Plaster Walls


Old 11-19-99, 03:09 PM
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OK, DH and I have been arguing about this for quite sometime and I thought if anyone had an answer it would be you guys or at least you could point me to a helpful website

Our old house (1880) has plaster walls in the LR, DR, and office. It's craking really bad and really needs to be replaced, plus we really need to re-wire the entire house as all the wire is the old cloth covered kind and I don't really trust it. I think we should take down all the plaster so we can re-wire and insulate (we barely have any insulation now) before putting up drywall.

DH thinks we should put floater strips on top of the existing plaster and run the wiring through the space created by those and put drywall on top (no insulation), then when we side the house, put the styro insulation under the siding (which I want as well) and that will be enough insulation for the place.

I'm just wondering if anyone has tried doing what he has in mind and how it worked. Any and all opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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Old 11-19-99, 03:10 PM
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Not sure what you mean by 'floater strips', but the wall should be framed with 2x4s to protect the wiring from nails, etc from hanging pictures.

This is not a place to cut corners!!! Many problems we advise on stem from h/o taking shortcuts.
Old 11-19-99, 03:11 PM
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'Floater strips' enough to place wiring behind. There is also not enough space to put your electrical boxes for plug ins and switches. I have had to do this myself and wound up using 2x4's flat against the old surface, and it still was not enough room. I know, it's a lot of mess and work, but you really should remove all the old lath behind the plaster and route your wires between the studs. Then use rigid styrofoam boards ( or whatever you like) between the studs for insulation. It's more work initially, but you won't have to curse later, because you have to do it over.
Old 11-19-99, 03:12 PM
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Most important, and I forgot, tch.
Do not do piece work with the wiring. Remove all the old wiring and string new. Your wires will overheat and cause your house to burn down, if you try to combine old with new.
Old 11-19-99, 03:13 PM
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What a project. It really sounds worse then it is. Just very dusty. If you go with the strips use 2x4's on edge. This will work, but will make the room smaller, and you will have to build out for your doors & windows. My sugesstion is to tear off the old plaster. One room each day. that is about all the dust and mess one can stand. Replace new wiring, and put rolled insulation in the walls. Then sheetrock. If you are going to reside also, tear off the old siding, and put up stryofoam insulation board. You will have to use 3/8" fan board, because anything thicker, will require you to build out your windows & doors. Good Luck
Jack the Contractor [email protected]
Old 11-19-99, 03:14 PM
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When you reside the house are you going to remove the old siding? If so, there is probably no sheathing underneath it and it should be relatively easy to insulate with normal batting between the studs (remember the vapor barrier faces the "heated" or house side) and to even do some of the wiring from the outside.
You can also do some rewiring by cutting holes where you need outlets and threading the wires through the existing wall cavity between the wall studs to an access point above or below. Ideal only for rooms with an open attic or basement above or below the space. You can then put drywall directly over the existing plaster.
I had a 100 year old townhouse once. It was very challenging.
Old 12-13-99, 01:21 PM
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There are a lot of responses but there is an important thing
that must be mentioned. Do not overlay with furring strips.
Tear out the lath and plaster, rewire, reinsulate, install
vapor barrier and install the sheet rock. Some indicated
that you could rewire from the outside, maybe so, but do
not do it unless the local electrical inspector will allow
it. The wiring must be inspected and it must be inspected
before it is covered up with insulation, vapor barrier and
sheet rock.

Some responses indicated that when you take the siding off
there may not be any sheathing. If that is the case, I would
suggest that you add sheathing because sheathing helps brace
the house. Sheet rock, lath/plaster will not support the
stress on a wall without sheathing (So wiring from the out-
side is not feasible because you must aks yourself what will
keep the house from blowing over in a high wind while you
are waiting for inspection and before you install new

Someone asked the question about removing the old siding
before installing new sideing. Yes, you must remove the old
siding because other wise the new siding will stick out past
the brickmolding or maintenance-free window framing, which
ever the case may be, and it will allow rain water to get in
behind the siding. When removing the siding and installing
new, check with you local building official before you
install "fanfold foam insulation" because on some codes, you
need to do air quality testing in the house before and after
you install "fanfold foam" insulation on the outside because
it "tightens up" the house. Again, check with you local
building inspector to see if that is required in your area.

Clifford A. Olson, Home Inspector
AC Home Inspector - *Free* ezine
[email protected] Subject=DIY
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