How to Plasterboard a Ceiling

By Kim
Last updated 28th June 2021 - Reading time: 8 mins

Are you looking for information on how to plasterboard a ceiling? This article will go over everything you need to know about the process of adding plasterboard to a ceiling, along with a list of all of the relevant tools and materials that you’ll need to get the job done.

how to plasterboard a ceiling

What Tools Do I Need to Plasterboard a Ceiling?

Below is a list of tools you’ll need for a plasterboard ceiling installation:

  • Sandpaper
  • Stanley knife
  • Drywall hammer
  • Metal straight edge
  • Pencil
  • Workbench
  • Ladder
  • Hammer
  • Drill

What Safety Equipment Do I Need to Apply Plasterboard to a Ceiling?

Below is a list of the recommended safety equipment for a ceiling plasterboard job:

  • Safety glasses or goggles
  • An extra person to help with lifting and holding

What Materials Do I Need to Plasterboard a Ceiling?

Below is a list of the materials you’ll need to plasterboard a ceiling:

  • Plasterboard sheets
  • Clout nails
  • 60mm drywall screws
  • Plasterboard tape
  • Plaster

How to Prepare for a Ceiling Plasterboard Application

Below is a list of things that you’ll need to do to prepare for a ceiling plasterboard installation:

  1. Remove any fixtures or fittings from the ceiling.
  2. Remove any furniture or obstacles that may prevent you from being able to access the ceiling easily.
  3. Remove any crown mouldings that may be attached to the ceiling.
  4. Use a drywall hammer to knock a few holes in the ceiling. This will allow you to locate where all of the joists are so that you know in advance.
  5. Cut all of your plasterboard sheets to size. Do this by using a straight metal edge and mark it off where you need to cut. Then cut along the line with a Stanley knife, using your straight edge as a guide. Make sure you sand the edges down, so they are smooth. Your plasterboard pieces should be cut to size according to the locations of the joists in the ceiling.

How to Plasterboard a Ceiling Yourself

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to complete a DIY ceiling plasterboard installation job:

Step 1

Once your plasterboard is cut to size and ready to be fitted, stand on a ladder and lift your first piece of plasterboard up into the correct position on the ceiling. You may need someone on hand to pass you the plasterboard pieces while you’re stood on the ladder.

how to plasterboard a ceiling step 1

Step 2

Once you’re happy with the positioning of the plasterboard, you can knock some clout nails in to keep it in place. Around six clout nails will do for an average-sized plasterboard sheet. This step can prove helpful but isn't strictly necessary.

how to plasterboard a ceiling step 2

Step 3

Then, secure the board completely to the ceiling by adding 60mm drywall screws. Your screws should be drilled into the plasterboard and through to the ceiling. These should be positioned by the side of the clout nails that you knocked in earlier.

how to plasterboard a ceiling step 3

Make sure your screws are being fed through to a joist or solid piece of timber frame to keep the plasterboard securely in place.

Step 4

Repeat this step across all of the ceiling, ensuring that you have someone on hand to help lift the plasterboard and hold the pieces in place as you secure them.

how to plasterboard a ceiling step 4

Step 5

Once your plasterboard pieces are up, check along all of them and add some extra screws in if you think it’s necessary. You may need a few extra screws for larger pieces of plasterboard just to make sure it’s completely tight against the ceiling.

how to plasterboard a ceiling step 5

Step 6

Once you’re happy with the number of screws in your plasterboard pieces and the whole ceiling is covered in plasterboard, the job is now complete.

how to plasterboard a ceiling step 6

If you are planning on painting your plasterboard, you will need to apply plasterboard tape and small amounts of plaster to each of the seams to make sure the surface is completely flat.

This will allow you to have a flush surface with no visible cracks so that you can paint over it without the need for plastering over the entire surface. Once this is complete, and the plaster is dry, you can then paint over your ceiling as desired.

What is Plasterboard?

Plasterboard is a panel of material that is usually pressed between a backer and a facer. It is most commonly used when making ceilings and walls.

Plasterboard creates a good finish for ceilings and walls. It’s one of the easiest types of plaster to use and tends to be very simple to install. Plasterboard can easily be installed as a simple DIY job.

Types of Plasterboard

There are several different types of plasterboard. Below is a list of the different types of plasterboard and their uses:

Water-resistant plasterboard

Water-resistant plasterboard is best for bathroom and kitchen installations or any other room that may be prone to extra moisture. This type of plasterboard contains additives that prevent moisture from accumulating in it and, therefore, preventing the build-up of moisture and damp on your walls and ceilings.

Insulated plasterboard

This is a popular type of plasterboard for modern homes that is designed to keep the heat in. It features an additional thermal insulation board attached to the back of the main plasterboard sheet, which allows it to keep the heat in.

The two different pieces are combined to form one whole sheet. Thermal plasterboard is also a great money-saver as it can prevent the need for completely insulating your walls.

Acoustic plasterboard

Acoustic plasterboard is designed to minimise the transmission of noise between each of the rooms in the home. This type of plasterboard tends to have a thickness of around 12.5mm, which reduces the amount of noise that can travel through the wall.

This means that this type of plasterboard can be referred to as soundproofing plasterboard. It also tends to have a higher density than most other plasterboard types, allowing it to contain high noise levels within the room.

Fire-resistant plasterboard

This type of plasterboard is resistant to fire. Each different type of fire-resistant plasterboard is resistant at different levels depending on the manufacturer.

Some fire-resistant plasterboard sheets are completely fire-proof, while others may be resistant to catching fire for several hours. Glass fibres and other types of additive are mixed into this type of plasterboard during the manufacturing stage to give it its fire-proof properties.

Impact-resistant plasterboard

Impact-resistant plasterboard is designed to be the most durable type of plasterboard and can protect itself from physical damage. It has a very high density, and various additives are added during the manufacturing stage to make it extremely strong and durable and increase its load-bearing capacity.


How do you repair cracks in ceiling plasterboard?

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to repair cracks in a ceiling:
  1. Use a Stanley knife to open up the crack.
  2. Use a caulking gun and an appropriate filler and squeeze the filler into the crack.
  3. Use a damp cloth and run it over the filler, pushing it further into the crack. Leave around 1-2mm for skimming.
  4. Finally, skim over the crack with a filler mixture and wait for it to dry.
  5. Repeat the previous step and wait for it to dry.
  6. Run a flex knife over the crack to remove any excess filler.
  7. Sand the filler until it’s flush with the surface.

How much weight can a plasterboard ceiling hold?

A plasterboard ceiling should be able to hold around 40 pounds in pull out load. This can differ depending on how well the plasterboard is hung.

What type of plasterboard should I use for a bathroom ceiling?

It would be best if you chose water-resistant plasterboard for your bathroom. This type of plasterboard contains additives that prevent any accumulation of water in the ceiling.

What plasterboard ceiling fixings should I use?

It is recommended that you use plasterboard screws to fix your plasterboard to the ceiling.

How thick is plasterboard?

Plasterboard tends to be around 9.5-12.5mm thick. However, you can get some types of plasterboard with different thickness levels.

Is plasterboard considered to be hazardous waste?

Yes, plasterboard is considered to be a hazardous waste due to the gypsum present in it, as this can lead to the creation of a toxic hydrogen sulphide gas when it’s disposed of. This reaction can happen if the plasterboard and its gypsum content mix with biodegradable waste.

How long does it take to plasterboard a ceiling?

The timescales can vary depending on the size of the room. Below is a rough idea of the timescales you can expect for installing plasterboard to a ceiling:

  • Small room – 6-12 hours
  • Medium room – 8-12 hours
  • Large room – 2-3 days

Do I need to plaster over the plasterboard sheets before I can paint them?

Plasterboard tends to have a paper covering, which means that you won’t be required to plaster over it once it’s been installed. You will need to apply tape and small amounts of plaster to the seams to ensure that your ceiling is smooth throughout. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have an uninterrupted surface that is fully prepared for painting.


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