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  • Plaster Walls

    My daughter & son-in-law have an older house built in the 1930s. I want to level/refloor the kitchen and install new cabinets, counter, etc. However, the house has plaster walls and ceilings - none of which are flat/plumb/even/ or square! This is a significant renovation to the kitchen and I want to do something to the walls other than simply paint them.

    My plan is to use furring strips to plumb and square the walls then cover it with drywall. The only problematic issues I see are changing the electrical boxes to compensate for the increased depth of the wall. Plumbing will not pose a problem. Does anyone know of other issues I need to know about or have a better idea?

    Retired Dad!

  • #2
    Re: Plaster Walls

    You're idea was better than the one I used in my first house. I tore down all the plaster and wire lath then sheet rocked. Replacing existing electrical boxes with sheet rock mounted ones is simple enough, my concern would be the condition of the wire insulation. Some of that old wire insulation just crumbles when you touch it. Good luck. Frank

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    • #3
      Re: Plaster Walls

      You could add box extensions to bring the outlets and swithes out to the new level.

      But, these old houses can be a problem in many ways, especially as Frankiarmz noted. A lot matters as to whether you want to just add on and dress up what is there, or whether you want to go a few steps further to ensure things are up to code, etc.

      On many of these old houses (and probably most), there may not be any insulation in those walls. My home here was built in 1887 and though the kitchen was probably redone a few times, the existing cabinets and fixtures were a mess. We hired a contractor to give us everything new and when I mentioned that it might be worth the money to tear the walls down to the studs and simply check everything out and go from there, the contractor balked. He said I would be asking for all kinds of problems and he really didn't want to "go there". So, I relied on his experience and expertice... WRONG thing to do. The kitchen is about the coldest room in the house. It should have been stripped and insulated and I'm quite sorry I relied on that guy.

      Someday, I'm going to do this job over and do it myself (if I live that long). I feel there is an opportunity with some of these projects to make sure things are right. If you have the time, fortune, and fortitude I think it's worth the investment... but only if you feel your daughter and son-in-law will be there long enough to make it worth the investment. At least check things out with regard to plumbing, vents, wiring, and insulation.

      CWS

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      • #4
        Re: Plaster Walls

        Thank you both for yourcomments. We live in Chattanooga and our climate is so moderate, insulation is not a pressing issue in the remodel. I would love to demo it to the studs and update the wiring as well as other structural items. BUT, after all the money is spent, they would still have an old house that needs tons of other work. Hopefully, our country will get in better shape in the years to come and they can buy a more modern place that "Dad" doesn't have to continually work on!!!

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        • #5
          Re: Plaster Walls

          I have done this several times. I learned after the first home to take it to the studs. You will be happy with the finished product. You will also know that everything is right then. In my 1927 first home I found knob and tube with burned out insulation, (too many counter top appliances that the wire was not designed for), leaky old galvanized pipes and no insulation. You do not want to have to try to repair wiring or plumbing down the road if you can open it up now. And the cost of a kitchen remodel it should be a small increase.
          Charles

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          • #6
            Re: Plaster Walls

            In addition to the above, I urge you to exhibit caution and be on the lookout for asbestos in the wiring insulation and floor covering. I remodeled a 1941 build that had asbestos floor tile and was going to remove it before I found out it was asbestos. Ended up having to leave it in place, apply a sealer and leveler, and cover over it with the new flooring. The wiring was handled by a licensed electrician who was experienced in asbestos insulation replacement and I have no clue how he dealt with it - I trusted that he knew his stuff and just stayed away and let him handle it.
            "HONK if you've never seen a gun fired from a moving Harley"

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            • #7
              Re: Plaster Walls

              Why not just skim coat it?

              Unless theres a reason to remove plaster, I suggest you avoid it.
              And if you do, I suggest you replace it with blueboard and plaster.

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              • #8
                Re: Plaster Walls

                on a old house most of the time it will not be level or square or plumb, I was eye balling a tower with my house and said that is out of plumb thinking the tower was) the wall of the House was leaning about 2 to 3 inches,

                on most instances I would suggest to pull the plaster and lath down and insulate and rewire and plumb and dry wall or plaster,

                but in some cases depending on the plaster, out of level and how exact you want it, one can skim coat and build it out to level it some,
                Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
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                attributed to Samuel Johnson
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                • #9
                  Re: Plaster Walls

                  Most of my work is on older homes, mid 1700's & up; your project is quite modern by that standard!

                  Unless there is some compelling reason, go down to studs. This way, you can easily plumb walls for cabinetry, add necessary blocking, and run adtional circuits,etc.

                  You'll still be purchasing sheetrock, but I sense the labor "charges" won't increase.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Plaster Walls

                    Yes I have done this only I had replaced it with blueboard and plaster.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Plaster Walls

                      I'm just curious why buleboard and plaster instead of sheetrock? Aesthetic, structural?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Plaster Walls

                        Yes, Every walls should be plaster.So that it's looked beautiful and to live comfortable thank you.

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