View Full Version : plaster wall problems.

10-04-2006, 05:23 PM
hey guys.
got a question, not sure it can be answered.

i've got this wall in my bathroom with a window on it.
the wall is plaster from 4 foot above the floor to the ceiling.
i replaced the bottom half of the floor with wainscoting.

i wish to paint the top half, but the plaster is cracked, and it's loose in some spots.

i would just put 3/8 sheetrock over all of the plaster, but it would push the top of this wall out that much, which would make me lose the depth of the existing winder molding. i would like to keep the existing depth of the windowing casing if i could.

1/4" sheetrock might do the trick, but there aren't many studs behind the plaster. it would have to be screwed/glued to the plaster...

any suggestions for fixing the plaster without coming out too much?

thanks for any help anyone can offer.


10-04-2006, 05:41 PM
I would remove the loose stuff first. Then I would get a tub (or two) of DAP vinyl spackling and just start filling in the cracks and holes. The stuff dries very hard and you can swirl it with your drywall knife to match the texture (if there is a swirly texture.)

10-04-2006, 06:36 PM
thanks for the reply.
you think it's best to do a skimcoat over all of the plaster?
i'm not sure i'll get great results with my limited exp. in spakling...
i was hoping to do something with 1/4 drywall, or perhaps a paper sizing...

10-04-2006, 07:04 PM
I'm not a pro at this, but I think you might find it easier to install the 1/4" drywall, especially if there is a lot of loose stuff. It would work best if you can locate the studs to screw into...since you are covering it up, a few drilled holes should locate them. Just watch out for pipes and wires! Outlets and switch boxes are usually mounted to a stud, so that should help you locate at least one or more on the wall.

I think it really depends on how loose the stuff is, and how much of it you have to contend with. If it is really loose, and there is lots of it, it might be best to tear it out. Minor cracks should be okay with the new layer over it, especially if you can hit some studs.

10-04-2006, 11:00 PM
thanks for the reply.
you think it's best to do a skimcoat over all of the plaster?
i'm not sure i'll get great results with my limited exp. in spakling...
i was hoping to do something with 1/4 drywall, or perhaps a paper sizing...

I would try the vinyl spackle first. It's infinitely easier than putting in new drywall of any thickness. This is assuming that we're only talking about a small area. There's no need to put a skim coat over all the plaster. Just mix it up, knife it on, and smoothe it out.

10-05-2006, 08:06 AM
I'd suggest joint compound.

10-05-2006, 09:34 AM
I'd suggest joint compound.

Joint compound shrinks and is not nearly as durable as vinyl spackle. Its only advantage is that you can sand it easier. And he would have to sand it a lot, since he would have to put three coats of it on instead of one coat of vinyl spackle.

10-05-2006, 01:30 PM
thanks guys.
the wall is pretty beat up.
lots of cracks, some missing spots, and in one area, (about 12" x 18") it has loosened from the lathe. it just floats there....

i was thinking that 1/4" drywall would help ALL problems, but the real issuew with putting up sheetrock is that i really don't have the studs...

wall is about 2 foot on either side of this window, and the lathe is nailed to the studs BEHIND the window molding. the sheetrock can be screwed to the lathe (not the best way obviously) or it can be screwed and glued?

has anyone glued drywall over plaster?

i'll certainly entertain the idea of using vinyl spackle. it may be the best way.

thanks again.

10-05-2006, 02:47 PM
If it is that bad, you might just remove it...you'd probably need some shims to get the new drywall out to the desired depth. THere has to be some studs behind there someplace, usually at 16" intervals or so (maybe bigger).

10-05-2006, 07:57 PM
I would tear out the plaster and put in new drywall. This is what I did on my master bath remodel. Wasn't that difficult. New drywall will look much better, give you the depth you are looking for with the window casing, and will be properly attached to the studs. If you need to add studs for support, you can do it when the plaster is gone, before you put in new drywall.

10-06-2006, 07:33 AM
i would love to rip out all of this plaster, but i know that there aren't any studs on the window side as they are BEHIND the wide window molding....
i know because i opened up the bottom of this wall where the subway tile was..
down there, i added some vertical nailers so that i could nail horizontal nailers, so that i could nail in the beadboards.
i didn't open up the top because i thought i would work with the existing plaster. my BIG mistake!

if i take down the plaster, i won't have a nailer on one side. i can screw to the existing stud on the one side- then glue it along all the other lathe? would this hold?

in order to get a nailer in there, i'd need to not only take down the plaster, but the lathe as well... this is my dilema.


10-06-2006, 08:53 AM
I would use plaster washers with galv. screws and skim coat the wall. I have used this on multiple rooms. One room looked as if they had someone locked in that was trying to get out. Walls had more cracks than humpty dumpty. looks perfect now.

10-06-2006, 10:07 AM
Correct, if you take the plaster out, the lathe comes out also. Not that big of a job. How long is this wall we are talking about?

10-08-2006, 02:24 PM
Don't glue 1/4" drywall to loose plaster- All you'r going to have is loose drywall then.
If you can hit something firm behind the plaster, I'd use screws and plaster washers. Sink them in tight and then tape and spackle the crack, and screws.
If you can't hit anything firm- and from your posts it sounds like you can't. Your best bet would be to remove the plaster and the lathe- then throw up some nailers and some drywall. In the end, this will give you the nicest look, and if the room isn't huge, it won't cost a lot of time (just a lot of mess).
hope that helps...
been through alot of the same things... OH

10-09-2006, 09:33 AM
sounds like i should remove the lathe and plaster.
i was afraid of that- it's what i thought at first.
no biggie. only about 40 sq. ft of wall to remove.
it will be worth it in the end.
thanks for the help guys.

10-20-2006, 06:49 PM
Be carefull should you take the plaster out. If you have plaster ceilings also, make sure you cut the plaster at the top of the wall so you don't brake part of your ceiling and have to replace it also. I find a rotozip works well. I have real rough plaster walls in part of my home. Can't wait for the day I can afford to rip it all out and hang drywall. As for the cracks I have been useing calken to fill them. It has worked real well so far. With the rough walls I don't have to smooth it out. Once I paint over it, you can't tell where the crack was.

Bob NH
10-21-2006, 08:43 PM
You should carefully remove the window casings. Where there are finishing nails, pull the heads through the casings; don't drive them back out.

Then you will have the studs to support the drywall.

If it is an outside wall, you will be able to add insulation, which is probably lacking since the wall is old enough to have plaster.