Help with nasty old fiber board tiles on attic ceiling!

Kim Kilmer
by Kim Kilmer
Here's the scoop. I bought a 1950's cape cod and the attic was finished into 2 bedrooms. They used those fiberboard ceiling tiles stapled to slats but didn't put any drywall underneath. I really like the cottage look of wainscoting or shiplap on the ceiling but am wondering if I should put drywall underneath it? Anyone have experience with this? Do I need that drywall? Sure would save some money if I don't! Then, of course, dear hubs has to chime in with "if you're going to put up drywall why bother with the wainscoting?"
  6 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Sep 21, 2015
    I am thinking yes for added insulation. I would imagine it gets very chilly upstairs.
    • Kim Kilmer Kim Kilmer on Sep 21, 2015
      @Janet Pizaro Actually it is always too warm up there in the winter! The warm air from downstairs rises and I've even closed the vents to those rooms.
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Sep 21, 2015
    I thought of that after I responded. sorry
  • Theresa Bradshaw Theresa Bradshaw on Sep 22, 2015
    I don't see why you would need that extra layer. Like you said it's warm enough just make sure that whatever you use to attach the next layer is long enough to reach your stud so it will stay put.
  • Bilbo Bilbo on Sep 22, 2015
    I wouldn't worry with the expense. The wall board has no insulation value that I know of. Back in the "day" the whole purpose of ship lap was to cover your walls. The thing I was concerned for your project is making sure those tiles you are removing aren't the asbestos type. That presents a hazard in itself. Good luck on your project!!!
    • Rebecca Suzan Osterberg Rebecca Suzan Osterberg on Sep 22, 2015
      @Bilbo I was about to reply with the exact same concern. It is worse to ignore or neglect it, but they may likely contain asbestos. It was the material of the time, it seems, and comes back to haunt remodeling efforts. If it is, it must be removed by professionals. The airborne particles can sit in a vent or on a beam for years, but the instant they're disturbed can once again take flight and find a lung or nasal cavity in human or animal host. It embeds like tiny shards of glass with hooks and can't be removed. In some cases, it is allowed to paint, cover or contain it, but local building codes apply, as always. Better safe than sorry. We found out the hard way. :-(
  • Thebakers47 Thebakers47 on Sep 22, 2015
    If you paint it do it with a spray painter. Give it a couple coat of latex which is flexible. Then install new stuff on top of it. If its asbestos it's fire proof. The latex should coat it well enough no particles would be disturbed when you install a new ceiling. I think I would cover wth drywall first. Then you can put anything you want on top. That way you don't have to finish the seams in the drywall. That way if it is asbestos it's covered,no removal team and no landfill.
  • LD LD on Sep 22, 2015
    Here is a link that talks about ceiling tiles that may contain asbesto: Found this link regarding installing a wainscoting ceilings: