Home>Discussions>INTERIORS>Molding & Carpentry>Should I tear down plaster walls and replace with drywall?
17 posts / 0 new
Last post
Aburgess
Should I tear down plaster walls and replace with drywall?

I recently purchased a house that was built in the 1800s. Most of the house has plaster and lathe walls. The walls are all crumbling and most of the rooms have panelling covering them up. My other concern is insulating, I live in upstate New York it gets very cold, blown in insulating is not a option the house has newer siding on it. Any thought on how to best proceed?

MLB Construction
Re: Should I tear down plaster walls and replace with drywall?

what kind of budget do you have? you can remove the plaster and lathe, insulate, upgrade electric, etc. that's what i would do. don't put a band aid on it, do it right the first time. if money is an issue you can take your time and do it room by room.

Aburgess
Re: Should I tear down plaster walls and replace with drywall?

I have a small budget but I want to do things the right way. I plan on doing as much of the work as I can on my own and the help of my two teenagers. I have a good electrician that will come in and slowly update the electrical it badly needs it. So I remove the lath boards? What kind of insulation would be best to use? Anything else I should be concerned about or watch for. I'm trying to learn as much as I can before I start the first room but I will admit I am a bit lost. So any thoughts or suggested reading is greatly appreciated!

MLB Construction
Re: Should I tear down plaster walls and replace with drywall?

in a nutshell.....

1. cover the floors with a tarp or paper.
2. remove all trim around windows, doors and base trim, this can be reused if you take it down carefully.
3. remove all outlet plate covers
4. i prefer to use a spade shovel to remove the plaster, run it horizontally along the walls and it will come down quickly.
5. clean up the plaster using 5 gallon buckets or fill a trash barrel no more than half way.
6. remove the lathe, make sure to save some of it for later if needed.
7. send in your electrician to update the electrical
8. insulate the walls, depending on your stud depth i assume it will be either r-13 or r-19
9. depending on the thickness of the old plaster, it's sometimes easiest to tack the lath you took down back on to the studs. not horizontally like it was but just on the face of the studs to shim it out for the new blueboard.
10. call in the plasterer, they will hang the blueboard and plaster the walls
11. reinstall your trim
12. prime then paint your new walls.

if you need more detail on any of the steps, let us know and i or someone would be happy to help you.

happy new year

dj1
Re: Should I tear down plaster walls and replace with drywall?

Follow the previous recommendations for a successful renovation project.

Don't worry about the money, this is money well spent. Just don't make silly mistakes or changes - mistakes and changes are money down the drain.

ed21
Re: Should I tear down plaster walls and replace with drywall?

The only thing I would change to MLB's recommendations would be to use drywall instead of plaster. It will be easier on the budget.

Aburgess
Re: Should I tear down plaster walls and replace with drywall?

Thank you so much for all the help! I was leaning more towards the drywall for the budget but also because I can put it up myself. I am curious why take out the trim? I am thinking that will be hard to do and keep it in a good enough condition to reuse. Thanks again!

MLB Construction
Re: Should I tear down plaster walls and replace with drywall?

you have to take out the trim so that you can get all the lathe off and so that the trim will rest nicely and look good on the newly finished walls.

ed21
Re: Should I tear down plaster walls and replace with drywall?

Since you won't care about the plaster, you can use a variety of flat pry bars/tools to work the trim off. Take your time and figure out how it's nailed and you should be able to remove the trim with minimal damage. Any holes from nails won't matter since you can fill the holes before painting. Reusing the same holes usually doesn't work since the head often gets pulled through the wood.

Don
Re: Should I tear down plaster walls and replace with drywall?

Do yourself - and your next owner - a favor and make sure the floors are flat before putting up new drywall.

If you have uneven floors and get them leveled after drywall install, there will be cracking and gaps in the drywall.

Seth
Re: Should I tear down plaster walls and replace with drywall?

You might not need to take out the trim first (though it probably is the "right" way to do it). If your walls are like mine there is no plaster behind the trim. When they made the walls they put a 1x1 or so wood strip along the studs about 8" above the floor, plastered above that and then put on a 1x8 below it. Then they put the floor down, firmly pinning the trim to the wall and making my life a nightmare. So when I pulled some off, after great effort, I had a 8" hole with cold air blowing through. And of course it was dimensional, making it even harder to find replacement pieces.

Also, depending on the age of the plaster there could be a risk of it having asbestos. You can mail samples away for tests and have the results emailed to you the same week.

Pages

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.