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Old 08-10-2013, 10:53 AM   #1
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Closing off Doorway in Plaster Wall


Hi, hoping I can get a bit of advice on how to proceed.

I am in the process of doing some repairs in one of the rooms in my 1880's row home. The plaster walls were in so-so shape, with some cracks and medium to large areas where the plaster had lost its keys and come loose from the lath. The majority of the repairs so far have involved fixing the cracks and re-attaching the plaster to the lath using adhesive (liquid nails) and washers/screws (to temporarily hold the plaster to the lath while the glue dries). This has been successful thus far, with the walls become solid after the glue dries and the washers/screws are removed. The damage from the repairs is then fixed with joint compound.

The next step is closing off a doorway that connects this room to another bedroom. This is where I am looking for a bit of help. I have read up on the steps for removing the door, but the write ups are usually for walls that are sheetrock, not plaster.

I've gone ahead and removed the wood trim around the doorway and now need to remove the door jamb (at least this is what I think I need to do). The write ups I've seen say to either cut the nails attaching the jamb to the door frame or pry the jamb off of the frame. The problem is that after I removed the trim, I found that the plaster comes right up to the door jamb, with zero gap to get a saw/pry bar/anything between the jamb and the door frame. In fact, I can't even see the frame. I've attached some pictures to show this.

How do I remove the door jamb without doing further damage to the plaster. As you can see, it has many fine cracks and ships around the doorway already. I will repair these areas with durabond or the like. Also, is there really a door frame under there? I am worried about trying to pull the jamb off and have the plaster start breaking apart.



In the below photo it may look like there are two pieces of wood, but it is just the paint line. This is the door jamb with plaster coming right up to it.


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Old 08-10-2013, 11:15 AM   #2
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Closing off Doorway in Plaster Wall


I just did it recently...

Remove the door....

Then starting at the bottom, pull the door frame away from the wall. The best tool is a flat crow bar. Once you have the bottom pulled away, you can then pull the top down. You basically just peal it off.

Once you have it off....frame it out....studs top and bottom...on the sides and in the middle. Now you have a nice surface to attach your new drywall to.

Your biggest problem is going to be drywall depth. Chances are it's around 1" thick...give or take an 1/8".

Three ways to do this....

1. Fir out both sides with strips of wood ripped to the thickness so that new drywall is flush with your old wall.

2. When install the new studs, line up one side so that your drywall would be flush...now you only have to fir out the other side.

3. Rip down 2x6 studs to the width you need to have your new drywall flush. This would be my preference....it's less work than ripping firing strips.

Don't worry about the cracks....just fill them with mud and move on.

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Old 08-10-2013, 02:58 PM   #3
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Closing off Doorway in Plaster Wall


Before you rip it apart, consider it's resale value. Sometimes they're worth a bit more if the frame is included. That being a possibility, consider taking the frame and door out as one unit. Remove the facing trim molding and then use a sawzall with a 12" blade to cut the frame loose from the surrounding structure. Tack a board across both sides to hold the frame square to the door before removing it. That'll help keep it all together. Then just tap in any cut nails left sticking out.

I second the #3 suggestion to use larger lumber and rip it down to the needed dimensions. This is likely to be a lot less work than trying to use furring strips or multiple layers of drywall to match the thickness of the existing walls.

As for the floor baseboard, unless you have old pieces of the same stuff on-hand it's often easier to replace a whole section rather than try to patch with new material. There might be trim inside of old closets or in other locations that could be moved and used here. Using mitered joints is better than butt joints for this sort of thing, as that tends to be easier to hide the transition.

Baseboards were a lot more varied in the past, no two lumber yards would cut them the same way. Modern stuff rarely comes close. You could spend a some money to have knives made to match your trim, but that's going to be pretty expensive.

Your hardest part is going to be hiding the appearance of the new patch. The way the paint layers look is hard to replicate. So you may find yourself sanding down a fair bit of the existing paint in order to have that whole wall look like one unpatched surface. Be prepared to deal with lead pain dust and use respirators accordingly.
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Old 08-10-2013, 03:21 PM   #4
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Closing off Doorway in Plaster Wall


Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawg16 View Post
I just did it recently...

Remove the door....

Then starting at the bottom, pull the door frame away from the wall. The best tool is a flat crow bar. Once you have the bottom pulled away, you can then pull the top down. You basically just peal it off.

Once you have it off....frame it out....studs top and bottom...on the sides and in the middle. Now you have a nice surface to attach your new drywall to.

Your biggest problem is going to be drywall depth. Chances are it's around 1" thick...give or take an 1/8".

Three ways to do this....

1. Fir out both sides with strips of wood ripped to the thickness so that new drywall is flush with your old wall.

2. When install the new studs, line up one side so that your drywall would be flush...now you only have to fir out the other side.

3. Rip down 2x6 studs to the width you need to have your new drywall flush. This would be my preference....it's less work than ripping firing strips.

Don't worry about the cracks....just fill them with mud and move on.
+1 very good advice
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Old 08-10-2013, 03:59 PM   #5
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Closing off Doorway in Plaster Wall


You may loose some plaster---the pry bar will knock loose a lot if you do not trim back the plaster in the area you are going to pry---

I suggest gently chipping back the plaster with a hammer and chisel in the places where you need to pry---

An angle grinder with a diamond blade is quick---but the mess is awful---so hand chip an opening to pry---
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Old 08-10-2013, 05:25 PM   #6
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Closing off Doorway in Plaster Wall


Thanks for the advice guys. I dont plan on selling this as its going into a new door way that i plan to put in for a new bathroom. I think i will also only close off one side completely. The other side will be turned into a recessed shelf. Ill chip out some of the plaster as suggested, its coming off in places already anyways. Will probably wait to finish this untill i set up power to my table saw in the basement, but thats for another day.

It will be a challenge to match the patched area, especially since the existing plaster walls are a bit wavey in places. I think ill have to use some joint compound to get it to blend in a bit. Maybe a few layers of paint will help ad well. Once i get my table saw up and running i will rip 2x6s as suggested and put up 5/8 sheet rock just a hair below flush.

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