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Old 01-16-2011, 07:37 AM   #1
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Redoing interior walls.


We recently bought an older home that has been handied-up in many ways over the years and I have been brainstorming different ways to make it look reasonable without resorting to complete demo/rebuild.

The interior walls are irregular in several places, multiple planes that meet (or kinda-sorta meet) leaving small steps that are quite obvious. A good bit of the interior was originally lath-n-plaster, then some were drywall that has sheets of masonite covering that (?), so I am going to have to tear a large portion of it out and redo, I accept that. I demo'd a closet for a doorway and the resulting time and effort trying to get the walls finished so they didn't look crappy ended up teaching my son a few more swear words.

Here's what I'm wondering, would there be any advantage in taking it to the studs, adding a layer of plywood to establish a continuous flat plane and then adding 1/4" drywall to finish? My thoughts were that I could do whatever "adjusting" I needed with the base plywood layer and still get a decent finish. Trying shim out drywall to get a flat plane seems like a dumb idea to even consider, so I was thinking that plywood would be easier to work/shim/adjust, and result in a wall more solid and easier to drywall.

(Here's the point where the real DIY mavens pop in and tell me the real way to do this )

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Old 01-16-2011, 08:13 AM   #2
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Redoing interior walls.


hey friend,
i hear you. i've dealt with this funkiness a lot and am in the middle of a job that will require lots of mudding and furring and shimming.

what i recommend for you is:

in small non-demo areas, you can mud a taper to help little bumps and edges plane in. you'll need at least three coats. i like to use hard-set durabond as my base coat, then two more with the regular compound.

when gutting a wall, easier than the plywood would be running 3/4" furring strips perpendicular to the studs on 16" centers, and shimming those as necessary. probably each stud varies in width a bit. don't worry about anything less than 1/8" as the sheetrock will forgive that.


you can also set up string lines top and bottom, or a laser level, to establish big proud/shy spots on studs. you may only need a little strip of 1/4" luan here and there and just re-sheetrock right over the existing studs.

and remember, part of the charm of these old houses is a bit of funkiness...

good luck.

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Old 01-16-2011, 08:54 AM   #3
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Redoing interior walls.


I hear ya, I love the funkiness and no matter how much work I have to do (which I love, just don't tell the wife), the location and neighborhood make it all worthwhile.

I understand about just furring it out, but I was thinking doing a full-sheet job might be easier than tweaking and shimming every single strip to get a continuous plane so the drywall came out nice n flat. I only have one long wall, already done (which might get redone eventually just for appearances sake), the place is mostly a succession of small ones with weird issues. Apparently the original construction relied on the lath-n-plaster to even things out since I have already come across studs not entirely vertical and not lined up with their neighbors, so the walls just swoop every whichway. When I add in parts that have been added strangely or removed and "repaired" in less than stellar fashion, I was thinking that a consistent overall plan to just entomb the craziness and leave a flat wall would be nice. I shudder to think what else I will discover when I start stripping off the masonite.
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Old 01-16-2011, 08:58 AM   #4
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Redoing interior walls.


yes, you could certainly try the plywood idea. the concern i had is that you'll have the same problem as trying to put on a sheet of drywall. if the stud edges aren't aligned in both planes, then it will be an issue. of course the plywood can span more than the sheetrock can, and if the studs work in your favor in this regard, then go for it. it's a pretty good idea, i've just never heard of anything doing that.
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