gellfex

Is 1/4" drywall over old horsehair plaster a good or bad idea?

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I'm struggling to figure out the scope of an apartment reno, I can't get contractors to even give me a price, the one I got was an absurd FU. So I'm looking at my options with a combo of DIY and helpers. A main problem is old plaster walls in deteriorating shape in places. I'd like to gut them, but maybe just 1/4 rock is best. It was done in my own home over some stucco finish that was rock hard and impossible to remove, and looks good 13 years later. I'd lose some prominence of the casings, but that might be OK,  they're pretty big.  Are there other downsides? Is it tricky to get flat? I assume it needs more screws than 1/2" would need. Getting enough bite into the wood lath to sink the head can be tricky too.

 

One of the contractors who never gave a price was a real stickler for codes and claimed the ceiling and exterior wall which was 3' from the brick wall of the next building, needed to be double rock. Seemed like BS to me, isn't 5/8 fireX rock fine for those?

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51 mins ago, Dave588 said:

I pulled horsehair down in one room. It was a mess. Insulated and Sheetrock'd. 

It's a complete mess. WAY different than taking down rock.  I did a "recon with force" today, peeling wallpaper back and excavating walls and floors to see how many layers of crap were actually there. I found a wall where they put up firring over the horsehair followed by 3/8 drywall. WTF? The kitchen floor has about 1 1/2" of crap over the 5/4 sub: 2 layers of ply, several of linoleum,  1/2" of cement in mesh, and then tile laid by someone who didn't even know what a good job looked like never mind how to do it. Here's a shot of the bath before I changed the toilet years ago. These morons tiled the toilet in instead of pulling it! I had to smash it to get it out! Note it's not even level.

 

5f237081e33b6_pr1bathtiler.PNG.9acdbfb2bbac55377b6e53be2d848b2d.PNG

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Sounds like you have some rooms that were really hacked. I recently did some plaster repair in my house( 100 year old Tudor). It’s true dimensional lumber so ripping the plaster would mean shimming all the studs to get a straight wall with Sheetrock. So I decided that wasn’t an option. My walls were in good enough shape to patch loose/bad spots. The ceiling I covered in 1/4 inch rock mainly because the stairwell had two radius’s. I still had to spot repair the ceiling with some space to get a good base, but happy I didn’t rip anything.

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14 mins ago, giant basshole said:

The ceiling I covered in 1/4 inch rock mainly because the stairwell had two radius’s. 

Nice job! Did you wet the paper to get that bend?

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2 mins ago, gellfex said:

Nice job! Did you wet the paper to get that bend?

Yes . First I took some measurements to the center of the bends, then I cut it to width, then sprayed it down with water a few times ( just the bend areas) . And finally got my rough bend with a length of four inch pvc pipe. I brought it up the ladder and started screwing from one end to the other as I shaped the bends. Thanks for your compliments.

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1 hour ago, gellfex said:

I found a wall where they put up firring over the horsehair followed by 3/8 drywall. WTF?

one, if not THE... problem with drywall over plaster centers on the screws. well.. actually the screwing and getting the screw head dimpled into the drywall..

~ As far as the old lathe under the plaster holding the screw & sinking ...or... splitting and not holding is a 50/50 chance. Result :: numerous holes from backing out screws which didn't hold & sink
~ Now you get smart and find & mark the actual studs and get rolling and feel great.... for 2 minutes, when...... you discover that those 80-120 year old studs have dried to different densities, some being firm and many like iron. Let's skip focusing on the screwheads you break off and realize how inconsistent stud density plays havoc with drywall gun clutches. ( set for a normal stud, the clutch disengages too early when driving into a dense stud - set for a dense stud, it drives the screwhead through the drywall before it disengages.)

 

This madness may explain some high estimates you're getting. Using furring is often the fastest way to establish good, workable nailing surfaces, especially when using thin drywall. 

 

But.. you Can put 1/4" drywall directly to plaster. Mark the stud locations, use 1-5/8" coarse screws and a driver with the clutch locked. This way you control the depth.  You'll still break heads off & sometimes drive through the 1/4" sheet, but, all in all, much less often. 

I'm no pro...but I've made many mistakes "fixing" my old house. Hope this helps you answer your initial question 
 

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I didn’t see it mentioned but on the jobs when they laminate walls they use the general purpose/ green top mud. Put a bunch of spots on the old wall, like every foot or so and stick the board to it. They do this on interior block walls, old Sheetrock, plaster. Often with no screws. You might have a hard time squishing the mud out evenly with the 1/4” board. Maybe if you use a piece

of plywood where your dabs are to put enough pressure without damaging the board.

 

i personally hate working with the thin Sheetrock. 1/2” or 5/8 seems to give a much better finish product but I guess it would create a whole mess with your moldings.

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I have had to install 1/4" drywall over plaster before. We glued and screwed it.  More screws than normally used. A bit of a pain and it is only as straight as the surface one is fastening to.

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I was in the same predicament about 2 years ago.

An apartment we had a tenant in for many many years, was like walking into the 60's.

Tenant passed and after all his stuff was cleared out, started surveying what needed to get done.

 

Some rooms looked OK, other's not so much. Plaster in some areas was cracked. Touching it would fall and you could see lathing.

Got quotes from 4 contractors, 3 of the 4 recommended sheet rock over the plaster and ceilings.

When I do things, I like to do them right the 1st time and not worry about things. Redoing a 2 bedroom apartment on the 2nd floor, adding sheet rock on top of plaster, was a lot more weight going up on walls and ceiling, the old cracked crap was still there and just getting covered up.

 

Decided to rip EVERYTHING out, walls, ceilings etc. Apartment was down to studs.

Glad we did. All that crap filled a 30 yard container.

There was no insulation in majority of the outer walls or between ceiling and attic. Insulated all the outer walls and between ceiling / attic.

 

Apartment got done right and got top $$ for rent.

It was a PITA, took a little longer and more expensive but it got done right.

 

I think it'll come down to how much time and work you want to put in to fix it up or how much you're willing to pay a contractor to do all that for you.

 

Good luck with whichever option you choose!

 

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On 8/8/2020 at 1:27 AM, layer8 said:

I was in the same predicament about 2 years ago.

An apartment we had a tenant in for many many years, was like walking into the 60's.

Tenant passed and after all his stuff was cleared out, started surveying what needed to get done.

 

Some rooms looked OK, other's not so much. Plaster in some areas was cracked. Touching it would fall and you could see lathing.

Got quotes from 4 contractors, 3 of the 4 recommended sheet rock over the plaster and ceilings.

When I do things, I like to do them right the 1st time and not worry about things. Redoing a 2 bedroom apartment on the 2nd floor, adding sheet rock on top of plaster, was a lot more weight going up on walls and ceiling, the old cracked crap was still there and just getting covered up.

 

Decided to rip EVERYTHING out, walls, ceilings etc. Apartment was down to studs.

Glad we did. All that crap filled a 30 yard container.

There was no insulation in majority of the outer walls or between ceiling and attic. Insulated all the outer walls and between ceiling / attic.

 

Apartment got done right and got top $$ for rent.

It was a PITA, took a little longer and more expensive but it got done right.

 

I think it'll come down to how much time and work you want to put in to fix it up or how much you're willing to pay a contractor to do all that for you.

 

Good luck with whichever option you choose!

 

Yup, alotta work but worth in the end. 

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Remember BA when deciding to demo an old house,asbestos was used years ago in a lot of building materials including linoleum flooring and sometimes added to plaster as well. Something to keep in mind when deciding whether remove or just "go over" old building materials.

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On 7/28/2020 at 6:00 PM, gellfex said:

One of the contractors who never gave a price was a real stickler for codes and claimed the ceiling and exterior wall which was 3' from the brick wall of the next building, needed to be double rock. Seemed like BS to me, isn't 5/8 fireX rock fine for those?

I can tell you in NJ- if the exterior wall is existing then it is grandfathered in and you don't need to double 5/8 sheet rock.  Only if you remove the exterior sheathing then you've incurred the new code.  

 

I feel for anyone that has to make the decision to rip out horse hair plaster walls and lathe. It always turns into way more than you bargained for and if you think it's just a matter of demoing and installing 5/8 rock then good luck with that. For an apartment rental-  don't ever remove plaster and lathe. 

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