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Plaster & lath walls-Can I cover w/drywall

I'm in a house built in 1870's. The rooms are large, the walls are plaster. I'm trying to avoid problems hanging things on the walls and wonder if, rather than stripping wall paper and fixing old plaster, has anyone ever just covered the existing walls w/ drywall? I can remove all the door/window moldings temporarily since I know drywall would take away the "depth" of the moldings if I didn't, then re-hang after drywall is installed. Has anyone done this? What problems developed? How were they solved? Am I crazy to even consider this? I hope someone out can help me make this decision!
Thanks - JB

Re: Plaster & lath walls-Can I cover w/drywall

I don't see why it couldn't be done. This way of avoiding a ton of work (remove wallpaper, repair drywall) is used a lot. You can even use thin (3/8") drywall. Just make sure the new drywall is screwed into the studs using longer drywall scres (2" to 2-1/4"). Also make sure you bring the new drywall to the door casings, not the door jambs.

Re: Plaster & lath walls-Can I cover w/drywall

I think you can do it, but I think you are going to have issues with the doors and windows. You can remove the casings, but the jams will need to be filled in too. If your casings and jambs are painted, then any wood strip can be put in and painted, but if they are stained or varnished wood, then you will have a problem.

If you just remove the lath and plaster, you can do a proper insulation job on those exterior walls before you go back with the drywall.

If the only issue is with hanging things, just pre-drill your holes through the plaster.

Re: Plaster & lath walls-Can I cover w/drywall

Thank you Keith and DJ -- this plaster is so old and crumbly in places (some old water leaks) I think the wall paper and then paint is all that's holding alot of it up. My neighbor, who is a Cabinet Maker from the "old Country" says that if I take down the plaster and lath first I can check/replace any old wiring that's still in there and in use (I've added new outlets but some are stil pretty old) and insulate the outside walls.
I neither of the doorways has a door and I don't plan on putting any there so I'm not too concerned about the door jam itself, just the opening and casings. It's also painted, not stained. This has been helpful -- I guess the question now is do I want all that mess but...........maybe taking it down would be the wise thing if I'm doing it, I should do it right.
Thank you guys --- anymore thoughts from anyone would be appreciated!

Re: Plaster & lath walls-Can I cover w/drywall

In light of the new facts that you presented in your last posting, I think that you have to remove the old plaster.

Since you mentioned that the old plaster is crumbling, it won't be a good idea to cover it up. Who knows what else is going on back there. Also, removing will give you an opportunity to examine the studs, the electrical, to check for mold, etc.

Mess or not, it's worth the effort...and you won't have to redo the casings.

Re: Plaster & lath walls-Can I cover w/drywall

If you remove the lathe and plaster call your local waste disposal company for a roll off dumpster. One average size room could yield 1000 pounds of debris. Don't fill an average size trash can more then half full or you can't lift it. The dust will filter through the entire house so if you are living in it and have a wife she will not be happy. Don't plan on putting the trash cans on the curb for the city to pick up - most cities will not pick up construction debris. It is a huge amount of work - more then you realize.

Home Depot or any drywall supply company carries quarter inch drywall which will hardly be visible depth wise. It has to be handled with care but if I can install it anyone can.

Re: Plaster & lath walls-Can I cover w/drywall

It's even heavier than that. My kitchen ceiling(11x18) alone was 1200 lbs. I have the dump scale ticket to prove it.

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