09:36AM | 06/25/04
Member Since: 06/24/04
2 lifetime posts
That is the question. I have a 1920 Craftsman that I am moving onto a new lot. The plaster has cracked severley in some places. Some people say to remove it all and just drywall everything. However, this house has a ton of original wood molding and paneling, and I do not want to disturb it. We are in the San Diego area, so the insulating factor is neglible. How easy is it to replace some lath if needed and patch the plaster? I also have to re-wire the entire house, so we will be digging into just about every wall and ceiling. I'm not sure what to!?!?!?!?


10:50AM | 06/25/04
Member Since: 07/01/03
549 lifetime posts
It may be impractical to keep or repair plaster that has widespread structural damage due to moving a house. Plaster repair is probably a contractor job, and a professional would be in the best position to judge if the existing plaster is salvagable. Removing the old plaster and lath gives you access to update the house and leaves you with plenty of options for renovation or restoration. Especially since you want to rewire, and perhaps add insulation, vapor barrier etc. , this is an option to consider.

You should consult and obtain bids with several contractors to obtain cost estimates for your many refinishing options and to decide how to approach the preparation and demolition work. A professional drywaller or plasterer can finish to a very high level of finish whether you repair or refinish.

In addition to repair, you have 3 finish options: New plaster could be applied in lieu of drywall. This is definitely a professional job and the most expensive refinishing option. Plaster can be applied over wallboard, metal or wood lath. It is unlikely the contractor will want to use the existing wood lath. You will still need to remove the moldings in most cases.

A new gypsum drywall finished with a skim-coat (level 5) will have much the same appearance as the original plaster. This can have a smooth or imperfect smooth finish, and will have a moderate price. If you collect bids, get this option priced.

A lower level of finish with light texture will cost less, but is different in appearance from the original. This last option is most feasible for DIY, and would have the lowest professional cost.

Doing your own demolition and molding removal, marking each piece for location and replacement will save quite a bit of money. Trims and moldings can be carefully removed and nails removed from the BACK side (pulled through). I have worked on homes of this vintage, and often found moldings attached with cut nails. The nails tend to pull through the wood as it is removed. The trick may be to remove plaster and lath first to facilitate getting a pry-bar behind the moldings. This minimizes damage, avoiding the need to drive the prybar between plaster and the moldings. It also allows a Sawzall to be used to cut the nails, rather than pulling the boards off, risking breakage. This is useful on more fragile pieces.

Sorry for the book, but its a big question.
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