How to Remove Plaster from a Wall

Lead Image
  • 4-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-200
What You'll Need
1 by 2 boards
Pry bar
Wire cutters
Putty knife
Garbage can
Shop vac
Plastic sheets
Protective eye wear
A face mask
Work gloves

Removing plaster from a wall can be a time-consuming home improvement project. There are many homes, particularly older ones, that have a plaster covering on the walls rather than plaster. The job is simple to complete but it is also quite messy.

Step 1 - Take Safety Measures

Be sure to put on protective eyewear, work gloves, ear plugs, and a face mask before you begin to remove the plaster. This project is messy and you will need to protect yourself from any flying plaster.

Step 2 - Prepare the Room

If possible, remove all the furniture from your room. Use old sheets to protect any items that are left in the room. Use the old sheets to protect the floor. Place a garbage can in the room. You will need it for all of the plaster you remove from the walls. Use a screwdriver to remove any outlet plate covers located on the walls in the room. Place the plates and screws in a safe place until you need to reinstall them.

Step 3 - Check the Walls

Check the walls that require the plaster removal for any wiring or plumbing lines. It is important to know the location of these items to prevent them from being damaged during the removal process. Turn off the power source to the room at the main fuse box to prevent any electrical damage.

Step 4 - Support the Wall

Use a drill and screws to attach one 1X2 inch boards around the perimeter of each wall to support the wall in position while you are tapping or hitting it with a hammer to loosen the plaster.

Step 5 - Remove the Plaster

Use your hammer to carefully break off the plaster from the wall. Either knock with force or tap the plaster lightly to loosen it from the wall, depending on your situation. Place the plaster pieces that fall off easily into the garbage can. Continuing breaking off the plaster until the entire room is complete. Use a putty knife or scraper to remove any plaster that remains stuck to the walls. Be careful not to damage the walls as you scrape off the plaster.

Step 6 - Remove the Plaster Base

Plaster is installed over thin wood strips which is referred to a lath. Newer plastered homes may have a metal mesh layer under the plaster material in place of the lath. Both the laths and the mesh will also have to be removed. The wood strips can be pulled off with a pry bar. In the case of the mesh underlay, it will need to be snipped from the walls with wire cutters.

Step 7 - Clean Up the Area

Be sure to take the plaster in the garbage can and dispose of it in a proper and safe manner. Use your shovel to pick up any plaster from the floor. Sweep up smaller debris and then finally use your shop vac to suction away any small particles left in the room.