How to Plasterboard a Ceiling – 7 Steps to Fitting a Plasterboard Ceiling

You may not consciously notice it, but your ceiling is always looking out for you! It offers a layer of sound protection, blocking the sound from different levels of your home. A ceiling also helps with insulation to make sure your room is comfortable. Plus, a smooth surface above you keeps your home looking finished and tidy. So, when you are considering renovations learning how to plasterboard a ceiling is a must!

But sometimes, it can start to look shabby. It could even show signs of damage! If you spot signs of wear or worse, it means you need more than just a fresh coat of paint. You need to install plasterboard to give your ceiling a new start. This also makes it a great opportunity to have some fun with how your ceiling looks. Shake up your home’s looks by choosing a fun paint colour or incorporating a textured finish. Plasterboard is the perfect foundation for your ideas. 

Before you travel to your nearest home supply store to get your materials, you should learn how to plasterboard your ceiling to make sure the job is done right. Once you know what to do, it can be a simple DIY project that you can tackle over a few days. When you have a brand new ceiling overhead, you’ll be glad you did!

Plasterboard Ceiling

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What is Plasterboard?

Before you learn how to plasterboard a ceiling it’s a good idea to have a solid understanding of what plasterboard is. After all, if you haven’t worked on wall or ceiling project before, you might not know what plasterboard is. It’s a preformed sheet of plaster held together between two sheets of heavy paper. This plaster is made of the same material as the plaster used on traditional plaster walls and ceilings, already dry and ready to go. It’s perfect for covering your ceiling. It reduces the muss and fuss of traditional plaster and gives you a quicker option.

It also takes a lot of the guesswork out of plastering. To plaster properly, it takes a bit of skill. With plasterboard, even an occasional DIY dabbler can get a smooth, sturdy covering for your ceiling. It will look brand new! It also takes less time to dry, which means you can finish your project much faster. This is great for the times you can’t wait for traditional lath and plaster ceilings to dry! You can start painting and finishing on a much shorter timeline. It also gives you a uniform surface that looks great with less effort.  

how to plasterboard a ceiling

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How to Plasterboard a Ceiling Step by Step

When you look up how to plasterboard a ceiling it can seem quite daunting! It could be a struggle to know where to start when you aren’t sure what you’re doing. But you can bring your project in hand with the proper preparation. This includes getting the right materials for the job and following each step through to completion. This way, you won’t get stuck with your ceiling a mess!

Materials

Make sure you collect all of the required materials before you start. This way, you can complete the project without taking a break to run out and get something you’ve forgotten! 

  • Plasterboard, enough to fit the width and length of your ceiling
  • Screws meant for plasterboard and construction adhesive for fastening
  • Drill with the appropriate bit for your screws 
  • Measuring tape
  • Level to ensure your walls are even and to alert you when they are not
  • Timber stud locator to help you figure out what’s going on underneath the ceiling surface  
  • Utility knife to cut the plasterboard to fit
  • Plasterboard tape to take care of seams
  • Plaster for finishing seams and giving you a smooth final skim coat
  • Trowels or plaster knives to help you apply plaster 
  • Sandpaper to ensure your plaster is smooth and even 
  • Primer or paint for the finishing touches 
  • Ladders or step stools to work comfortably at ceiling height
  • A friend to help you lift the plasterboard and hold it up to be fastened
  • Tip: Consider using a plasterboard lift that allows you to raise it to the right height without straining your arms. You can rent this speciality tool as it’s not something most DIYers need to purchase. 

Preparation

Now that you have your materials, you’ll need to prepare the space you’ll be working in. Your room should be cleared out, as this makes for an easier installation. You’ll need to move around the room with access to the ceiling. Since you’ll be working overhead, you’ll need the flexibility of setting up your ladder anywhere in the room you need it. Although you can work around your furniture, it will be more frustrating so we recommend an empty room. This will also be helpful when you are dealing with the mess! 

Make sure to give your ceiling an inspection for any damage or rot under the surface. This needs to be addressed before you install plasterboard. Most of the time, you can see problem areas but if you aren’t sure, you can call on a professional to do a more thorough review. 

Remove any ceiling fixtures, such as lights or ceiling fans. Crown mouldings will also need to be removed before you start, but you may be able to go over the top of existing plaster provided there is no underlying issue with your timbers. 

How to plasterboard a ceiling

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How to Fit a Plasterboard Ceiling in 7 Easy Steps

Fitting a plasterboard ceiling is a big project, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Proceed with confidence, and you’ll be admiring your handiwork before you know it.

1. Measure Your Ceiling

Start by measuring your ceiling. You’ll need to know the length and width of your room. Keep in mind that it may not be perfectly square, which could affect your measurements and how the plasterboard will fit. This will just mean more cutting, but it’s good to know where things aren’t straight before you begin! 

2. Make Any Necessary Cuts to The Plasterboard

To cut a sheet of plasterboard, first, measure the ceiling space. Then, take these measurements to your plasterboard. Measure and mark the line on the sheet. 

Score the sheet with a utility knife. Apply enough pressure to score the plaster underneath the paper cover. Then, you can fold this piece back for a clean edge. 

If you can, use the cut pieces elsewhere on your ceiling. Just remember that the more seams you have on the ceiling, the more work it will take to smooth these over with the final steps! 

3.  Remove Old Plaster

If you’re taking down the existing ceiling plaster, take care of this before bringing the plasterboard into your space. When you do, inspect your trusses and beams to ensure everything is still in good shape. This also gives you the opportunity to see your timbers and use this to guide you as you screw it securely. You can also go overtop of existing plaster. Just make sure there is no loose plaster that could compromise your new installation. No matter what you are working with, take time to mark the location of your beams to make fastening easier. 

4. Apply Construction Adhesive

Apply construction adhesive along the beams for a better fit, avoiding the edges as it could interfere with your screw placement as it shrinks as it dries. 

5. Start in a Level Corner

Start in your most level corner. If you can install a full sheet, do so. Some rooms may be too small for a full length, so move to cutting it down before you raise it up. 

6. Work Along The Outside Edges

Fasten it with a screw along the outside edges. By working on the outside edges, your plasterboard will be held to your ceiling. It won’t bend or break as you work, making installation much easier for you. 

7. Complete The Installation

Install plasterboard over your entire ceiling, then finish it by taping the seams and plastering for a smooth surface.

how to plasterboard a ceiling

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Should You Plaster Over Plasterboard Before Painting?

Thanks to plasterboard’s paper covering, it’s not required to apply a plaster coat to the entire surface to finish your ceiling. You will need to apply tape and plaster to the seams to make your ceiling a smooth, uninterrupted surface that’s ready for paint. But the majority of the plasterboard sheet is ready to go!

You can decide to apply a skim coat of plaster over the entire ceiling for a harder, more durable finish. Just keep in mind that a coat of plaster needs time to dry. This will add time to your project. You’ll need to wait for it to dry before you move onto the final step of priming and painting.

A final coat of plaster will help your ceiling last for years to come. You could even work a decorative texture pattern into your plaster for a unique decorative look. This is done with a special plaster meant for textured designs. Choose from waves, swirls, popcorn, or even rosebuds! These patterns are made using special trowels and might need a professional’s touch if you decide on a custom plaster finish. When it comes to finishing off your plasterboard ceiling, you’ll have lots of options to choose from. 

Summary

Although it may not be a quick fix, learning how to plasterboard a ceiling and then fitting a plasterboard ceiling can transform the look of a room. You won’t be looking at a run down surface that’s showing signs of damage. The new plasterboard will make your ceiling look great for years to come.  

Once you’ve put in the effort, you can be confident that your plasterboard ceiling will be durable. Finishing your ceiling will give you a definite sense of accomplishment and give your home a much-needed boost. So don’t put off the task at hand. Get started with your project and get that plasterboard up!

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