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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default Remodeling plaster walls

    Live in a home built in 1920's. Balloon framing. Just pulled down kitchen ceiling. Want to do room over in drywall. Do we rip the plaster and lath down on the walls. Heard that studs may be uneven. Is this true in all cases. I would like to DIY but not sure I can do it if I have to shim out walls to hang the drywall. Had a contractor just look at it and he recommended drywalling over plaster. I've been watching Holmes on Holmes and he usually recommends always taking old out before starting new. Any suggestions greatly appreciated. I did check other threads first. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,584

    Default Re: Remodeling plaster walls

    The biggest advantage to going down to the studs is having unobstructed access to re-do the wiring, plumbing, insulation and venting. You will not be burying unseen problems or rot. Also, if you merely go over the existing plaster, all the woodwork trim will have to be adjusted for the new thickness of the wall.

    Off course, you may encounter some uneven studs, but in general, the quality of the workmanship and materials were much better in those days gone by. You will very likely find true dimension 2x4's cut from old growth, seasoned lumber.

    It is a heck of a lot of work and mess to strip down to studs, but you will make it up in ease of putting up the new stuff and not having to compromise.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Remodeling plaster walls

    Ok we are having this work done. Does this seem like an reasonable estimate. Our kitchen Ceiling is 13x14. We are having the ceiling drywalled along with approxamately 2.5 walls. One wall 10x14, one wall say 10x10. Then a couple other partial walls. Estimate is $3200 for removing the plaster and lath on the walls, leveling the ceiling, insulating the voids in the wall and the room will be ready for paint when finished.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,584

    Default Re: Remodeling plaster walls

    It is difficult to say if the cost is reasonable. It depends on the going rate in your area. I would get at least 3 estimates. The question is also how much is your spare time worth?

    Personally, I would consider doing at least the demo and insulation work myself. This is dirty, time consuming work, but not brain surgery. Whether you want to tackle the other work depends on your skills. I always hated doing drywall, especially smooth wall. It is a talent to do it fast and well without raising horrendous amounts of dust.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,084

    Default Re: Remodeling plaster walls

    True, you'll need more bids to compare, even though this one, for $3200 is not so bad, if it includes removing old plaster, disposal, all prep work, insulation, new drywall sheets, taping, mudding and finish.

    get ready for dust.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Elyria, Oh.
    Posts
    236

    Default Re: Remodeling plaster walls

    Most of that $3200 cost is the the labor of tearing out the existing plaster. It is a lot of work. You could probably save $2000 of that $3200 by simply going over the existing plaster with drywall. You could use 3/8 drywall or even 1/4 inch drywall and not have to change out any baseboards or trim work. In all the kitchen remodeling I did in my 20 unit apartment building built in 1912 I never removed the plaster just went over it with new drywall and you can not tell the difference.

    There is also another issue that has not been discussed here. Plaster in the 1800s and very early 1900s used horsehair as a binder. Once the horses had been replaced with autos as the basic form of transportation asbestos became the binder as horsehair became in very short supply. Any house built in the 1920s could easily have asbestos used as the binder in the plaster. You will most likely run into a lot of coal dust also as balloon framing encouraged drafts from the basement to the attic and every time coal was dumped in the basement lots of coal dust got deposited in the walls.

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