While renovating my 1850s home, I had to remove the old plaster and lath from the living-room walls. Because this was to take place over a long weekend, and because the living room could not be totally sealed off from the rest of the house, I needed to provide a barrier to contain the plaster dust. To complicate matters further, I didn’t want to mar the paint on my somewhat uneven plaster ceiling.
The drawing shows the system I used to erect a seal that held back the dust while protecting the ceiling’s paint. I screwed horizontal 1×4 crossbars to the 1×4 uprights. But before affixing the horizontals, I put pieces of 3/4-in. foam pipe insulation along the tops of the 1x4s, as shown in the drawing. The foam allowed me to press the crossbars gently to the ceiling as necessary to get a good seal as the crossbars were screwed to the uprights. Then I stapled 6-mil poly to the crossbars to complete the dust curtain.
Although it worked well, this method did have one drawback. Some of the insulation had markings on it that rubbed off on the ceiling. It wasn’t a serious problem, but next time I will remove the markings before erecting the curtain or cover them with tape or plastic.
Larry Chace, Etna, NY