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Old 08-30-2009, 12:48 PM   #1
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plywood walls


I have a house that was built in 1839 in Charleston SC (hurrican risk). Several years ago, the plaster was removed from a majority of the walls in the house and replaced with 1/2" plywood. There is no sheething on the exterior just wood siding. Some builders have told me to leave the plywood up and just drywall over it, as the plywood is what is giving it sheer strength which the drywall couldn't provide. Can anyone give any more insight as to whether it's worth it to leave the plywood in, or if having the wood siding on the exterior and drywall on the interior would be sufficient?



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Old 09-06-2009, 12:50 PM   #2
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We just bought a 1940's dutch colonial house and realized the house has plywood walls and we are trying to see if we can paint them or need to tear them down and put up dry wall. Any thoughts??


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Old 09-06-2009, 01:19 PM   #3
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SC: The builders who advised you that the plywood provides greater shear strength than plaster were correct. Plywood is very strong in shear, and will greatly improve hurricane survivability when it is correctly installed to a wood framed wall. Proper attachment means an adequate number of nails or screws per square foot of plywood.

I am not familiar with proper technique for sheet rocking over plywood, no doubt someone on this site can help you out there, but I would definitely not touch that plywood.
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Old 09-06-2009, 02:53 PM   #4
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You can rock directly over the plywood. Not a problem.

The siding and rock alone is definitely not enough to survive a wind event, let alone a hurricane. Here in KS we design for a 3 second 90mph gust, and having no exterior sheathing would be a BIG problem. Sheathing the interior with plywood isn't ideal because it doesn't lap the rim joist(s) but is better than nothing for sure. Leave that plywood there!
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Old 09-06-2009, 03:02 PM   #5
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Hi, I do agree to keep the plywood and I see absolute no reason why it can not be covered whith drywall sheets, as long the walls are able to breath. Meaning is: that normal humidity can evaporate freely (no plastic in between) and good vetilation is provided, because you have high humidity down there. Just keep in mind moistre accumulates always on the warm side. Just look at your ice cold soda/beer. LOL On the outside just use a moister barrier, wich will let escape moister, but will block it from comming in. Since SC is a high humit region I would build an air space between wall and plaster for circulation good luck
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:33 PM   #6
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Glue and nail/screw drywall directly to the plywood. You could use 1/4" or 1/2". With 1/4" you could probably get away with butting to your window and door trim and flat taping. There would just be less "reveal". I would pull the base and replace after drywall unless it's a 1"x with base cap. (You could pull the base cap, hang to the 1"x and add new cap.) With 1/2", you'll pretty much have to pull all the trim, add jamb extensions to the windows and doors, drywall, then all new casing and base......
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:19 PM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback, very helpful! It looks to be about 1/4" plywood, if that's still plywood. I think this house still had the plaster up when Hugo went through and there was no structural damage to this house, or any others around here, which was good to hear. I guess I'll go ahead and leave it and put some good drywall over it.


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