The Cost to Repair or Replace a Ceiling

All you need to know about repairing and replacing your ceiling, including costs of materials, labour and time frames.

Repairing and Replacing a Ceiling

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A complete guide to repairing or replacing a ceiling

Over time, ceilings need to be repaired and possibly even replaced. If you have decided to replace or repair your ceiling, use this guide to understand what you can expect from your ceiling repairs.

What a ceiling repair or replacement involves:

Whether your ceiling has begun to crack or sag, or needs to be updated so that it is in line with the decor throughout the rest of your home, you will want to know what a ceiling repair or replacement involves before you proceed with the work.

Although you may presume that the entire ceiling needs to be replaced, it is sometimes possible to repair parts of a ceiling, if, for example, you want to retain the original ceiling because it is a period feature or is made from a robust insulator.

But what does a ceiling repair or replacement entail?

So what should you expect when planning to have a ceiling repaired or replaced? There is a range of materials available for ceiling renovations. Plasterboard is the most popular choice that is sold in flattened sheets of gypsum, also known as drywall.

To install the plasterboard or drywall, the type and amount of plasterboard will need to be ordered. Drywall comes in many different sizes and thicknesses. For your ceiling, you will want to have longer panels installed for a better finish. Ideally, you want to choose the longest panel possible for the length of the ceiling that you have.

Before the plasterboard is fitted, it will need to be measured and where necessary, cut to fit the contours of your ceiling. The drywall panels will be heavy and cumbersome, so it will take at least two plasterers to carry out the work.

To fix the walls to your ceiling, the plasterboard will need to be hung so that it is perpendicular to the overhead framing members to avoid the possibility of any sagging in the future. Next, the panels will be held in place with screws, placed at least ½ inch from the edges and evenly spaced across the panel.

Once the drywall is fitted and the joints sealed with scrim tape then filled, your tradesman should ensure that there are no screw heads left sticking out of the newly installed panels. Then it is time to clear away all of the debris and for your finishes to be applied.

You can finish your ceiling in any way that you choose, so you will need to decide how you are going to finish your ceiling once the plasterboard is installed. As a result, you may find that you also need to employ plasterer and a decorator to finish your ceiling for you.

With your ceiling exposed during the installation, there is a chance that the tradesman may spot repairs needed within your ceiling, such as damage to the timbers, which you would want to have fixed before the plasterboard is secured.

There are many different types of plasterboard that can be bought in a variety of thicknesses, as well as an array of other features, such as resistance to mould. For your ceiling, you will want the longer and thicker panels for a good finish. The thicker panels are usually better at resisting fire too, although this does not mean that they are fire-proof or a replacement for insulation. However, these longer, thicker panels are heavy, so they will require at least two people to install them.

Additionally, there are also a variety of finishes available for your panels. The drywall finishes range from a Level 0 finish which means that the drywall is left completely exposed to a Level 2 where the surface is finished with a compound coating ready for a final finish. The most popular Level is a level 5 finish which includes three compound coatings.

If your ceiling is pretty dated, you will need to consider health and safety measures for things like asbestos and lead paint. Before you begin any work, contact your local council to find out about health and safety measures, whilst checking over any building regulations at the same time.

Further, if you have an older home with period features such as cornicing, you will want to ensure that these features are maintained, although this will mean that the work will cost more and take longer to complete.

Both the finishes and type of drywall panels that you choose will affect your final costs, if there is additional work needed to repair damage within the ceiling or lots of features that affect the shape of the ceiling, then this will also push your costs up further. Finally, when you create your budget don’t forget to include the work to prepare and finish the ceiling, as well as insulation and clearing up once the installation is complete.

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Cost of repairing or replacing a ceiling?

The average cost of replacing a ceiling is around £400 - £1000, dependant on the size of the room and the type of ceiling that you install.

The work to repair or replace your ceiling is likely to require two builders, who usually work at a cost of around £150 – £200 per day.

Below are some estimated costs of hiring a specialist to repair and replace your ceiling:

Description Avg. Cost Duration
Small patch repair work £150-£200 2-3 hours
Repair and refinish cracked ceiling £200-£400 3-4 hours
Replace whole ceiling in small box room £400-£600 4-6 hours
Replace whole ceiling in large room £750-£1000 6-8 hours


Replace whole ceiling in large room

Individual costs of replacing the whole ceiling in a large room with level 5 finish - Total Cost: £1000

45%

Materials
£450

40%

Tradesmen
£400

15%

Waste Removal
£150

FAQ's

Seasonal temperature changes can cause roof trusses to shift tiny amounts. These movements, called a truss uplift, can cause cracks to appear in the places where the ceiling meets the wall.
There are many factors that can cause a ceiling to sag. It could be due to:
- Softened wood and drywall due to water leaks from the floor above
- Poor construction
- Too much weight on top
- Earthquakes
There are many reasons why you may have cracks in your ceiling. If the cracks in your ceiling run along the ceiling and down a wall, travelling along the same pathway, then they are likely to be an indication of structural damage. Structural damage can occur for a number of reasons including:
- The settling of a building over time
- Damage from jarring during an earthquake
- A weak wall stud
By looking at the direction that the crack follows, you may be able to determine whether or not a crack is likely to be serious.

If the crack runs vertically along the wall in the same direction as the drywall, then it may indicate a problem that is not too major.

If the crack travels in a horizontal direction or at a jagged forty-five-degree angle, then this may be a sign of something more serious. Horizontal or jagged forty-five degree angled cracks may indicate underlying structural damage, such as serious movement in the foundations of the building or water damage.