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Keep plaster walls or replace with drywall

We have just bought a new house that has been partially renovated. The house was built in 1909; however, the trimming has been painted and the kitchen and bathroom have been completely re-done. The walls in these rooms are now drywall. The other three rooms on the main floor are plaster. Also, the plaster is in acceptable condition, but you can see every area they had repaired over the years and it looks pretty bumpy. We had considered texturing it. However, we might just consider replacing the three rooms that are plaster with drywall if it would not be extremely expensive. The other good news is we are not moving into the house for another 2-3 months so covering our stuff would not be a problem. The dimensions of the three rooms are below.

Living Room: 18 x 13
Bedroom: 15 x10
Formal Diving Room 16 x 10

If possible we would like to add new trim and crown molding throughout. Also, we would like to add chair railing in the dining room. Does anyone know about how much this would cost with and without labor for a project like this?

Or do you think in the long run it is worth keeping the plaster walls and just to texture it?

Need your help,


Re: Keep plaster walls or replace with drywall

Cost wise it would be cheaper to leave the existing plaster walls in place.
However, considering the age of the home and without any further information --- it might be worth considering removing some of the plaster walls to upgrade insulation , electrical and plumbing. This would be more expensive but in the grand scheme of things your home would be safer , warmer/cooler and more valuable for resale with the upgrades.

2 cents worth. :)

Hank Bauer
Re: Keep plaster walls or replace with drywall

As a restoration plaster in my opinion, I would check with the State archives and ask if it would have any Historical value?
Also check with a good realtor for his opinion of the house with / without plaster for resale value.If your area has a Historical organization check with them.
As for plumbing upgrades chases can be cut in the existing plaster and repaired to match existing.
As for electrical in most cases small hand holes can be cut in walls and ceilings for new wires with little damage and repairs are keep to a minimum.
As for insulating check with a local insulating company that is knowledgeable about older homes and has completed this type insulating.
Look at it this way for 100 years everything worked ok with the plaster WHAT WAS DONE RIGHT?
As for refinishing the existing plaster I would skim coat all walls and ceilings after all repairs are completed with a restoration plaster.
I would use one of the following.
Master of plaster.
Franklin Stucco Venetian plaster
American Clay plaster (watch damp areas on this one)
If one of the above is selected make sure it is lime based and not Synthetic

Re: Keep plaster walls or replace with drywall

Well, you can do what the first poster suggests or you can take care of the problem for a long time. If you have the funds, I'd insulate, put new drywall up and do the job right.

Re: Keep plaster walls or replace with drywall

We recently purchaced a home that was bult in 1905. We decided to remove the plaster from the walls and put up drywall. Our walls are lathe and plaster and it is quite a bit of work to remove and a VERY dirty job. But, we are happy we did this because we found knob and tube wiring in the walls that needed to be replaced and while the walls were open it was the perfect time to have any electrical work done (and less expensive)we had additional outlets put in and a receptical for and overhead light/fan. Also, we were able to insulate which will be very beneficial. Some costs you need to consider... disposing of the lathe and plaster (will you haul it to a waste site or get a dumpster), electrical problems you may need to fix,etc.

Re: Keep plaster walls or replace with drywall

If I were in this house for the long haul. I would gut it down to the studs. You state that you have a few weeks before you have to move in. What a great opportunity to put in some "sweat equity" and have most of the mess dealt with before having to live in it! You don't really need a general contractor. The order of remodeling is clear: demo, electrical, insulation and drywall followed priming of the drywall and re-trimming of the woodwork.

As a painting contractor, I liked to be the last tradesman in, just before the carpet installation. If the wood floors are to be redone, I preferred that they be re-done before I painted. Sanding floors makes too much mess being done after the painting. It is not difficult to protect new floors.

Re: Keep plaster walls or replace with drywall

Oh lets just tear everything out and make it new then you can have a old looking new house!!!!

Those plaster walls will last a hell of a lot longer than drywall but hey do what you wallet will allow.

That seems to be the consensus here.

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