Home>Discussions>INTERIORS>Molding & Carpentry>To remove Plaster and Lath....or not?
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To remove Plaster and Lath....or not?

Hello.....I have a home which is in Northeast Pennsylvania and over 100 years old. We are redoing the bathroom. It has lath and plaster for walls and about five foot of the wall from floor is covered in tileboard that someone glued to plaster.
We are debating whether to cover plaster with nice tileboard or wainscoating to keep it inexpensive. But when I try to peel off the old tileboard a lot of it sticks to plaster from the glue. I'm not comfortable glueing new tileboard over the remnants of the old tileboard and glue.
We were also debating whether to remove plaster......or plaster and the lath...........The plaster isn't in bad shape. Just crumbling a little near the floor from what I can see.
Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!!

Re: To remove Plaster and Lath....or not?

I would remove everything to the studs. This will give me a chance to do some checking, replacing and improving behind the walls. Anything from electrical to plumbing and insulation.

Re: To remove Plaster and Lath....or not?

I would only remove the plaster and lath if absolutetly necessary. You can not have a better wall for a bathroom than plaster.


Re: To remove Plaster and Lath....or not?

In a bathroom this old, I usually want to see what's behind the walls: will I find dry rot? mold? damaged framing members? missing insulation or wet insulation? outdated wiring? subcontractors' cutting corners? unpleasant smell? etc, etc.

Removing the existing lath and plaster will enable you to find out.

Re: To remove Plaster and Lath....or not?

We moved into a two bedroom one, one level, bungalow style home a little over a year ago. The plaster and lath walls are so solid it's hard to get a nail in them to hang a picture. We'd like to leave the walls alone and avoid the sheet rock mess. We've been through that a couple of times with homes where the old walls were crumbling. Is it a good idea to save the plaster and lath as opposed to drywall? We do have some patching, but for the most part it looks and feel solid.

Do we lose heat keeping the existing walls, or is sheet rock and new insulation better? I'm sorry if that sounds like I'm rattling.

Re: To remove Plaster and Lath....or not?

As opposed to sheetrock, lath-type plasterwork has a lot more thermal mass which increases felt comfort and makes the HVAC work less hard after the desired house temp is achieved. It is also a much better wall finish for humid areas. Plastering over blue-board offers neither quality so I consider it a waste of time and money. Either restore the plaster or rip it out- six of one, a half dozen of the other but for one thing: good plasterers are tough to find these days and not cheap. And as noted, opening th wall allows easy repairs and upgrades if they're needed which is likely in an old house. So maybe 3 of one and 3/4 dozen of the other seen that way. Guess what I do in these situations? Yep, rip it out.


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