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RDS 03-04-2010 08:45 AM

Wire mesh used to 'tape' drywall corners
In my 1940 house, the drywall is (what I believe is called) rock lath and the inside corners are 'taped' (not really the right word) with wire mesh that extends about 5 inches either side of the corner. I'm sure many of you have seen what I'm talking about.

Problem is, when I remove drywall from the walls (which I've done in remodeling a couple of rooms so far, to add insulation) the wire mesh at the wall-ceiling joint tends to tear part of the ceiling down with it, even when I want to keep the ceiling (which is already insulated and in good shape).

If there was paper tape I'd just run a utility knife along the joint to prevent this tearout, but what do you use when there's the wire mesh? Just wondering what methods you experienced folks have found effective. Grinder? Recip saw?

cellophane 03-04-2010 11:21 AM

you might try some snips or wire cutters. a recip saw would probably go too deep and the vibration would knock the ceiling loose anyways. a multimaster would probably work as well but i don't have one to say with certainty.

Big Bob 03-04-2010 01:12 PM

I have done this many many times.

This is one of those PITA demo projects that one can not hurry through.
once plaster and rock lathe has been removed to the wire corner lathe you need to slow down.

Tools (use old ones because new ones will be old when your done)
hammer (straight claw), chisel, flat bar, recip saw(old blades..this is why you save them) snips, & patience.
New leather work gloves and channel locks to pull wire lathe taught.

Start by tapping with hammer to remove plaster and rock lathe from wire lathe. (90% or so might be ok). use flat bar like a chisel to cut a line at the wall ceiling intersection. Now with fairly bare wire lathe... recip saw will work ok til you deal with corners and studs. Wire lathe will be nailed down at those locations and vibration from saw might damage the ceiling you want to save.

pick your weapons at those locations chisel, snips, old screw driver, old HD kitchen knife.

Resist the urge to pull hard on the wire lathe... may still be attached strong enough to result in ceiling damage.

NO way this will be a fun project... but it can be done.

expect some damage to the ceiling at the edge.

Also: consider new wall plane may want to fur out studs..and or consider crown molding for speed up and appearance of the tie-in finish work.

RDS 03-04-2010 01:36 PM

OK, good, thanks. I've just started one section of the kitchen and what you describe is approximately what I've done (using sharp end of a pry bar like a chisel to break wire, plus snips, plus a cat's paw to pry out nails one by one). I will try the recip saw between studs. Nice (I guess) to hear there's no magic quick solution I've been missing.

Crown molding sounds good. In the bathroom, I ended up taking down the ceiling since there was so much tearout and it was a small room anyway. But I really would like to avoid that in the kitchen, so I will take it slow and do as you recommend.

tpolk 03-04-2010 03:35 PM

i would try a 4" angle grinder

Frostbite 03-08-2010 01:18 PM

How about using a Dremel? will probably work a bit faster then a wire cutter but not as much vibration as a angle grinder.

LDugan 08-02-2011 03:05 PM

Wire cutters are the way to go
We had this same issue in our home (1956 rambler) when we took out a wall. We wanted to keep an adjoining wall in tact and the wire mesh made that difficult. I posted the details here.

GottaFixIt 08-02-2011 03:48 PM

The fastest method by and far is an angle grinder with a metal cutting disc.
It makes a hell of a mess, but if you're steady handed, you can get a nice edge. You'll need to finish up the corners with snips of shears.

The Dremel whether oscillating (multimax) or rotary burns through disks really quickly...

Maintenance 6 08-03-2011 06:56 AM

I use a 3" flooring chisel ground a little sharper than normal.

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