08:32AM | 05/25/04
Member Since: 05/24/04
5 lifetime posts
The house has plaster walls not sure as to what insulation is if any. Would it be good idea to tear plaster down reinsulate and dry wall? The plaster walls have hairline cracks but are not big or crumbling. What would be the best way to do this I live in Saskatchewan, Canada and the winters can be pretty cold here.

krista mack


09:12AM | 05/25/04
Member Since: 07/01/03
549 lifetime posts
Plaster is highly valued by people who want to keep an older structure true and original. A 1916 home probably not only needs insulated, but needs a major upgrade in wiring, plumbing and possibly HVAC. All of this can be done if the walls are stripped of plaster and lath. In my opinion, the benefits of updating mechanicals and easier maintenance and future repairs, outweigh the downside of losing original plaster walls. There will be others who disagree.

Be prepared for a mess. If you decide to do this, it is called gutting a house for a good reason. You will effectively rebuild the interior saving as many moldings and trims as possible. Big job. I renovated a Victorian about this age. It was my first home. We enjoyed the renovations and financially did OK on it. But the work seemed endless. Tom Hanks movie the Money Pit was released about this time, and I recall thinking the movie was about my life. My pregnant wife actually stepped through a grate for the gravity heat in the bedroom. When I came in, I saw her leg dangling from the living room ceiling (no harm done).

Be prepared for the unexpected.



11:46AM | 06/06/04
Member Since: 05/25/04
16 lifetime posts
Tom has given you one option. I will give you another option. I have several 100+ yr old houses (happen to be nice rental houses). Early in my experience with older houses, I went Tom's suggested route (completely stripping all lath & plaster, then drywalling). After spending the time, effort, and money doing this considerable "gutting" project (I preserved all moldings and baseboards)---After doing all of this, I showed the house to several propective tenants--- one set of prospective tenants turned down the house---as follows: They were really attracted by the exterior character of the old house---but were disappointed by the lack of character inside---they specfically missed the imperfections of lath & plaster walls (slight bulges, etc)--they specfically pointed to the walls and knew that I have drywalled them!! After that experience, I insulated all of my older houses by having insulation blown-in from the exterior. There are two important considerations when hiring a contractor to blow-in insulation from exterior: FIRST, find out how he proposes to blow-in the insulation. If he proposes drilling 2" to 3" hole through the siding---blowing in the insulation---then capping the holes with plastic caps---PHONE THE POLICE AND HAVE SAID CONTRACTOR ESCORTED FROM YOUR PROPERTY! If, instead, the contractor proposeds to remove select sections of siding---blow-in the insulation---then replace the siding, I would consider dealing with this contractor (I would want to see a house where he has used this method). SECOND, picking the type of insulation to be blow-in is important. If a contractor proposes to blow-in celious (sp?) (grown-up newspaper)--PHONE THE POLICE AND...(you know). I have always used blown-in "Rockwool"-- a bit more expensive than paper, but much superior for a lot of reasons. Well, that's another option. ---It's always good to have options. --Jaes.
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