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Lathe and plaster ceilings, to remove or repair?

When lathe and plaster ceilings start to become unstable, they will shed pieces of plaster and the worrying thing is they could land on someone’s head causing injury so when this begins to happen, what is the answer?  No it is not to wear a hard hat or replace the ceiling with plasterboard.  Agreed plasterboard is a stable product and once up can be forgotten unless there is a flood above but plasterboard, even high density acoustic plasterboard, is not as acoustically efficient as lathe and plaster.  So if you wish to reduce noise nuisance from above or if you want to avoid the dust and mess that removal of lathe and plaster ceilings entail, read on.  Lathe and plaster ceilings and stud walls are usually constructed with thin timber lathes nailed to the underside of ceiling joists or frame of stud walls then rendered with a dense plaster that is skim coated and decorated to suit.  This system creates a dense layer that is far more efficient at blocking noise than plasterboard even if a double thickness is installed and decoupled with resilient bars.  What do we do instead I hear you ask?  Well if the ceiling has started to shed plaster the first thing to do is effect a repair.  If the ceiling is still sound then in both cases carry out the following which is simple, cheap and not nearly as messy.  Screw a layer of 15mm Acoustic Plasterboard over the top of the existing ceiling/wall ensuring the screws fix into the joists or stud frame.  Alternatively, if preferred, use a fireline board instead.  Fireline boards are usually very dense as well and have the added advantage of being more fire resistant that plasterboard so if budget allows, use fireline board then skim and finish.  If extra soundproofing is required, sandwich our SoundBlocker Membrane between the existing ceiling and the new board or if it is a wall, use our SBM5 soundproofing mat instead.  For more information on soundproofing a ceiling or a wall.