It might be worth it to patch one or two holes, but when you've reached
your swiss cheese state I would agree it would be easier to just gut and
I've patched plaster and lath walls with layers of sheetrock. It's doable
when needed, but takes a lot more work and is difficult to blend.
Demolition is messy work, no matter what you do. Tape plastic sheeting
over the doorways to keep dust out of the rest of the house, open the
window, lay down drop cloths to protect the flooring (and make cleanup
easier), and cover any duct openings. Of course, wear a dust mask and
Then grab hammers, prybars, or whatever and start ripping things down.
Don't worry about being neat, it's going to be messy. Stop every now and
then to haul debris out of the room so it's not a tripping hazard or
getting in your way. Take it out the window, if possible, to avoid
tracking dust and dirt through the house.
As for the sheetrock over the walls, score the wall/ceiling corner with a
utility knife before pulling down the ceiling. It should break fairly
cleanly. If not, use a reciprocating saw to cut through whatever lath,
mesh, or whatever is in the way.
Since this is a DIY newsgroup, I would gut one room at a time, add
insulation if needed, then install the sheetrock myself using screws.
It's not that difficult, and sheetrock is fairly cheap if you do mess
something up. Even if you rent a drywall lift for the ceilings, it should
be cheaper than hiring out, and you won't have the entire house in a
state of demolition at the same time. You can hire out the joint taping
and mudding if you wish, but it's a fun skill to learn that you'll
probably use again later on. Start in the least visible room (utility
room, closet, etc.), and develop your skills as you move to more visible
rooms like the living room and kitchen.
I do believe him, of course it is easier and cheaper to have a fresh canvas
to hang new sheetrock. However, I have to factor in the cost of demolition
and disposal, as well as resetting depth of electrical boxes and recessed
lights that will now protrude outside of the new 1/2" sheetrock, as well as
window sills and doors that would be impacted by this. It seems to trade
one headache with another. Cost and time aside, the new sheetrock will look
better, but the exterior walls will be thinner, and less sound proofing.
I guess another thing is I should have asked the electricians run the wiring
in the attic instead of pounding holes wherever they feel like, or at least
insist that they cut neat holes instead of using a hammer and pound it out,
in some cases all they need is a hole the size of a fist, but they pound and
cracked an area 18" wide. The drywall guy says these holes are a pain in
Last time I hired a demo crew, after they took down three 18' dumpster full
of the marked ceilings and walls, they left me with nails and staples spaced
8-10" apart along every furring, stud on every wall and ceiling. It took
myself and a helper 2 days to pull all the nails and staples out afterwards,
I had a sore neck for days, so I am not looking forward to it, that's all.
You should believe him as he is correct..Trying to patch up old plaster
walls and ESPECIALLY ceilings almost never ends up looking good and will
cost you just as much.I hope you didn't pay the hacks you hired to do your
last demo as it includes pulling the nails..Atleast all the demo guys I have
hired...HTH...Good luck with your project...
You are thinking "inside the box".
I have demoed many a plaster wall and gone back with drywall. One need only
fur out the studs or joists to achieve the proper finished height. You can
buy 4x8 sheets of 1/4, 3/16, 3/8, 7/16 or 5/8 plywood or osb and run them
through a table saw to create a furring strip of the proper height. This is
just no big deal. They install really fast using a nail gun as they only
need to be tacked into place. The 1-5/8 drywall screw will go all the way
through to the stud behind.
The cost of the wood is far less than moving all the boxes and modifying the
Please come visit http://www.househomerepair.com
Thanks. My plastered ceiling was already furred out with 3/4" strips, the
then "three ply plaster" was nailed/stapled to them. So in order to match I
need to either add a fur on top of a fur or remove the old fur and put in a
deeper fur right?
If I do install new fur under the original fur it's best to have it done
perpendicular to them? Which would make them run in the same direction as
I'd think that starting over would be better because the thicker furring
strips would be stronger than two layers of thin strips, but that is
just a guess.
I'd get some shims, because you want the furring strips to be precise if
you are going back with drywall, because drywall is a lot less forgiving
than plaster of wavy framing.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
Based on the photo you posted I would just add another layer to the existing
strips. When the drywall is installed be sure to use screws long enough to
completely penetrate both layers.
BTW I had to make some for a small project I have going on. I needed them
3/8 thick. One sheet of cdx plywood yielded 30 1.5" wide strips. Material
only cost equal 45 cents each. It took me about 45 minutes to rip those
working by myself.
The studs will have to be shimmed to reproduce the old plaster depth.
I had an adjuster fix my house after a fire, came home from work, and
found the kitchen drywalled and doors and windows cased.
The casings had a 1/4" gap to the drywall.
Made them tear it all out and shim.
That was a nightmare, but any good drywaller can shim easily enough.
Doesn't add much to cost.
I won't even mention how I had to show the adjuster's "carpenter" how
to cut stair stringers.
It was a "learning experience" for everybody.
You want to avoid that by getting the right people.
What you have is most likely gypsum lath (not really called sheetrock) with
plaster. This is small 16" x 48" x 3/8" gypsum sheets (made to be plastered)
with brown coat base plaster covered with white finishing plaster. There
should not be wire mesh over the whole area, it was typically placed on
outside and inside corners and over areas prone to cracking such as the top
corners of doors and openings.
Unless you only have a couple of patches, it would be simpler to gut and
install regular drywall sheetrock. This is the ideal time to fix/add any
wiring, lights, switches, plumbing adjustments, and to upgrade the
insulation and install a code specified vapor barrier.
Rooms with minor fixes, could be patched, other areas with lots of openings
should be gutted. New drywall is relatively easy to install.
The bottom layer looks like gypsum, it has a paper backing, I can see from
the backside of it it is in panels. The layer above it is darker in color
and slightly thicker. At first I thought this is another layer of gypsum
board, but if you can see, this layer "fills" in the joint between the two
panels. So this is applied on top of it. Then there is a layer of white
plaster as thin as eggshell on top, under the paint.
Here is another picture, except this one shows the middle coat has the
embedded wiremesh. It seems to be more than just at corners, but yes
definitely at the joints and corners.
This stuff is impossible to cut with regular saw blade. The typical
recipricating saw's metal blade does nothing to it. A carbide blade will
cut better, but dulls after a few cuts. The only thing I can get to cut it
is using an angle grinder with a diamond blade, that would chew through the
brown coat and mesh good.
| Here is another picture, except this one shows the middle coat has the
| embedded wiremesh. It seems to be more than just at corners, but yes
| definitely at the joints and corners.
I have the wire mesh over wood on the ceilings; not so much on the walls. I
think one wall actually has wood lath. Some walls have a type of board with
a shiny metallic covering (vapor barrier?) as the base. This was all done
at original construction (~1959) so I think they were experimenting with
different materials. I have a collection of core samples from the various
holes I've made over the years.
| This stuff is impossible to cut with regular saw blade.
It also chews up hole saws. I get maybe one or two holes per saw with
typical bi-metal blades...
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