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How to install a plasterboard ceiling

When researching how to install a plasterboard ceiling, it can be very intimidating!  However, with careful planning, you can complete your new ceiling in no time. This involves gathering the necessary supplies for the job and following the steps below. 

Supplies required

desk with tools required for renovations

It is crucial to use high-quality plasterboard for any home construction project. This will ensure that the ceiling installation looks clean and professional. You will need the following tools and materials:

  • Plasterboard panels, sufficient to cover the width and length of your ceiling.
  • Measuring tape.
  • Power drill.
  • Drill with the appropriate bit for your screws.
  • Utility knife, to cut the plasterboard to size.
  • Spirit level, to ensure your walls and metal profiles are even.
  • Metal profiles and fittings.
  • Pencil and chalk.

Now that you’ve gathered your supplies, you’ll need to set up your workspace. Your space should be cleaned before starting. You’ll need to walk around the entire room unobstructed and with complete access to the ceiling.

Steps to install a plasterboard ceiling

Installing a plasterboard ceiling can easily be done in the following seven steps: 

  1. Measure your ceiling. Mark a point on the wall with the tape measure that is at least 10 cm below the current roof or 210 cm above the floor level. Make a mark in each corner of the room and, using the pencil or chalk, draw a straight line connecting all of the marks. Check that these lines are absolutely level with a spirit level.
Man measuring a wall
  1. Each metal edge profile should be cut to the same length as the walls to which it will be attached. Tin snips can quickly cut through the metal; otherwise, a circular cutting disk will suffice. Using the screws, secure the edge profiles to the wall. Check that the bottom of the profile is parallel to the pencil line on the wall.
  1. The primary channel profiles’ positions will then be marked. These primary channels should be mounted at the same width as the plasterboard wall (usually 1200 mm). Mark 1200 mm across from the wall and make a mark. Repeat on the opposite wall, joining the two marks with a chalk line. This should be done between two opposing walls in the room.
  1. After measuring the length of the plasterboard panels, render marks on the two remaining walls in the room at the same distance as the panels’ length. With a chalk line, connect these new marks. This will create a grid of the space, with the hanging metal angles positioned where the lines intersect. Trim the metal angles to the proper length.
  1. The length of the metal angles should be equal to the distance between the current roof and the edge channels. Create an incision along one side of the metal angle with the tin snips and fold in both ends. This will result in a squared-off end. Drill a hole through the two folded metal parts to allow the metal angle to be screwed into the existing roof.
Drill going into a metal frame on the side f a wall
  1. Install the primary channel profiles all the way across the space. Cut them to fit – they should be 3 mm to 5 mm shorter than the length of the space, allowing them to slip easily into position. Position them on top of the edge profiles, forming a C-shape. Connect them with the metal angles that are hanging from the ceiling. To connect them all, screw through the metal angle and the primary tube.
  1. Ceiling channels should be cut to the appropriate length and mounted at right angles to the primary channels to create a grid around the ceiling. After positioning the ceiling channel within the angle profiles, connect it to the primary channels with connecting clips or channel intersect connectors.

Now, you may insulate the space above the plasterboard panels or leave it open, depending on the climate in your area. Screw the plasterboard panels into the metal channels and edge profiles while holding them up against the metal grid. Screws should be spaced about 150 mm apart across the room’s perimeter and every 230 mm along with the metal profiles. At the end of the room, you may need to cut some plasterboard to size. 

Once the plasterboard ceiling is complete, you may want to look at how to finish it off with plaster and paint to give the surface a smooth texture. A plasterboard ceiling can completely change the appearance of a space. You will not be looking at a worn-out surface with visible damage. The ceiling will look amazing for years to come thanks to this affordable construction material.

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Written by Kate Hawthorne

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