You Don’t Have to Tear Down Your Lath and Plaster Ceiling
LESLIE: Wendy in Iowa, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
WENDY: I bought a large commercial building in a historic downtown of Atlantic, Iowa.
TOM: Oh, it sounds nice.
WENDY: And it had a roof leak and we have repaired that; we’ve put a new roof on. But there was a lot of damage to the second-story ceiling, which was lath and plaster.
WENDY: And we want to put a loft – a residential loft – up on the upstairs. We have about 1,500 square foot of lath and plaster that needs to come down. So my question is: is there something that’s available as an aid to funnel all of that dirt and lath and plaster down off of the ceiling and out to a dumpster?
TOM: Yeah. Let me give you some suggestions, having been through this very repair in my home, which was all lath and plaster. I went about remodeling rooms in different stages. The first time, I decided I would take all the lath and plaster out and drywalled right on top of the original studs. And after going through that mess, I decided it wasn’t as important as I’d once thought to take the lath and plaster out.
And the next time I did it, I simply put a second layer of drywall over the old lath and plaster and screwed through that drywall up into the ceiling joists and the wall studs to support it. And that was a much neater, much easier way to get a nice, clean, new ceiling without all of the mess and the dust and the dirt and the debris.
So is the lath and plaster somewhat intact or is it all loose and falling off? What’s the status of it right now?
WENDY: In some places, where there was a water leak, the plaster wants to fall off. And then in some places, it’s not so bad.
TOM: Well, if you were to put 4×8 sheets of drywall over that and screw the drywall in, it’ll probably support any loose lath or plaster that’s there. And again, you won’t have this big mess of having to tear it all down, which is an awfully big project. Because it’s very heavy, you’ll be shoveling it off the floor, putting it in trash cans, carrying those cans down. And you can’t even fill up the cans because it’s too heavy to lift them.
So it’s a big, stinking mess and if you could apply some drywall to the ceiling as it is now and attach through that drywall into the ceiling joists, it should support the old lath and plaster and give you a nice, clean surface to start with.
WENDY: OK. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: Well, you’re very welcome, Wendy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.