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Gutting interior walls

I recently purchased an old (1892) Victorian home, and due to the fact that home hasn't been properly cared for in many years, and was vacant for 2+ years before I purchased it, I am doing a complete remodel. We will be completely re-wiring, plumbing, heating, etc. and the reccomendation from most of the contractors who have submitted bids is that we should gut the interior walls on both the first and second floor to make it easier and less expensive for all of their work (the old lath and plaster walls were not in good shape to begin with, so it makes sense any way). One contractor noted that whenever you gut a house of lath and plaster walls, that it affects the structural integrity of the home and you need to take steps to brace the interior. Otherwise, the house can twist out of shape, or in a worst case scenario, can even come down in a bad storm. Can anyone provide reccomendations on how to brace the walls as I tear them out? If I run 2x4s the length of each wall at the bottom, middle, and top, would that be sufficient to hold the structural integrity of the house until the contractors are finished and I can begin sheetrocking? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Timothy Miller
Re: Gutting interior walls

Howdy, I too am renovating a grand old home. Having removed most of the lath an plaster I haven't noticed any weakening of the structure. However if you want to shore up the walls consider installing 1"by 4" diagional bracing from floor to ceiling on the load bearing walls. Attach it to each stud with screws so later removal is easier. I rewired the home and removal of the plaster was a huge help in some areas an completly unnecessary in others. I ran new wire from basement to first floor and opening first floor ceiling wired second and in attic wire wired the ceiling of 2nd.
Oh after way too much demo i would recommend pulling the lath an plaster at same time not plaster seperatly. Now looking for a use for thousands of lath....

Re: Gutting interior walls

I don't see a problem with your house collapsing unless you have some unusual stud spacing other than 16"OC (on center). If that were the situation why didn't it fall down when they were building it before it was plastered. You can bet they were not plastering right up with the framers. AS long as you don't start knocking down 2x4 walls with the plaster and lath you should be fine. If you feel queezy about it put some diagonal bracing at 45% from floor to ceiling about every 10 feet.

Calcats ;)

Re: Gutting interior walls

i posted a big reply to this yesterday and it seems to have disappeared. what i did say was that if the walls are non-loadbearing then they can come down without any issues. lath does NOT provide any structural integrity what so ever. i also mentioned that you should check the license of the contractor that told you it was structural or call a couple of references he can give you and see what kind of work he does.

A. Spruce
Re: Gutting interior walls
MLBSF wrote:

i posted a big reply to this yesterday and it seems to have disappeared.

There are two threads on this subject.

Re: Gutting interior walls

Thanks for the replies. It didn't sound right to me either. I've done a lot of home improvement jobs at my current house, and do a lot of research before I start each one, and never came across this concept before.

Sorry for the two threads. I posted one in interior general before i saw the walls and ceiling category.

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