The best laid plans...

I decided to build the interior wall that will separate the kitchen and bathroom. I really want to get the one-piece tub and shower unit permanently installed and out of the way. Measuring from the sub-floor to the ceiling along the exterior walls gave me the height of the interior wall. Since I had no plans to replace the ceiling, I built the wall 1-1/2” short so a second top plate could be slid into place once the wall was erected. After the wall was assembled, squared and braced, I erected it. That’s when the problem was discovered. While it wasn’t obvious at first, the ceiling was actually sagging in the center of the home. I measured down from the ceiling 12” at each exterior wall then ran a mason line between the points. Using a line level and measuring tape I discovered the ceiling was down about 1-1/2” in the center. This was not good news.

Forcing the ceiling back into position was not an option for fear of further damage to the surrounding ceiling panels and roof trusses. The only other option was to remove the ceiling in the affected area. Using a razor knife, I first cut along the seams where I wanted the ceiling to remain. Using my 16” flat bar, I pulled down the ceiling over the sagging area. Demolition took a total of 20 minutes. The existing panels are ½” thick, so I plan to use ½” drywall as a replacement.

Inspection of the failed area revealed a broken top chord in one of the trusses. There was no water damage or rot. It appears the truss members simply twisted so much the top chord failed.

I managed to re-align the broken ends and secured the truss by sandwiching it between two pieces of ¾” OSB. I used 2” drywall screws as fasteners.

Of course, this repair leads to additional cost. As you can see, the ceiling insulation is nothing more than R-11. Over the years, the insulation has compressed down to about 1-1/2” thick, severely reducing the R-value even further. We decided this is completely unacceptable. Before replacing the ceiling with drywall, we will rent a blower and install cellulose above the ceiling. A few carefully placed access holes cut into the remainder of the ceiling will allow me blow insulation over the entire home. Since we would like to install ceiling fans in the living room and front bedroom, the access holes will be cut in such a way that will allow additional bracing to be installed at that time, to support the fans.

Normally I would be a little concerned about using ½” drywall over 2x2 trusses on 16” centers, but in this case, the bathroom ceiling will have additional support provided by another wall running perpendicular to the new wall shown in the picture, separating the bath from the hall. That will provide ample support for the trusses. In addition, several strategically placed fillers will prevent the drywall from becoming wavy in the future. I’ll cover that in another posting.