If you choose to replace your ceiling when undergoing your home renovation, you are aware that you have had to choose between a contractor that specialises in ceilings, and a carpenter, whose skills branch out to ceiling removal/replacement. Either way, you can be certain of one thing. The job is going to be messy. All and any moveable objects such as furniture and appliances will need to be moved away from the work area.

The following are some guidelines to help you prepare, save time, and money.

Preparing your walkway for access

Removing your current ceiling will be the messiest process. To better prepare for it all, you need to think about how your walkway is going to look when the contractor is frequently entering and leaving the house to fetch tools and materials, or to remove debris.

Items that you may need
– roll of cardboard
– some masking tape
– tape measure
– cutting knife
– hire a skip bin

Simply put, you will be covering up your walkway to reduce the level of mess in your hallway. To do this you will need to strategically measure the perimeters of the walkway from the front door, right down to the kitchen and lounge area. By strategically measuring, we mean, how many lengths will you need to accommodate.

For example, if the walkway from your front door to your kitchen is an L shaped walkway, you would need two lengths of cardboard appropriately sized for each turn – you’re obviously not going to be twisting the sheet of cardboard around. Once the cardboard lengths have been placed down, you secure them to the floor with masking tape; this way, the cardboard will stay in place when people walk on it, but will also be easily removed when the work is finished.

If you are hiring the contractor yourself, provide a skip bin (usually available in 2 or 4 cubic meters for small rubbish), otherwise, the renovation company you signed with will make sure one is hired for you.

Tearing up your existing ceiling

If your contractor has an apprentice with him, let them be, but if your contractor doesn’t have a pair of hands to help him, consider lending them.

Items that you may need
– work gloves
– safety goggles
– broom
– vacuum cleaner (for commercial/industrial purposes)

To save yourself time (and money), you can offer to assist your contractor by removing debris as they are pulling away the ceiling – just remember to have a pair of work gloves (for obvious reasons) and safety goggles if you are not used to flying dust.

If you have hired the contractor yourself, you may want to have a vacuum cleaner designed for commercial/industrial premises (more affordable ones may cost under $150).

Putting in the new plasterboards

Once again, be prepared to help your contractor if needed. While they will hire/have a panel lifter with them to raise the plasterboards to the ceiling, carrying the plasterboards through the house and to the work area, and then placing them on the panel lifter is quite a mission – a carpenter 6’3 tall and weighing 95 kilos would have great difficulty completing this task alone.

Items that you may need
– bucket of water
– sponge (adequate for cleaning a car)
– bucket to accommodate plastering paste.
– spare step ladder

Typically, you can use a broom to hold up the plasterboard as the contractor is drilling / stapling it in place. Once your contractor has installed the plasterboards, he will move onto the cornices. They may regularly ask you to wipe the excess paste off of their brush and into a bucket, and other times they may ask you to lightly soak the sponge and hand it to them in order to limit the amount of paste on the cornices.

All in all

Your contractor will normally have an apprentice/assistant to help them get the job done, but in the event they don’t, you need to make yourself available not just because it is the nice thing to do, but also because the work will get done quicker. Read back to preparing your walkway, if you do it yourself, your contractor can begin working on the ceiling immediately rather than charge you for the time it takes for them to prepare the walkway. Also consider how much longer it would take to install the plasterboards if they have to do it themselves.

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