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Removing spot lights - how to fix the ceiling

(14 Posts)
ftm123 Fri 08-Apr-16 10:26:53

Hi, looking for some advice.

We have just had excessive and badly fitted spot lights removed from some of the ceilings in our house (and replaced with pendant lighting). This has left us with holes in the ceiling which we need to fix.

Options that have been suggested include
a) patching just the holes - we are discounting this as we are told it will still show
b) patching the holes and skimming the ceiling
c) fixing a new ceiling

Anyone have any views on what the best option is, and what the drawback are? (disruption, mess, cost - East London)
Also how much should we be paying for a 4m by 4m room?

I have a quote from plasterer, but am getting cold feet about the chaos that will be created!

Thanks for any input

wonkylegs Fri 08-Apr-16 10:31:18

Patching and skimming should be fine unless the ceiling is in particularly poor condition. We did this in our kitchen and bathroom when we took out a wall and some spot lights as part of our refurbishment, both look fine now.

wonkylegs Fri 08-Apr-16 10:32:04

Can't help with costs sorry as they were done as part of a larger bit of work.

ftm123 Mon 11-Apr-16 17:08:32

Thanks Wonky. Glad to hear someone else has done this.

MiaowTheCat Tue 12-Apr-16 16:53:28

Just had our old strip light replaced by spot lights in the kitchen - we went for the plasterboarding over and reskimming approach (based primarily on the fact I was prepared to go to stupid lengths to avoid having to strip woodchip off the kitchen ceiling).

Was done as part of a bigger chunk of work (we had one ceiling boarded and skimmed, a wall that had been knocked down boarded and skimmed, the wall bit of a conservatory skimmed and the odd ceiling hole fixed and skimmed as a whole chunk of work - £400 but in the Midlands not in London. Mess was bloody awful but an easy clean up at least in terms of plaster dust that just gets everywhere - it's killed my hoover though!

engineersthumb Thu 14-Apr-16 05:43:44

I would suggest that you could patch the ceiling and make good without it showing. I patched a 600x900 opening in the ceiling and you really can't see it.
I would slip a patch on the inside of the ceiling. The easiest way in this case is to cut the patch into two sections such that it passes through the hole or place a single patch with a couple 2mm gap either side. Either glue in place or screw in place. In 2-3 layers pack the hole with bonding or multi finish plaster, ensuring that each layer doesn't dry out too quickly. Leave a couple of mm empty and then skim this with jointing compound. Jointing compound is really easy to sand off and if needed you can fill several times untill all traces are gone. Repaint the whole ceiling rather than just the patched areas.
As an additional step you could try scraping the plaster away around the holes and adding scrim tape over the join before filling with jointing compound but it's probably not necessary.
For jointing compound try wikes "fast set" it's cheap and quite good.

minipie Thu 14-Apr-16 11:36:00

New ceiling will cost a fortune and be very very messy.

Patching without skimming will show.

So patching and skimming is the only option really. It's a fiddly and time consuming job as someone needs to cut out a whole bunch of circles of plasterboard to fit the holes and then carefully bond them to the rest of the ceiling as engineer describes. Has to be done carefully as if the bonding shrinks the circle will show and may even fall out (especially if you have people walking around on the floor above). Won't cause chaos though, just means someone up a ladder in your house for a long time!

We've left the bazillion spotlights the previous owner put in our kitchen for this reason...

engineersthumb Thu 14-Apr-16 12:23:37

I probably wouldn't cut disks out. I'd just slip a patch on the back of the board pack out with bonding/plaster and finish with jointing compound. I don't think it will crack up given the relative size of the holes.

minipie Thu 14-Apr-16 12:37:15

fair enough, I think our ceiling is particularly difficult as it's lath and plaster (victorian house) and the spotlights are the old skool ones (from before haolgens) so they are massive.

sorenipples Sat 08-Jul-17 09:05:25

A rather late update to this thread. The patch and skim option worked well.

We got the lights replaced shortly after this thread, but only over a year later have we actually had any ceilings painted. We could still see the outline of the holes through the raw plaster, but now it is painted over they have gone.

One concern I have is any impact this has on fire rating. I didn't consider this in the time, so would suggest anyone else considering similar work gets advice on it.

DancingLedge Sat 08-Jul-17 09:32:11

Glad it worked.

What do you mean about the fire rating? What fire rating?

sorenipples Sat 08-Jul-17 09:58:22

I read somewhere that ceilings should be 30 min fire rated and some older spotlights like ours did not maintain that fire rating so present a health and safety risk. I am not sure what the fire resistance of a repaired ceiling is .

PigletJohn Sat 08-Jul-17 10:41:24

plaster and plasterboard are fire resistant, which is good. Cutting holes in ceilings allows smoke and heat to get into the upstairs rooms and the wooden floor or roof which is bad.

If you can get access from above, I think you will make a more fire-resistant patch by fitting a slab of plasterboard over the hole, then patching and skimming from below. It may be possible to feed a shaped patch of plasterboard through the hole from underneath so it blocks the hole.

Filling the hole with filler or thin wood will not be fire resisting.

I am not keen on holes in ceilings. In some cases smoke hoods or fire resistant boxes can be fitted over downlighters from above.

PigletJohn Sat 08-Jul-17 10:44:00

btw if you are ever having any plaster repairs, hide your hoover for the duration and buy a builders canister vacuum.

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