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The Boston Globe


Handyman on call

To fix crumbling plaster ceiling, tear it down

Q. I’d appreciate your guidance with regard to the need to repair/replace a plaster ceiling in a bedroom in a 1910 house. A big chunk of the ceiling fell down and there are cracks in the rest of the ceiling as well. There had been a radiator leak from the room above, which weakened that area in particular, but the rest of the ceiling has lots of cracks from age.

 A plasterer told me that it is best to put a new ceiling over the old. If the work is done that way, he said that about 1/8 inch of the wood ceiling trim would be covered. He said that if he tried to remove the trim (to put it back up later) the wood would most likely break. Would you agree with the way he suggested doing the work? [Later, Jane said the man would charge $400 for a Blueboard and skimcoat on the old ceiling.]

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