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a quarter of my children's bedroom ceiling fell down in the night

(13 Posts)
nightmareneighbour Sun 19-Jul-20 20:59:38

My children share a fairly large room. I'm pretty sure we had the ceiling done only a few years ago. There were absolutely no bulges or any sign of trouble.
Last night around dawn there was a terrible crash. A third of the ceiling simply fell down DS1 says he heard it splitting off and hanging (he had no idea what the noise was) and then it fell.
I hope you can see from the picture that it is a really big area and that the ceiling around it appears to be in good condition.

The only think I can think is that a few weeks ago we were moving a beam two floors down and this made the whole house shake and vibrate. Do you think that might have been it? That is loosened it along some fault line?

We do have an apartment above it owned by a nightmare neighbour (hence the username) but the plaster isn't damp so I can't reallythink it's anything he's done.

They won't be sleeping in there tonight!

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nightmareneighbour Sun 19-Jul-20 21:04:03

bump as it's so busy!

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BlackeyedSusan Sun 19-Jul-20 21:36:08

Bloody hell, I bet that was a shock.

Ohsuchaperfectday Sun 19-Jul-20 21:37:22

Bumping for you op..

cabbageking Sun 19-Jul-20 22:00:01

Has it been skimmed over when it Perhaps needed replastering??

SweetPetrichor Sun 19-Jul-20 22:10:57

It's hard to tell much other than size from the picture but assuming it is not damp or anything like that, I'd say the movement caused by moving the beam cause it. Without know the detail of what you did downstairs, I can't say why. If you removed a beam to open up a space, it will have cause minor changes in load paths and increased deflections, even temporarily. The plaster ceiling is brittle and if there was changes to the structures/significant vibration, that could easily have caused cracking and it then gave way under its own weight.
As long as there's no damp, I'd just get the ceiling redone and that should be an end to it.
Disclaimer: I am a structural engineer, but these are just my assumptions based on the information given - if you're concerned, definitely get someone in to take a look.

nightmareneighbour Sun 19-Jul-20 23:11:28

thank you so much. The builder is coming back tomorrow so obviously I’ll show him. I know that he has a relationship with a structural engineer so I’ll ask him to check in with that guy. My concern now is whether other ceilings might also fall down.

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Bunnybigears Sun 19-Jul-20 23:14:44

That looks more like the plaster has come off rather than the ceiling having fallen down that would usually include the wood and you would be left with a hole. The vibrations probably loosened it.

CountFosco Sun 19-Jul-20 23:15:43

My PILs sitting room ceiling did similar, it looked like it had previously been patched with modern plaster (old house) and that's what finally broke away, it must have been patched a long time before though.

Girlswithflowers Sun 19-Jul-20 23:17:50

You need assurance - structural calculations ideally- that the house is structurally sound.

Randomnessembraced Sun 19-Jul-20 23:23:24

Looks like an original lathe and plaster ceiling to me and they can suddenly fail as in the plaster breaks from the lathes. Happened in our Victorian house in a living room. It worried me so much I had all the bedroom ones replaced shortly after. It is an incredibly messy job to take them down - that is why people often leave them and skim over or plaster board over but we took them down and put a double layer of soundproof plasterboard up to keep the mouldings at the end of the rooms.

Randomnessembraced Sun 19-Jul-20 23:28:39

What I can’t tell from your photo is what fell down- was it thin plasterboard or heavy original type lime plaster? In our case all the original heavy type plaster was still up in all the bedrooms and I didn’t want the risk of that falling on a child’s head at night. Interestingly when I subsequently reread the original survey of our house it was in there that these original ceilings can suddenly fail. If what you have is just plasterboard fixed onto original lathes there is no need to worry.

nightmareneighbour Mon 20-Jul-20 10:00:46

thank you so much for the replies.

The builder has come over and has confirmed that what has fallen was heavy original type lime plaster.

He proposes overboarding - he says that is the best way to preserve the moulding.

he says there is no need to get rid of the rest of the original heavy plaster as the overboarding will screw firmly into the joists which should be fine.

I think it was the work we did in the basement that did it. The beam we moved was not one of the big structure beams holding up the house it was "only"(!) holding up the staircase above. But the whole structure of the house was vibrating for hours whilst we were drilling into the main stone.

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