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Old 04-01-2009, 10:54 AM   #1
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old drywall/plaster lathe...what is it?


I have a 1940s house and the walls are all plaster. Underneath the plaster finish, there is a rock mixture and then there is some kind of board which looks a lot like modern drywall. It's about 1/4" thick and in approx 2' x 4' sheets. Other houses in the neighborhood have the old time wood lathe under the plaster. What kind of board do I have? Anyone know?

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Old 04-01-2009, 12:53 PM   #2
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old drywall/plaster lathe...what is it?


It was the transition between wood lath and drywall. It was called rock lath and most that I have seen was 16"x4' sheets. It replaced the wood part of the wood lath and plaster walls. It went up much faster than nailing all the small wood strips.

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Old 04-01-2009, 12:53 PM   #3
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old drywall/plaster lathe...what is it?


What you have is "rock lath". That was the name for sheet material that was applied to walls and was then plastered over. A lot of 1940s-50s-60s buildings used it before drywall became popular. Rock lath was originally a brand name for plaster board. It is normally 16"x48"x3/8", but there were other variations. Rock lath eliminated the base scratch coat that got applied to wood lath.
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Old 04-01-2009, 01:27 PM   #4
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old drywall/plaster lathe...what is it?


Interesting reading: http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/tps/briefs/brief21.htm Be safe, GBR
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Old 04-01-2009, 06:51 PM   #5
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old drywall/plaster lathe...what is it?


And to correct common mistake it is lath not lathe. Lathe is a tool for make things round.

A wood lathe.



Wood lath

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Old 04-01-2009, 08:01 PM   #6
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Thanks guys -- you're exactly right. It was 16"x4'. I'll tell ya --- that plaster & rock lath is saving me a little money on heating and AC since there is no insulation behind it! Just a little money though -- better than plain drywall.

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