plaster and lathe ceiling - old house

 
andreea27 Previous Paid Member
hi everyone!! I just bought my first home pole after wanting one for almost a year. Just before it got here I texted my landlord to double check if it would be safe and she said she is worried about potential ceiling or floor damage. I live in an old wooden house built in 1910 in Berkeley, so I understand her concerns, although she said the ceiling is plaster and lathe which seems like a pretty common type of ceiling that people have installed poles on. I don't want to do anything unsafe, but I am wondering if anyone else has experience installing a pole in a house like this?

In the likely case that I can't install my pole safely, I was wondering if anyone has any ideas about how I could build a base for it and turn it into a freestanding pole? I am a college student and can't afford to buy a stage pole and I haven't had any luck finding a used one.

Please let me know if you have any advice for me, and thank you for your help!
Sep 12, 2020
Veena
I can't speak for your ceiling for sure but I lived in an old home with plaster and lathe and it was actually very strong! Because of how it was put together there was lots of support and I don't have to worry about finding joists. At least the way our was done. You won't hurt the floor with the pole as long as they are in good shape, like not sagging or rotted. Removable poles all have silicone on the bottom to protect and prevent slipping. It's hard to say without seeing it or feeling it...
Sep 12, 2020
andreea27 Previous Paid Member
I don't know how much this helps, but here is a picture of the ceiling. as you can see there are already some suspicious creases that are pretty evenly spaced, which makes me believe they are aligned with the joists in the ceiling.
Sep 12, 2020
Veena
Here's what I found....


"A sagging ceiling does not necessarily mean that the plasterwork has broken away from the lath though. Old houses settle and the ceilings go along for the ride. So, if your ceiling is sagging or sloping, it may still be OK.

In any sagging areas where you suspect that the plaster has separated from the lath, stand underneath and gently push upwards with the palm of your hands. A little give is normal but if you feel the plaster move up and down, this means that it is not attached to the laths. Dust and debris may fall from cracks as you do this.

NOTE: Don’t go crazy here, if you push and shove a really bad ceiling hard a few times, you might end up ‘wearing’ it! Go gently 😕


lath and plaster and how it fails
Lath and plaster and how it usually fails

When a ceiling fails completely the lime mortar or plasterwork separates from the laths and drops down. Effectively this means that the plasterwork is hanging underneath the laths, virtually unsupported. Sometimes it is only the horse hair strands in the mortar that is holding up the plasterwork! This rarely happens over the entire area though. Some areas may be perfectly fine."

Also, there are joists, but you won't be able to use a stud finder or knock method to find them because there's all the other wood lathe. This makes it great for putting up a pole because there's lots of support, unlike sheet rock that only has joists/studs. The trick is to know about where the joists would be and if the ceilings are good. 🙂
Sep 12, 2020
Veena
This is most likely what it looks like.
Sep 12, 2020
andreea27 Previous Paid Member
Thank you so much!! This was extremely helpful. I think what I will end up doing is hiring someone to come check out the ceiling and install it safely for me, since my landlord won't help :)
Sep 13, 2020
 
Sunshine Goddess
I love the website! Thank you for all the knowledge, time and energy you put in making poling more accessible and easy to learn!
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