Slats on, or slats off?
How do I hang drywall in my 1907 historic home? The slats that are on the outer walls of the house aren't level, do we take them off to reveal the studs? Will this compromise the stability of the house?
First, my assumptions. By slats, I guess you mean the wood lathe that remained after plaster removal, and by level I guess you mean they are not in a flat plane when you lay a straightedge across them.
Unfortunately, removing the lathe will most likely not correct the problem; they are following the old studs, which were quite commonly not very accurately cut to dimension like modern lumber. The outer edge of the studs were lined up straight so that the exterior cladding (probably lap siding,clapboards,weatherboards, or whatever the term for such is in your region) would not be wavy. The plasterer would then make the walls flat inside.If you have ever seen plaster during removal, you will notice that there are areas that may be as thin as 5/16" or so, and other areas that may be 5/8" or more. Removing the lathe will not affect the structural integrity of he house. You will then have to establish a flat plane for the wall, and either shim the stud faces to it, or sister new 2x4's onto the existing ones. Unless it is only a very few studs that need attention, I find it easier to use the sistering method. You will probably have to notch out for some wire and/or pipes, but they don't have to be close fits.
I agree, take them off. There will be some angled 2x4 blocking in the stud bays at the exterior corners, don't remove those.
Remove the lath, not lathe, otherwise your new insulation will get a convective loop from the air space created there: http://oikos.com/library/insulating_...lls/index.html
History on the lath: http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/tps/briefs/brief21.htm
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