HOME/DiY: patching a hole in the kitchen ceiling

As so often, I didn’t think to take any photos when I started this job. And consequently I have no record of the hardest and most time consuming parts of my labours. This whole sorry scenario has come about because I’m determined to add a utensil hanging rack to our kitchen ceiling, over the sink/window area.

In a bigger kitchen that might not be the place for it. But our kitchen is appallingly tiny, and, frankly, totally unworkable. And consequently that’s the only area it can go. By way of illustration of our situation, due to the lack of space we have our fridge and freezer in the lounge… fer chrissakes!

Anyway, I made a wooden hanging rack a few days back. And then I started in on attaching anchor points in the ceiling. The first two appeared to take fast. Although whether they’ll hold in the long term I don’t know. I’m not confident!

The second two were patently not holding at all. Just applying slight downward stress on the wall-plugs via the eye-hooks pulled them straight both out. So I had to investigate the sub-strata. Most of our home has hideously textured artex ceiling (and even walls… aaargh! ). In some such areas I’ve struggled to remove this execrable stuff with Ex-Tex. Never again!

The artex is on plasterboards. And in the kitchen, in turns out that beneath that – or rather above, in the reverse stratification of ceilings – is old fashioned (Victorian, perhaps, like the building itself?) lath and plaster.

To get sufficient purchase or anchorage in the intended spots, I needed to create a hole in the artex/plaster/lath large enough for me to reach two rafters, and to work in. And then I’d need to attach wooden boards or beams between said very old and very solid – at last something substantial – rafters. Once this was done – oh so much easier said than done (working in a confined space, and worse yet up a ladder in the ceiling space, wasn’t easy!) – I’d have to build back and re-plaster.

We’d love to get someone in to professionally skim all the artex surfaces. But I very much suspect that that’s well beyond our current fiscal reach. I’m trying to get a plasterer over to quote on the job. But it seems they’re so busy they don’t even feel the need to respond to our enquiries!

I initially tried scavenging some plasterboard at the so called local ‘recycling centre’, aka, the dump. But they wouldn’t let me have any. I only needed a tiny bit. But nope, no can do. Pathetic! So next I drove around town looking for skips, with bits of plasterboard in them. But no dice. So I just wound up screwing a piece of chipboard to the two lateral beams or batons that I’d screwed between the rafters.

And only at this point did I start taking a few photos. Aren’t they something. The excitement! The drama! The sheer aesthetic delights! Well, anyway, I added a bit of chicken wire to the chipboard, attaching that with a staple-gun. This would give the filler something to grab hold of in addition to the surface of the chipboard itself.

After a first thick slathering coat of said filler, I took a break. Intended to be a short lunch break, I wound up dozing off to the doings of Andrew Camarata, as he destroyed and removed a load of crap from a client’s property.

This longer than expected break was actually good, as it meant that I returned to the plaster several hours later, to add a second and hopefully final layer. Obviously, thanks to the thickness of the first coat, I needed to wait longer than normal before applying a second.

Also, thanks to the hideous artex, there’s no chance of a clean matching finish. And that’s where I find myself now, beer in hand, writing this.

I had a little bit more filler than I really needed, so I slathered it on, slightly exceeding the area required. I did this to see whether or not I could flatten out the artex surfaces myself. Maybe then we’d not need to hire a plasterer? Truth be told, there is such an enormous acreage of the evil material in our property that a professional is definitely indicated!

I’m now left waiting for the second coat of plaster to dry, before I can sand it flat. Then the anchors for the hanging rack will need to be fitted, and the filler probably ought to be painted.

Rather annoyingly I strongly suspect that I’ll have to repeat this entire rigmarole for the first two anchor points.

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