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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm bidding on a bathroom remodel job.
The house has all plaster walls. The homeowner wants the plaster taken out of the bathroom and replaced with green board and Durock. There is no sign of any cracks in the plaster so I tried to convince her to leave it alone.

They have PLASTIC tile halfway up the walls.

I'm not experienced in plaster work. What am I getting myself into if I decide to break out the plaster and lathe? I know the studs will be unevenly spaced.

Should I walk away from this job?

Thanks
 

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Sounds like a big can of worms to me. If there is no way to know what's behind the plaster you may want to do a time + materials... could be easy, probably be a mess though. We're redoing a 19th century house right now what started as a simple patch turned into a 3 coat resurfacing w/ new wood lath and everything.
 

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Don’t walk away from the job. Use plenty of dust protection and remove the plaster in as large of pieces as you can. Don't hammer the plaster off. Cut it with a reprociprocating saw and then pry it off the studs. Put a disclaimer in your proposal that you are not responsible for any cracks or damage that might occur on the plaster finishes on the opposite side of any partitions that your removing plaster from. Also add time and materials to true the walls in preparation of the new sub-straight. Along with the studs not being 16” or 24” on center they may not be straight and true. This is sometimes common with plaster because it can be corrected with the brown coat.

Good luck,
Charlie
 

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Frank, welcome to CT, please complete your profile and introduce yourself to the gang on the intro page, As far as your question, any bathroom remodel, (a true remodel) adresses all the old wiring and old plumbing--GUT THE BATHROOM like the customer wants, do it right, If this job is out of your league, and i think it is, get someone with experiance to work with you, or pass on it. GMOD
 

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I have no idea where your homeowner got his crazy idea to rip out sound plaster.

It would be helpful if you tell us what type of plaster is on the wall or at least what era the plaster is from.

One advantage to plaster work, when done properly (not always the case), is that it can be used to correct framing flaws. You mention irregular stud spacing, but in addition ceilings can be leveled, walls made plumb, corners squared, etc. In other words, you might reveal previously unknown carpentry issues that now you have to deal with in a medium that does not allow for corrections so easily.

Of course, times being what they are I would not tell you to walk away from money. Still, this idea seems ludicrous.
 

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I have no idea where your homeowner got his crazy idea to rip out sound plaster. Still, this idea seems ludicrous.
Maybe the homeowner has some crazy interest in an updated bathroom with new plumbing, up to date safe wiring, and some insulation to keep themselves warm. GMOD
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the quick responses all.
Genecarp, I will be doing it all. I'm doing this remodel to make it ADA compliant for the homeowner who is restricted to a wheelchair.
I will update my profile soon.

Thanks again.
 

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Stripping the old plaster and lathe is an easy but messy thing to do. It will go everywhere so tape off doors, plastic sheeting is your friend. For a careful demo job, scrape the plaster off then pull the lathe. A flat bar or shingle bar works well.

Depending on how wavy the walls are and where you need to access for other work you may be able to leave the lathe in place. Remember to fur the walls back what you need to so the face of the board lines up with jambs. If the walls are wavy use 1/8, 1/4" luane and lathe strips to straighten them out. If you do build them out use longer DW screws so you get back to the studs.

Set some sort of allowance for time fixing the old walls, as rogerhattman said, old plaster can cover up a lot of issues.
 

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Yes agree with all, extremely dusty and messy. Definatly dust protection or you may find yourself stuck cleaning the whole house. I'd be sure to let the HO know this is a messy job. Is there a window in the bathroom? Preferably you dont want to be tracking though the house as much as you can help it during the demo stage... and if you must, def use plastic where you are going through.... Good contractor trash bags too.
 

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If you're going for it definately take your time masking/protecting everything.

What we do:

- Cover floor with red rosin paper using blue tape, (so you don't damage their floor)
- Cover the rosin paper with 15 lb tar paper using duct tape. (make sure you duct tape the tar paper to the rosin paper/blue tape or the residue will be tough to pull up when you're finished.) Holds up very well for the whole job, a safe surface for stilts/bakers, waterproof, and you can even sweep it clean. We also make a path from the room we're working on to anywhere we need to go in the house, the home owners always love it.
- If you skip the rosin paper step the tar paper will mark up their floor and the duct tape will leave a nasty residue and if you just use paper it will tear easily and water will instantly destroy it.


- Zip walls w/ painters plastic will cut down the dust and a window fan blowing out will create negitave air pressure keeping the dust from going to the rest of the house. Be sure to wear a dust mask since that stuff is full of silica.

- Once you get the plaster started it comes down pretty easy. A regular hammer works great. I've found that if you start a hole and then hit it at an angle toward the open space you can take about 3" at a time. (Your goal is to 'bounce' the lath to break the keys in back and it will fall right off.)

We just did a whole room like this today, went really fast, but very dusty and a lot of debris. Hope it works for ya.
 

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Al Smith
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How do you know the studs will be uneven? And how do you know its wood lath? (its not lathe) If its a bathroom it just might be wire lath. and don't go all gung ho with a sawzall. There might be some active knob and tube wiring or surface mounted galvanized water pipe just underneath your lath. There's a difference between deconstructing and demolition. Start deconstructing the walls at the ceiling prying it off the studs by the wire lath. or start at your medicine cabinet hole. Try to get 16 X 48 (wire lath) chunks off the walls if you can and carry them out instead of swinging a hammer and creating dust. You will be surprised how smooth it goes with a little forethought. these are the jobs I love to take while those with less experience are running the other way $$$$
 

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Al Smith
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If you're going for it definately take your time masking/protecting everything.

What we do:

- Cover floor with red rosin paper using blue tape, (so you don't damage their floor)
- Cover the rosin paper with 15 lb tar paper using duct tape. (make sure you duct tape the tar paper to the rosin paper/blue tape or the residue will be tough to pull up when you're finished.) Holds up very well for the whole job, a safe surface for stilts/bakers, waterproof, and you can even sweep it clean. We also make a path from the room we're working on to anywhere we need to go in the house, the home owners always love it.
- If you skip the rosin paper step the tar paper will mark up their floor and the duct tape will leave a nasty residue and if you just use paper it will tear easily and water will instantly destroy it.
Learned from a water damage restoration guy to use sheets of masonite on the floors, Its nice and hard, it doesnt scratch the floors underneath. the masonite seams can be taped with blue tape or duct tape. You can reuse it on the next job after wiping it down. And you can save all that tar paper for the roof instead of leaving asphalt skid marks on everything it brushes up against as your tearing it up and carrying it out.
 

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I am with Gene on this one. It would not be a full remodel if old lath and plaster were left in place.

Rip that crap out and update electrical, plumbing and insulation. The end result will be a much better job.

Of course you may have to rework the framing some. Lath and plaster can hide uneven framing but this is not always the case with gypsum. I have one plasterer that does work for me that always shows up with long straight edges for straightening walls but most don't bother doing this.

Good luck
 
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