Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Greetings from Plaster Man

Plaster Man here, Contributing Editor & Columnist for Walls & Ceilings magazine.
Just wanted to check in and say hello. I occasionally work on radiant heat ceilings and have been battling of late with insurance companies because most do not cover the repairs that must be done occasionally to these types of ceilings. The last repair I had to jack up the ceiling, as the nails had failed to hold it up any longer after 16 years. 1 1/4" nails were used. The insurance company finally made the judgment on the case: "Faulty workmanship"...!! What??!!!! After 16 years??? They prevailed and I've been fuming about it ever since.

The problem is that here in the midwest a LOT of these ceilings were put up, and I'm getting more and more calls from homeowners on this type of claim. Have any of you been involved in such a project? What are your thoughts on this type of ceiling? I'm talking about a ceiling with small thin wires that were stapled onto the board face and then plastered over. It seems the problem might lie in the heating and cooling of the board...? The nails finally lose their grip and the ceiling starts slumping and then completely fails. It does not appear to be water related.

Any thoughts would be appreciated on this. Thanks!


  • don_9
    don_9 Member Posts: 395
    Insurance company

    Will say almost anything to keep from paying out a claim,
    They make the rules and we have no say.But they do have a point,My brother is a drywall contactor he quit useing nails along time ago,nothing but screws now days just for the reason you have stated.expansion and contraction does plays a role,But age also is a factor,my stomach muscle no
    longer support my beer belly like it use to either.Hope this helps.
  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928

    Is there any delamination between the plaster layers? the plaster and the board? I've been told this is a certain sign of poor materials/poor workmanship.

    Is this the perforated backing board that gets a brown and finish coat? I regularly notice this type sagging between joists making the ceiling look like a bunch of parallel railroad tracks. Rarely though do I see it falling except from obvious water damage. Perhaps the heat makes the nails expand/contract more than normal thus loosening themselves. In this case, I'd have to agree with the insurance company that it is a design flaw. Weren't drywall screws in common use 16 years ago?

    Any common threads like barely adequate joist depth; same company doing the work; poor quality wood (as I recall it was especially lousy around 20 years ago); corrosion of the nails; lack of attic ventilation; inadequate insulation? Again, I'd have to side with the insurance company as inferior material/construction.

    Most insurance policies I've read specifically exclude claims for things that occur slowly and gradually over time.

    I'd certainly suspect the heating system as a contributing factor if otherwise idential ceilings show no signs of the same problem.

    If you could somehow prove that an especially cold winter caused the ceiling to loosen suddenly you might have a persuasive argument, but the insurance company would probably counter that the heating design was inadequate to the climate.

    Good luck.

  • Mark Eatherton1
    Mark Eatherton1 Member Posts: 2,542

    NEVER sleeps...

    Shoulda done radiant walls.

    Can you screw the panels back up and cover with sheet rock?

    If the circuts haven't been voided, you can find them with infra red (and avoid) and know exactly where you CAN put a fastener.

    I've seen copper and lath and plaster ceiling that are 70 years old and still going strong.

    I saw one the other day where the guy (a plumber) had run 1/2" copper pipe on the attic side of the ceiling, then he laid sheets of heavy alluminum foil on top of the pipes and then put fiberglass insulation on top of that. HO said it worked just great. Guess I'll find out, we've inhereted it.

    Good Luck and Welcome to the Wall Plaster Man!


    To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
  • Floyd
    Floyd Member Posts: 429

    you spun that pic 1/4 turn too far!!!!
    Think it will leak if you back it up 1/4 turn???? :-)
This discussion has been closed.