What to do with that old ceiling when you are renovating

Jun 2, 2023

When renovating a home, you’ll want your ceiling to be on par with the rest of your newly renovated interior. Being an important element of light and space, your ceiling doesn’t necessarily need a ton of work to be up to scratch, it may just need a fresh coat of paint or a few panels replaced, depending on the condition and the caliber of renovation you’re undertaking. This article explores what you can do with an old ceiling when renovating your home, from building a new, suspended ceiling to hide a popcorn or dated ceiling, replacing damaged sections of the ceiling, installing timber ceiling skirtings or planks over your existing ceiling, adding wallpaper, or a fresh coat of paint to name a few of the options are your disposal. 

Replacing old plasterboard with new

Sagging ceilings or cracked ceilings are a common sight in older homes when there has been significant movement in foundations and water damage. There is the possibility that you don’t need to replace the entire plasterboard ceiling, but rather you can opt to replace only the affected sections to repair the ceiling. This may or may not be financially viable, depending on the extent of the damage. Speak to a plasterer during your onsite quote to discuss what your options are and what they recommend.

Installing a dropped ceiling

When renovating your home, you may want to consider installing new ceiling over an old ceiling. Suspended ceilings are commonly used to disguise or get rid of an asbestos ceiling. This will give you a smooth surface and allow you to cut holes and run new electrical wires or pipework. This article explains more about how downlights and dropped ceilings work together.  

Dropped ceilings require specialist knowledge in how to safely construct them, you need to hire a plasterer that is experienced and licensed. 

Install timber ceiling skirtings over the ceiling

If you have an old ceiling that is structurally sound, but you want a different aesthetic, you could install surface planks over the existing ceiling, especially if you are going for a heritage look. Wooden planks are versatile as you can purchase them in wider varieties or more narrow ones, longer or short, and of course, you can paint them to suit your interior. Unlike drywall, timber planks have tongues and grooves, which make installation much easier and ensure a clean, secure design. These planks also give a more rustic look to the room. 

Expose your high ceiling 

Properties with high-pitched roofs present homeowners with yet another option for their ceilings. In these scenarios, there may be the option to remove the plasterboard ceiling thereby exposing the roof cavity and making it a feature of the house. Exposed beams are popular in industrial or rustic type of properties, especially in cafes across Sydney. Exposed beams look best in rooms with high ceilings, they can be left as timber, stained, or painted to suit the rest of your home. 

A fresh coat of paint does wonders

Ceilings are often forgotten when renovating a home. While they’re not the first thing that comes to mind, ceilings deserve as much attention as walls because of the aesthetic impact they have. A newly painted, light-colored ceiling can help open up a large living area, while a dark-colored or old ceiling paint will make a room seem smaller and darker. 

When painting old ceilings for renovation, it’s important to take care of any damage to the surface prior to painting, this may involve getting a plasterer involved to replace sections of the damaged ceiling. If there’s any mildew growth on the ceiling, it may be a sign of a leaking roof, which needs to be addressed before any work is done inside, otherwise, the problem will just reoccur and you will be out of pocket. If you have a ceiling that is in good condition and just needs a little paint, you’ll be surprised to see the difference that it makes in the feeling of your home.

Wallpapering a ceiling

A modern trend that we see gaining traction is to add wallpaper to the ceiling in the desired colour and pattern. Every colour and pattern you could imagine is at your disposal with this option. If you want to add a new look to your space, you can wallpaper the ceiling. A smooth surface is essential for a good outcome with applying wallpaper to any surface whether it be a wall or the ceiling. Some interior designers use wallpapered ceilings as a design focal feature in a house, usually in one or two rooms rather than the entire house. 


If you are renovating your house and have an old ceiling, you’ll want to do something with it to elevate it to the aesthetics of the rest of your renovated house. In this article we looked at your options including replacing the ceiling if it is in bad shape, constructing a dropped ceiling, installing surface planks, exposing your beams and high ceiling all together, a fresh coat of paint or wallpapering your ceiling. You can do some of these options yourself, otherwise, when in doubt, contact your local professional tradie for solutions that will work along for your home.

Paul the gyprocking plasterer providing professional residential plastering in the Sydney region

Paul's Plastering

Welcome to the blog section of the Paul’s Plastering website. Here you’ll find helpful tips and tricks for your renovations and of course expert plastering insights. If you’re based in Sydney then I can help you with your plastering needs. Simply give me a call today or submit an online quote request form today.

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