Should I remove plaster and lathe or can I just remove plaster?

by Cherilynne
I have an 1882 Balloon construction house that has some pretty extensive plaster falling off of the lath. I know that the lath actually adds to the wall stability, and I know that the outside walls were sheathed with 1" boards running diagonally up the sides of the house. Would I be better to remove the plaster, leaving the lath and put up dry wall over all of that? Or should I remove both and then drywall? Or should I consider the lengthy option of using plaster washers and trying to repair it where I can? One spot is nearly 4' x 3' of exposed lath. It's on a sloped upstairs ceiling and I know It can't use the patching option. Many of the other places in the house might though. I also would like to do this myself as much as possible. This is NOT a historical rebuild, it's a we need to live in something that doesn't scream "ghetto".

  3 answers
  • Norris720 Norris720 on Jun 26, 2017

    CherilynneHometalker - For your remodel, drywall will be your best opinion for repair. To repair plaster is a labor intense process not for a D.I.Y. because you do not want it to look,,"Ghetto." For Lavish plaster repair you will need a Professional.

  • Helene Elbein Helene Elbein on Jun 26, 2017

    I've lived in historic homes too! There's not really a "rule" about what to do. I'll give you my pros vs. cons : your really beyond the patch phase, especially if you've got large sections that have released. More will just continue to release with each seasonal temperature change. If the lathe is wood ( in 1880, probably), it will split and break as you attempt to remove the plaster layer. Some remodeler (on the cheap!) used to drywall over the lath, but then your wall thickness changes and all your mouldings need to be removed. Also, new drywall is soooooo much easier to work with. Your job will actually be easier over the long haul ( think wiring, lights, switches, hanging pictures, etc.). Yes, it's a huge mess doing the demo. But, it's worth it. Just remove lathing up to corners or moldings. Use a reciprocating saw to get clean edges at the top of baseboards, etc.

    Wear masks and googles and use heavy duty drop clothes to contain the mess. You can do it! At least the demo! Don't attack it like warfare...think of it more like surgery 👍🏻

  • William William on Jun 26, 2017

    I agree with Helene. Remove both. Some of the lath may be warped and uneven. The plaster is smooth on the surface but the lath may not be level, plumb, and bulged. Cover doorways, vents, openings with plastic sheathing.