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Old 03-23-2008, 05:55 PM   #1
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Plaster and Lathe walls- covering with drywall

I recently bought a 1919 rowhouse with plaster and lathe walls. The plaster is in decent shape but I'm want to add drywall for a "cleaner" look.

I also want to update the electrical, add recessed lighting, run cable and add additonal lights. Currently some outlets are in the walls, some in the floors, a few in the floor boards, and some lines are running outside the walls.

Whats my plan of action? I'd hate to take down ALL the the plaster--it's messy and time consuming. can I run electrical wiring in casing attached to the plaster wall and then place drywall over it? i'm not sure if these older homes/walls have studs (it's a brick house); should I tunnel a hole in the plaster and add "studs" to support the drywall? they wouldn't be load bearing studs--only to hold the sheets of dry wall and to fix the new outlets too.

it's quite a project...i'm not sure what to do next or where to start. any tips would be great!


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Old 03-23-2008, 06:46 PM   #2
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I did something like that once. I did the wiring I needed by knocking small hole in one lath and fishing wire thru. Wired some from basement THEN didnt take off any trim plaster or laths,just was careful cutting and got 3/8 drywal and screwed it right into the laths just inside the wide old trim. IF you have NO studs wiring is more difficult,,specially outside walls,,,inside partitions are studded ,right?? Then caulked rest carefully and wiped off trim,done . Course mudded any seams or screw holes like normal. Plus edges a bit with caulking in back ground for support! LOOKED alot better than taking off tons of trim and plate rails and ruining all that,,,cause it never comes out the same cause dry wall isnt as thick as plaster and lath unless you shim it out with old laths first!! other MORE messier way would be to take off plaster and leave laths, then use 1/2 or 5/8 rock over them,whichever makes it come out closer!! depending on whether you WANT new trim or prefer the OLD trim!! Taking old trim off and putting it back on is a pain and some gets wrecked no matter how careful you are!!(IF you do,,write on back as you take it off,,,where it goes,,,exactly!!!


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Old 03-23-2008, 09:48 PM   #3
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covering plaster

Also realize that when you add to the thickness of the wall, you throw off all your trim. You'll need to take it all off (Please number it so you know where it goes back on)...then adjust the thickness to make sure the drywall doesn't stick out farther than the trim.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:45 PM   #4
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"can I run electrical wiring in casing attached to the plaster wall and then place drywall over it?'

What to you call casing? It really doesn't matter. If you're going to cover up the plaster, make whatever holes you need to make to run the wiring., who's going to see it under the drywall? Plus this way you get the wiring into the wall cavity where an errant screw or nail won't pierce it.
In a house this age you might find alot of questionable, even dangerous wiring. Now is the time to find it and get it corrected. Don't tie in new wiring to old, run it from the panel.
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Old 03-24-2008, 02:20 PM   #5
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In a 1919 house you have the unfortunate chance of finding lead paint on the trim and asbestos mixed into the plaster. Also, it's very unlikely that your electrical service is sufficient for today's outlet and lighting requirements. If you rehab the whole place, you can remove any doubt about material safety for the future and you can upgrade the service and rewire everything. If you want to do more than patch and paint, this is one of the few times I would advise someone to spend real money.

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