Old house finished ceiling question

I was looking at a house built some time in the 1930’s. Some of the original plaster walls and ceilings had been replaced with rock. One odd thing though. The ceilings throughout the house all had this rippleing effect where the plaster is sagging between between the joists. I’m pretty sure the ceilings were plaster. What could be causing this ?



Bad nailing.
Is that a popcorn ceiling?

Bet they threw the drywall right over the old slats.

In a lot of old plastered ceilings of old homes, the plaster sometimes starts loosing it’s bond to the wood lath and starts sagging.
Always some with the bright idea to sheetrock it and use 3/8" drywall cause it is easier and light weight. When screwing to the lath, half the screws miss the lath due to the cracks inbetween and don’t hold crap. The weight of the loose plaster will make it sag.
Sheetrock ceilings over plaster on lath should have 1x3 strapping screwed to the ceiling joist and hold the drywall.
That would be my best guess to the problem. :):smiley:

The ceilings were textured (no popcorn though) in some rooms. The others were flat with varring degrees of the same type of sagging along the uniformly spaced outlines of the joists, and kinda hard to photograph. When I pushed back on the a few areas they were solid, like plaster with a layer of rock over it.

Sounds like Joices are sagging ,Can you get into attic and see if the ceiling is still attached to the Rafters … Roy

Sorry meant Joists Thanks James for the heads up… Roy

The following website has some good info on Transitional plaster ceilings.


I have seen the after effects of this type of ceiling failure. The cases I have seen or dealt with directly, were all catastrophic failures (almost no warning, and the ceiling fails).

Great Info thanks Jamie Much appreciated … Roy

How dare you talk about Joice like that!:mrgreen:

Jamie thanks. I just spoke to Philip (who got back about an hour after I called him on a saturday) and gave he gave some me some insites as whats goung on with this ceiling. I hope he keeps adding to his site. Thanks to all here you’ve helped to cofirm my thoughts on whats going on with “pillowing affect”.

John Rudy
Advantage 1 Home Inspections

10-4 Damn Dangerous…!!

I’ve seen them come down too…not exactly see them falling, but the remnants…it ain’t pretty, someone could get killed…!