I would like to redo my kitchen ceiling. The ceiling is drywall and painted, but I had a bathroom leak into the ceiling and certain spot were drywalled again. The contractor did not finish. Who do I call and trust to finish a job?
Rita - Pittsburgh, PA
Rita, there are numerous options for your kitchen ceiling -- what you basically have at this point is a blank slate. If you like a simple look, the easiest solution would be to skim the existing surface with a layer of sheetrock compound. A qualified sheetrock contractor should be able to finish the job within a few days.
There are two drawbacks to this type of finish: the amount of dust created when the coating is sanded and the chance that you may still see the ceiling patches under certain light conditions. The sanding dust can be a major concern in a kitchen that already has cabinets -- make sure they're completely covered during the process if you decide on this ceiling treatment.
Texturing the ceiling is another option and while this treatment doesn't cause too much dust, it can still be a messy project. Texturing is a process that involves putting a layer of diluted sheetrock compound on the ceiling. A special brush is then used to create patterns in the compound before it dries. A textured ceiling doesn't need to be painted, but can be difficult to keep clean.
Once again, the cabinets should be covered before the compound is rolled on to the ceiling. Texturing and skimming can be done by a sheetrock contractor and you will also need a painter for a skimmed ceiling. Both of these finishes should be fairly budget-friendly.
An option that shouldn't create as much mess as the first two, but might be a little more expensive is installing ceiling tiles. There are quite a few companies that offer PVC tiles that look just like the tin tiles found in old Victorian homes. The tiles can just be glued to your existing ceiling and should completely hide the patches. Application is advertised as being DIY-friendly or you could hire a trim or kitchen contractor for the installation.
The tiles are available in numerous designs and can be purchased ready for paint or in prefinished colors. If you want to go with actual tin ceiling tiles, they are also available from quite a few companies. However, you'll need to install a layer of plywood on the kitchen ceiling first to create a suitable anchor for the nails used to hold the tiles in place.
These are just a few options for your ceiling. As far as what to do about hiring a contractor, choose one with proper licensing and an extensive list of references.