Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Plaster over Lath

I consider myself pretty handy.

When all our furniture needed to be assembled, I was the one helping my new father-in-law assemble while Tom got coffee. We recently removed the bathroom shower doors (oh yeah, I never did show you that fiasco) and I was the one who headed that project.

But I loathe "plaster over lath" walls. I hate them. Smash em all, I say.

Basically, plaster and lath was the primary way to 'do' walls until the 1950s and the end of WW2 (hence the term "pre-war"). When everyone came back, the baby boom happened and suddenly people needed houses. So, they found that with drywall everything was done much quicker.

Granted, our entire building is plaster. But I have a massive wall that I would LOVE to do something with. But, I cannot because everytime that I hammer anything into it, I hear the wall crumble a little bit on the inside and then the nail slides all the way into the wall. Because there aren't studs that I can find by simply knocking on the wall. Everything just sounds hollow. Our version of plaster over lath seems to have zero studs.

This has prevented the hanging of shelves, frames, mounting our TV and even hanging fire alarms. Yeah. The one alarm that I did get in almost got thrown across the room. Lucky for us, our small apartment only really needs one. If I had gone ahead with the second, I would've definitely had a breakdown.
And don't even get me started with having a low-hanging plate rail. Anything I install will be oddly low with that unfortunate piece of work. Who displays plates anymore (I haven't seen them since the early 90s).

Please...... Anyone out there with pre-war problems?
Tips for dealing with plaster over lath walls?


  1. While I was still battling the unemployed world, I worked with a friend doing some demo stuff. He was demoing basically a whole massive building. It was all lath and plaster. I never ... and I mean NEVER .. want to see or deal with that stuff again. My lord was that a pain. So, I feel your pain!

    1. Thank you! Was thinking I was alone here, and everyone maybe loved the stuff. And my first experience with it was in a demolition too. Only, my main issue was black fiberglass in my nose, eyes, everywhere. Was horrible.

    2. I know that feeling! The one place we were at once had a fire, so there was black soot all over. I was grateful for the chance to make some money when I needed it most, but am happy to be back to my chosen profession!


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