Mobile homes that don’t have sheetrock ceilings often have tile or ceiling board. The ceiling tiles are generally 16″ or 4′ wide and run the width of the home. Some variations of ceiling tiles are held up with screws and rosettes. Other types of tiles/panels are screwed up at the seams and then the seams are covered with a plastic spline. Fear not, regardless of the situation you find yourself in, we have put together a handy guide to help you with your mobile home ceiling!
If the tile has become wet due to a ceiling leak and has sagged (left picture), the sag will generally not come out. Very slight sags may be corrected by wetting the tile with a spray bottle, pushing up and holding for several days. No guarantee that it will work. Below is another way to fix the sagging seam that’s pictured to the left.
A more forceful option is to push the panels up at the seams using boards. At the seams of each panel is a truss. The boards can be pulled into place using long screws. Either the ceiling panels will pull up into place or break (depending upon how deep the sag was). Of course, to make everything look symmetrical, you could add these boards to every seam in the room. Paint and stain before screwing them up. The picture to the left shows the sagging seam (pictured above) pulled and secured together with the board.
When a ceiling tile becomes damaged, replacing it can be a real headache. The first headache is finding ceiling tile to match. Many types of tile are unavailable, and if it were available installation is a real challenge due to the length. In fact, just getting a ceiling tile into a room may be challenging. So if you can’t replace the tile(s), your only option is to build a new ceiling. Three types of ceilings are commonly installed in manufactured homes – suspended, sheetrock and paneled.
Suspended ceilings are tile set in a grid work. Tile sizes are either 2’x2′ or 2’x4′. All kinds of textures are available. The suspended ceiling can be installed just below the existing ceiling. However, any of the old ceiling that is loose or hanging should be removed to prevent it from falling or pushing on the new suspended ceiling. To install, first hang your grids with wire fastened to the old ceiling then drop in the tile. There is no special instructions to installing a false ceiling. Most likely the store you buy the grid and tiles from will have details.
When installing sheetrock ceilings, weight should be a consideration. In normal construction 5/8″ thick sheetrock is hung on ceilings because it won’t sag. However, 5/8″ thick sheetrock is heavy and generally hung on joists 16 inches apart. Using ½” sheetrock would be much lighter and less apt to cause roof problems, but would require joists or supports every 12 inches.
This is accomplished by screwing furring strips (1×4 boards) across the ceiling joists 12 inches apart (left picture). The strips can be screwed over the existing ceiling assuming you have a flat surface. Or the existing ceiling can be removed, the insulation updated if desired, then the furring strips screwed up. Any dips in the furring strips can be correct by shimming before screwing. Double check the flatness of the furring by pulling strings from side to side and corner to corner. If the gap changes by more than a ¼” between the string and the furring strip, adjust the furring strips to even the gap. The better job you do of leveling the furring strips, the better your ceiling will look once completed.
Once the furring strips are leveled and screwed in place, ½” sheetrock can then be installed. First, apply a bead of construction adhesive to the furring strips, then screw-up the sheetrock carefully setting the screws below the surface but not breaking the paper. Then tape the seams using self-stick mesh tape (other types of tape are available but the mesh tape is easiest to work with and least likely to crack.) Then apply three coats of joint compound (mud). After applying the first coat of mud, allow it to dry then lightly sand. The second coat should be applied wider than the first coat and the third coat applied wider yet. Allow each coat to dry and lightly sand. Lite weight joint compound is easiest to sand. Finally, apply a coat of sheetrock primer, paint then texture. Mix paint in with the texture (see below) to avoid a final coat of paint.