After we made the decision we would remove the ceiling and start afresh, I made a small hole to investigate what lies beneath the plaster. I had a small suspicion that the current ceiling was the original lath and plaster type, and my suspicion was correct! Lath and plaster is a technique used prior to the 1930s (or so my research tells me), which means this ceiling is over 80 years old! Craaazy. This technique was used before the invention of plasterboard; instead of plasterboard, small bits of wood (laths) were nailed onto the joists before lime plaster was applied over the top. Part 1 of this removal, is removing the actual plaster itself.
I researched online first (as always) and the consensus was that you should not remove this ceiling unless absolutely necessary. Patch if you can, repair if you will, removing should be an absolute last resort. Why?Because removing this type of ceiling is singe-handedly quite possibly the messiest DIY job imaginable. Or so I read. Well, they weren't far wrong!!
If you think my camera is just out of focus here, or that the image is blurry, how very wrong you are - this is the dust smoke that comes along with this particular job.
Goggles and face masks are an absolute essential! I'm sure we all value our eyes and lungs, so please don't even attempt to remove without either of these. We use disposable masks, which only cost a pound or so from Screwfix, however, I'm very very tempted to invest in some long-term face masks. Partly because we have so much dusty work to do throughout the whole house, but also because disposable masks just seem so flimsy in the way they fit. I almost always get dusk-leakage into the mask.. usually through the nose-area where you just bend it to shape. It bugs me. This mask used to be white... and that hoodie's actually green. Imagine all that in your lungs, eurgh!
Back to the ceiling - I'd seen lots of videos online with people using shovels to break off the plaster from the laths and push it down. We don't have a shovel, so we used hammers and used a technique of just hitting the hell out of it. It worked pretty well, because the ceiling is pretty much almost plaster-free now. It took a couple of hours between the two of us and by the end we were very much aching all over... particularly in the right arm. Definitely a job building up those muscles! ;) Ha.
Here's our progress after the plaster removal...