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Old 01-26-2013, 05:08 PM   #1
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Need help repairing plaster and lath walls


Hi guys and gals,
We just purchased an older home (1930s) that has a few holes in the wall as you can see here:

I've done a search, but can't find a real answer. My question is, do I repair this hole with new wooden lath and then go over with plaster, or is there a more "modern" approach to this like some sort of wire mesh to replace the lath.

And also, since I'm a n00by first time home buyer, is there a step by step that somebody can give me, or point in a direction?

Thank you!!

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Old 01-26-2013, 07:55 PM   #2
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Need help repairing plaster and lath walls


Repairing plaster is no fun and requires some special techniques. See here for the steps:

http://www.nps.gov/hps/tps/briefs/brief21.htm
http://www.bobvila.com/articles/462-...laster/pages/1

You should consider tearing off the lath and plaster and hanging sheet rock. The open walls would give you the opportunity to update electrical and insulation also.

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Old 01-26-2013, 08:04 PM   #3
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Need help repairing plaster and lath walls


I sure would not waste my time trying to fix it.
Behind those walls your going to find no or missing insulation, dead animals, out dated wiring, bare wires, no fire blocking, old steel and cast plumbing that needs to go, ECT. ECT.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:22 AM   #4
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Need help repairing plaster and lath walls


Thank you both for the tips. As much as I want to put up dry wall, this would mean I would need to replace the other rooms as well as the rooms are interconnected with rounded edges, which I would imagine being a much larger project. One that I simply don't have time for.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:51 AM   #5
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Need help repairing plaster and lath walls


clean up the hole. put in a piece of drywall. then use drywall mud to smooth it out. being sloppy with the mud may give you somewhat of a match.
but since that is low on the wall, it will most likely be behind furniture. so you won't even see the repair.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:39 PM   #6
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Need help repairing plaster and lath walls


Appears to be a fiberboard siding patch to right of the hole... fix that while at it; http://www.plaster-wall-ceiling-solu...wall-tape.html

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Old 01-28-2013, 08:27 AM   #7
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Need help repairing plaster and lath walls


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Originally Posted by Gary in WA View Post
Appears to be a fiberboard siding patch to right of the hole... fix that while at it; http://www.plaster-wall-ceiling-solu...wall-tape.html

Gary
Looks like somebody patched it in before with fiberglass tape. I see a remnant of drywall with a screw in it. I'd carefully square the hole back to the nearest stud, then attach a piece of drywall. Don't cut the lath or you'll have even more destruction. Shim the drywall to match the surface of the plaster. screw it fast and then tape it. Use setting mud to tape it, to keep the joint strong.
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:37 PM   #8
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Need help repairing plaster and lath walls


Wow.. thanks for the replies everyone. I didn't realize drywall to patch the hole was an option and have already covered up the hole with wood lath. Should I continue with plastering now, or do you guys really really recommend patching with drywall instead?
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:56 PM   #9
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Need help repairing plaster and lath walls


I'd use the drywall. Much easier in my opinion.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:51 PM   #10
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Need help repairing plaster and lath walls


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Originally Posted by soopafly View Post
Wow.. thanks for the replies everyone. I didn't realize drywall to patch the hole was an option and have already covered up the hole with wood lath. Should I continue with plastering now, or do you guys really really recommend patching with drywall instead?
If you are interested in keeping the homes original historical profile, I'd suggest redoing the 2-3 layer plaster over lathe. It would be much easier for a small hole like that (as opposed to a larger hole in real plaster), and as others suggested, if it were sloppy, it'd probably be covered up by furniture. But, if you are looking for a cheap-and easy fix, drywall might just cover the hole entirely (even if placed over wood lathe).
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:53 PM   #11
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Need help repairing plaster and lath walls


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Originally Posted by mt999999 View Post
If you are interested in keeping the homes original historical profile, I'd suggest redoing the 2-3 layer plaster over lathe. It would be much easier for a small hole like that (as opposed to a larger hole in real plaster), and as others suggested, if it were sloppy, it'd probably be covered up by furniture. But, if you are looking for a cheap-and easy fix, drywall might just cover the hole entirely (even if placed over wood lathe).

^This guy knows what he's talking about.

Short answer is yes, it can be patched. You can go to a building center, get a sheet of lathe, some stub nails, and Structolite, and some Diamond Veneer plaster. But since you are not a pro....

You can buy drywall, some mesh tape and use Durabond to match the slight lace texture present.

Skim and level with durabond, let it dry, then mix up some thinner Durobond and use a wide kinfe in an alternating pattern to mimic your texture.

To me, the pic looks like a 1/2" pice of drywall will be out past your old stucco, though.

Alternatively, you could simply keep building up Durabond over the replaced wood you said you added. It will stick to the wood, no problem.

I wouldn't go over 1/4-3/8 in thickness though. Its hard to tell in the pic how thick the existing stucco is.

Last edited by BLKZ06; 02-05-2013 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:56 PM   #12
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Need help repairing plaster and lath walls


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Originally Posted by BLKZ06 View Post
^This guy knows what he's talking about.

Short answer is yes, it can be patched. You can go to a building center, get a sheet of lathe, some stub nails, and Structolite, and some Diamond Veneer plaster. But since you are not a pro....

You can buy drywall, some mesh tape and use Durabond to match the slight lace texture present.

Skim and level with durabond, let it dry, then mix up some thinner Durobond and use a wide kinfe in an alternating pattern to mimic your texture.

To me, the pic looks like a 1/2" pice of drywall will be out past your old stucco, though.

Alternatively, you could simply keep building up Durabond over the replaced wood you said you added. It will stick to the wood, no problem.

I wouldn't go over 1/4-3/8 in thickness though. Its hard to tell in the pic how thick the existing stucco is.
Most original plaster over lathe was done in three coats; the first coat directly over the lathe (scratch coat) was historically 3/8 inch thick, then a 3/8 inch coat over that of the same material as it started to set, which was the brown coat, then a finer white finsh coat with minimal sand and no animal hair (hair was in the first two layers for strength) to 1/8 of an inch thick. Total of 7/8 inch thickness on original plaster was to specifications. Come the era of the plasterboard, and 1/2 inch board substituted for the lathe and base (scratch) coat. Then they did traditional thickness on the brown and finish coats. You could cut a square hole for plasterboard, install it, and plaster over it. But if you have new lathe in, I'd suggest just buying modern pre-mixed plaster (for a hole that small, possibly already with water added in a tub) and plaster it in two layers. For thickness, and to make it most smooth. Sand and primer, afterward. I would NOT suggest using a tub of plaster of paris as so many contractors do, it is not nearly as good. BTW, when plastering over old lathe, wet it so the dried out wood does not twist and swell when plastered on. Add a splash of vinegar to the wet plaster to retard the drying time as well, or else work very fast! This video sums it up a bit, skip to about two minutes in to see work on a hole about the size of yours.

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Old 02-05-2013, 05:58 PM   #13
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Need help repairing plaster and lath walls


Looks to me like you might have some moisture problems that caused the original hole, might want to look into that before you plaster.

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