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My laundry room ceiling had to have a large section of its 1/2" drywall ceiling removed and replaced a few years back after a copper water pipe had a leak. The replacement was fully taped but was never fully finished to match the rest of the ceiling which has a painted knock-down texture on it.

Now in the current lock down situation it has become a project to complete the restoration of the ceiling and do some other upgrades in this room. I would like to install a full layer of 1/4" drywall on the ceiling to provide a nice consistent surface to paint. Having never used this thin material before I am wondering how well it works to use drywall screws to attach the 1/4" material on top of the existing 1/2" material.

Does it take special care to prevent the screws from going right through?

Does 1/4" drywall on a ceiling stay flat or do I have to worry about it sagging?

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Have you ever tried to install the terrible interior doors Menards sells with the MDF casing? (yea we ordered 3 on sale not understanding the casing was made out of a thick cooked noodle - if the doors were a circle this would be a great idea)

I am asking because if you use the 1/4" drywall to go over a ceiling the MDF door is the only way you can easily up your installation frustration.

I have done two rooms in my life using 1/4" over existing drywall. One was after removal of popcorn ceiling the other was a bedroom that had severe water staining but existing drywall still in good condition. Will never do it again.

About 1/4":

  • 1/4" will sag even with screwing on 16" OC. You will have to use a normal screwing schedule but you will go through about a tube of adhesive per board. The glue will keep it from sagging given flat surface.
  • As for screwing you have to get really good at evening up your screws to edge and then you go back in later to pop them all in slightly on low speed.
  • If inspected some cities will not pass 1/4" over existing.
  • It really is the equivalent of the MDF casing. You will be installing wet noodles on your ceiling. You MUST have a good helper to hold the other side of the noodle while popping the first few screws. I can put a 4x10 5/8" sheet myself easily (not fast but easy). I am pretty sure I would break a 1/4" sheet by myself.
  • Due to the flexible properties of the drywall it may not flatten out when going from smooth to texture.

I think you understand the other parts - the longer screws, you aren't floating your edges here, and stuff like that.

My recommendation (unless you just want a way to spend this house time) would be to skim coat the whole ceiling. Scrape off as much texture as you can and just skim everything. It sure seems like a PITA but it is 1/4th the work you are looking at.

If you aren't good with skim coating a little secret is you just do the best you can - get it at 90%. Put a coat of primer on it. This will seal things up. Then you fill in the imperfections and it is really easy to fill/sand these because the primer provides a harder surface to lay against.

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  • I took your advice and decided to do the skim coat over the knock-down texturing. After applying a first layer of the drywall compound it is clear that a second application will be necessary. Before the second layer I will use my 6" tool blade to even out some minor bumps and ridges from the first application. The knock-down texturing was actually quite thick in some areas and I see that the first layer has dimpled after drying where the thicker skim coating was filling deeper depressions. Even after spending a couple of hours working overhead on a stool - still better than new 1/4" drywall. – Michael Karas Apr 12 at 12:53
  • I would get an 18" or 24" inch blade to add the last coat or two on. And I should have probably clarified that a skim coat is 2-3 layers. And I highly suggest you use my primer cheat. If you aren't used to doing this you will have edges and bubbles pretty much everywhere - and trying to perfect these only seeing the sanded mud is useless. Basically the sanded mud fills gaps until you prime and in a room that size you will uncover 10-20 potmarks. – DMoore Apr 12 at 18:03
  • On another note the guys that do this for me are really really good. They mix 50/50 bucket with 90min powder and add water and little dish soap - and mix the hell out of it. They then let it sit for about 20 mins and then start. It is way less thick than normal - to the point i don't even think I could use it. They cake it on and then go over the area with a very large knife. A good portion of the mud hits the floor. They do a second coat about 4 days later and then touch up while priming with 20 min set. (painters tape spots) – DMoore Apr 12 at 18:29
  • As a follow up here. I ended up applying a second coat of the skim coat after using a knife to take down any ridges or rough spots. The mud i used was straight out of a bucket of pre-mix taping mud. After that was dry I did a second pass with the knife to take down high spots and ridges. Some of this was done with a very sharp 2.5" spackle knife at about an 80 degree angle to the ceiling. Followed this up with a heavy rolled on coat of Zinser primer. I did a little drywall mud touchup after the primer and then another coat of the primer. The ceiling is now (continued) – Michael Karas Apr 25 at 6:58
  • (contined from above) beautifully flat and ready for final painting. I expect to use one of the very fuzzy paint rollers to get some texture to the applied paint. All this was achieved with zero sanding and absolutely minimal dust. Quite happy with the result so far. The room ceiling is small enough that the fact that it does not have knock down like the rest of the house is of just fine in my book. – Michael Karas Apr 25 at 7:03

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