connecting each corner. Set the crown to this line adjusting if it is really off the ceiling. To then fill to the ceiling install filler strips tapered as necessary. This can either be used to float the ceiling out or just painted with the crown 

I seem to have a attratction (post #207027, reply #15 of 17)

I seem to have a attratction to tough projects like yours'.  The question I have is if the dip or wave is in a corner, or the center of the wall?  The corners would make it really tough because the miters would be off.  If it's in the middle of the wall, it gets a bit easier.  With a colonial profile you can cope the top of the crown slightly to take some of a steep wave out.  After that, try twisting the crown so the bottom edge is straighter.  Do not try to make it perfect.  You'll be surprised with the two methods just how much of a defect you can absorb and still have the crown look good.

If I'm following a (post #207027, reply #16 of 17)

If I'm following a taper/plaster guy I'd yell at him to straighten that crap out before my crown goes up, but if it's all on me I'll normally screw down nailers to attach the crown to and scribe and grind a little wood off the low spots to minimize any gaps.  After it's all up it's much easier to see how far the patch material has to extend in order to not catch the eye. If it's in harsh light you might need to float it out a great deal, but if it's an area that's in the shadows you might get away with a lot.

 

 

Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.