Lath and plaster walls grace many traditional homes. Thick, substantial, and great at soundproofing, walls constructed out of lath and plaster are rarely built anew anymore. They tend only to be repaired, not built from scratch. Drywall has supplanted plaster and lath as the wall covering of choice. But if your home does have this older interior wall-building system, you may be curious about how it is constructed and how it compares to drywall.
Plaster and lath walls are built from a frame of vertical studs. Studs are spaced about 16 inches apart. Wood lath is nailed horizontally to the studs. The lath is made up of narrow strips of wood that are about one-half-inch wide. These boards are spaced about a half-inch apart. They provide a network of support for the plaster.
Plaster is applied to the lath in a wet state, with a trowel. The plaster is allowed to dry. The plaster becomes hard as it dries. It forms a smooth, hard surface that covers the wood lath completely.
Plaster and lath is a heavier wall system than drywall. Because the plaster is applied in a thick layer, it is good at soundproofing. Plaster and lath walls last much longer than drywall walls. Plaster walls are resistant to fire and insects, so they are often found in commercial buildings, like schools and offices.
But plaster and lath walls are difficult to repair. They are also difficult to construct from scratch. Plaster walls require a great deal of experience to build. Drywall can be cut and installed with relatively little experience. Plaster walls are also heavier and more difficult to handle than drywall.
If you have a plaster and lath wall in your home, you may be wondering if it is up to code. Check with your local building department before making any changes to your wall. Many building codes allow lath and plaster walls to remain in place. But if your wall is not up to code, you may be required to replace it with drywall.
Lath and plaster refer to an interior wall construction technique that typically predates the 1940s. Four-foot-long strips of wood lath, typically 1-inch wide, are nailed directly to the open wall studs. The lath is then embedded with three layers of wet plaster. The plaster dries to form a hard, smooth surface suitable for finishing, first with primer, then with interior paint or wallpaper. Plaster and lath wall systems are rarely used now, except to repair existing walls or to refurbish historic buildings. Read more about stucco fundamentals here.
Nurse Stucco Inc. is a locally owned Stucco & Plaster Contractor business, and all of our employees are fully qualified to ensure our customers receive the highest performance on the jobs that highly skilled and experienced craftsmen can provide.
We take it a step further… every job we do has our name on it, so we take the time to make sure that we provide you with the very best possible quality craftsmanship and we earn our Better Business Bureau A+ rating each and every day.
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Reach out to us for a free estimate on your lath and plaster project – call us at (619) 561-7429, or use our Contact Form to get in touch.