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Poll: Replace Plaster with Drywall and Insulation or Leave Plaster walls and pay for repair
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Replace Plaster with Drywall and Insulation or Leave Plaster walls and pay for repair

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Old 02-03-2011, 12:51 PM   #1
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What's the best way to remove Plaster/Lath walls and replace with Drywall


Hi. I just bought a house that needs a lot of renovations. The first and most important is removing the old plaster walls which were partially damaged in each room from a previous water leak in the roof (now fixed). The downstairs level is plaster/lath too. I figure I should just do it right the first time and replace it all with drywall while I am not living there and the wall upstairs are getting done.

What's the best way to remove the plaster, install insulation, and replace with drywall? I want drywall so that I can easily add light fixtures and receptacles, etc in addition I dont want long cracks and extensive repairs that go along with them over time.

My initial thoughts are to remove the plaster, leaving the lath behind (Is this possible), cut holes in the lath to do electrical work and blow in insulation or spray foam, then cover the walls up with 1/2 drywall. Does this sound like the best or even a feasible plan??

There are a few images below.

Thanks everyone!
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What's the best way to remove Plaster/Lath walls and replace with Drywall-room-2.jpg   What's the best way to remove Plaster/Lath walls and replace with Drywall-room-2-b.jpg   What's the best way to remove Plaster/Lath walls and replace with Drywall-room-3.jpg   What's the best way to remove Plaster/Lath walls and replace with Drywall-master.jpg  

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Old 02-03-2011, 03:42 PM   #2
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What's the best way to remove Plaster/Lath walls and replace with Drywall


First: I have not seen those particular inter-locking ceiling tiles in years, Grandpa's house had them as did many other homes in that neighborhood. Re: Your question- -My son bought a house built in 1921 which had the same problems in some rooms. We decided to remove the plaster rather than attempt any repairs as the damage was extensive. ALL wall studs were true 2 x 4's, rough cut. These plaster walls were based on the metal lathing. The best thing I found to remove the walls was a carbide grit tipped blade for my "Saw-zall" which would cut through the plaster and the metal lathing, and do many cuts. I cut between the studs, on 24" centers by the way, and removed large hunks of material. Then we just tore off what was left on the studs. The insulation on the exterior walls was just old newspaper crumpled up and stuffed in there. We added 6" thick fiberglass, then the drywall over that, hanging horizontally. His had plaster ceilings which, Thank Goodness, were not damaged so we left those alone. The finished rooms turned out very good, but a lot of work to get there. Good Luck.

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Old 02-03-2011, 04:47 PM   #3
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What's the best way to remove Plaster/Lath walls and replace with Drywall


Thanks Thurman. The same thing has happened with this house. The walls are bad and the ceilings are okay. However I feel it would be best just to go ahead and replace the ceilings at the same time so its not something I will have to deal with later. And if I replace ceilings with drywall it will be much easier to install new lighting and receptacles.
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:45 PM   #4
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What's the best way to remove Plaster/Lath walls and replace with Drywall


Yep, it's nasty demo work but when it's all behind you it's well worth it.

I've found that removing the plaster in the largest chunks possible works well, then remove the lath last so you can bundle it. It's very dusty nasty work and don't cheap out on the lung protection. Purchase good masks with replaceable filters. It will be money well spent and you will use them for all your remodel work.
Another demo trick to hold down dust is to use spray bottles adjusted to a fine mist. Spray as you go and install one of those cheap square box fans in the window with a cheap 24" square blue filter on the backside. It will capture some debris and will keep good relations with your neighbor.


Once completely removed you will have the opportunity to repair any water damage, straighten walls, run new electrical, install insulation.

One more tip. Now is the time to do all your demo since you are not living in the house. Get all the grunt dirty work out of the way. Have a container dropped off and have fun.
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:09 PM   #5
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What's the best way to remove Plaster/Lath walls and replace with Drywall


gut it...gut it all...not in phases but all at once.

\ceiling tiles may contain asbestos...

Framing will more than likely have to be added as plaster/lath walls didn't matter if studs were on 16's.

That's a ton of water damage btw. Are you confident that it has been fixed properly?
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Old 02-03-2011, 11:03 PM   #6
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What's the best way to remove Plaster/Lath walls and replace with Drywall


gut it.
plaster takes as much as 7 years to dry out once it has gotten wet. you dont want to patch that up and watch it continue toe be a problem years from now. i have been removing old plaster in my home in order to insulate, and leaving the lathe up seems to me to be more trouble than it is worth. if you want to get more insulation into the wall cavities, you can always fur out the walls to your desired depth.
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Old 02-03-2011, 11:05 PM   #7
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Some tips;

Cut the paint at the window/door casings and stool before carefully removing, to re-use later. Take precautions working with lead based paint on the woodwork = no sanding.

After demo, check at the window/door for proper thickness drywall = 1/2' with many cardboard shims from the box stores to bring the wall/ceiling to a flat plane. Rough cut original studs/joists with wood lath had varying thickness of plaster to make the final finish flat-- the studs are not, use a 6' level as a straightedge. Don't want to rip the window jambs/head because you forgot to plan ahead....

Plastic and old carpet, painters drops, tarps, on the floor with a final covering of 4' square tarps, over-lapping each by 2", drop the plaster, pull up the corners on each tarp, drop into can, etc. Remove lath, if wood, with same flat nosed long-handled shovel you used on plaster so you don't have to stand directly under the work for free lunch...

Use a medium density foam or blow-in, not low density with inherent convective loops; http://www.diychatroom.com/f98/how-b...ulation-90438/

Cover to protect the radiator fittings from "Whoops".....

Build a "chute" outside the window to the wheelbarrow below, if on second floor--- I'm to old for stairs.....

Gary
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Old 02-04-2011, 12:40 AM   #8
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What's the best way to remove Plaster/Lath walls and replace with Drywall


so this is how i could tackle my demo as well! judging by his pics i would say my ceilings are plaster. they have distinctive lines that you can make out along the ceiling everywhere its not flat, as my ceiling has several angles
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:14 AM   #9
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What's the best way to remove Plaster/Lath walls and replace with Drywall


Looks like you have a serious job there, I had to tear out old lath-n-plaster and it was a major PITA. I used one of those shingle strippers, looks like a flat shovel w/ teeth? Really grabbed the lath and pried it off in bigger chunks.
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Old 02-04-2011, 11:41 AM   #10
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What's the best way to remove Plaster/Lath walls and replace with Drywall


Thanks everyone for your suggested tools and ideas to save time. If there are anymore people with additional tips or suggested products to use please let me know.

Also, has anyone used duralight drywall yet? I read that its much easier to install because it is lighter (easier for one or two people to manage) but that its stronger than standard drywall.

Thanks!
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Old 02-04-2011, 12:31 PM   #11
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psu i have used the ultralight drywall at home depot when i converted my loft into a bedroom and my father in law used it in his garage when we built a tray ceiling so the chevelle could go all the way up on the lift and park the vette under it. in both cases it has worked just as well if not better than standard 1/2" drywall, and is very manageable to move with one person around. they say it is 30% lighter and you can feel the difference.

i would not hesitate using it again, just wish they had it when i finished my basement 2 years ago...

as far as the plaster/lath? tear it all down. i have done that on some older houses i have helped renovate... nasty, disgusting mess, but get out the BFH (Big F'n Hammer), sawzall and go to town. wear proper safety equipment and masks, otherwise you will be coughing black stuff up (i did one house in college and only wore a standard paper mask - wasn't enough really)

and watch out for the ceiling, most of those tiles contain asbestos, and you will probably want to bring someone in to take care of them ($$$$$)
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:51 PM   #12
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Lead based paint is another concern you may want to test for...
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:02 PM   #13
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I will wear a bunny suit (coveralls) and a mask for lead and asbestos.
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:39 PM   #14
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For sure!!
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Old 02-04-2011, 05:44 PM   #15
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What's the best way to remove Plaster/Lath walls and replace with Drywall


Also, does anyone have experience with a drywall hoist/lift which holds it against the ceiling while a person screws it in? Is it truly a one person job or does it require two people.

Thanks.

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