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Cut Plaster & Lath without destroying the wall

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 41 total)
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  • #43516
    Catenae1
    Pro
    Baltimore, MD

    Hi,

    I’m demo-ing a bath in a 90 yr old bungalow and need to expand through the wall into the adjoining closet.

    My experience with plaster & lath has been less than great. What tools & techniques are best for cutting a floor-to-ceiling line in order to reuse part of an existing wall?

    DETAILS
    For specifics, pictures are attached.

    The original bath is 5’6″ x 7′. All interior walls are gutted to the studs (in progress).

    The plan is to cut through a portion of the right wall – see the pic of the plan – to allow a 5′ tub and have a sink/vanity that is centered on the left window.

    I can work on the back side of the plaster wall that is inside the closet of a bedroom – see the picture of this wall from the gutted bathroom side.

    The rectangular room will be expanded through a portion of – not the entire – wall length. So I need to cut that plaster!

    Advice? Please!

    Thanks – Robert

    #44287

    I think I would try a grinder. I have been able to make reasonable cuts using one in plaster with a diamond blade. I am sure more experience folks will chime in.

    Orange County, CA

    #44288
    jdw1865
    Pro
    Dewey, OK

    Hate to state the obvious but if you cut the plaster at the inside of the studs the stud spacing where you use it will have to be narrower that where you cut it from.

    #44301
    Catenae1
    Pro
    Baltimore, MD

    And I hate to be obtuse – but I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

    #44315
    jkirk
    Moderator
    halifax, nova scotia

    cutting the plaster where its going to end with a grinder will work but its extremely dusty.. if your going to do it this way make sure you plastic off the room extremely well . and open the window and set up a large fan blowing outwards to suck the dust out of the room

    heres a tip, dont fart in a space suit

    #44333
    jdw1865
    Pro
    Dewey, OK

    You may be planning on doing different than I am thinking. I was thinking that if you cut the plaster and lathe between two studs with 16″ on center and then try and put it back on studs with the same spacing there will be no way to nail it to the studs, it will just fall through the opening. The new spacing would have to be 14 1/2″ on center for the plaster section to nail up correctly.

    Like I said you may have something completely different in mind. I just know sometimes I forget the obvious details much to my detriment. I spent 5 hours hanging one door slab last night because I forgot to check the opening for square at the begining.

    #50575
    Rob
    Pro
    Birmingham, Alabama

    I use a small 5″ diamond blade tile saw. Wear goggles and have someone mist the cut with water (after you build a plastic tent.)
    By the way is their Lead paint on those walls?

    #50600
    FLAUER
    Pro
    MENOMONEE FALLS, WI

    I once had a similar situation but decided to demo the whole wall and sheet rock it. I figured it would save time and agony in the long run. Is this a possibility in your case?

    #50999
    Catenae1
    Pro
    Baltimore, MD

    Thanks to all for responding. Let me reply:

    Jerry,
    You wrote, “and then try and put it back on studs with the same spacing there will be no way to nail it to the studs, it will just fall through the opening.” I’m not sure what “it” means. I feel your pain about the door, though.

    Jeff,
    I understand about the dust. However, instead of opening windows I do the reverse – eliminate air flow. I wore a respirator and shut the windows so the dust wouldn’t blow around much and hopefully settle faster & more locally. But I understand your approach.

    Rob,
    In this 89y.o. house, I’m sure the walls had some lead paint. Respirator (not the paper kind, the canister kind) has been my friend during many projects.

    Brendan,
    YES! I was fretting about a closet wall and such a small section that it wasn’t worth any extra effort to save it (about 20″ wide).

    In any case, I used a Fein oscillating tool with a dull blade to score a line through the hard plaster, then broke away the trash side. The grey under coat (not the hard, white plaster) crumbled at the line. I pulled enough plaster away at the cut line to get a sawblade only on lath.

    I then used a sharp, long Sawzall blade at as low an angle to minimize push & pull on the lath. It worked well. I then pulled away the trash side of lath & plaster, letting the plaster fall off the lath and then pulled the lath off the studs.

    I was hoping to salvage the ceiling plaster, but it turns out a skylight is going in and the ceiling drywall will mount to the roof rafters for a cathedral ceiling.

    Time to get back to work!

    Thanks for your comments, and feel free to reply.

    #53210
    MattW453
    Pro
    Vancouver, Washington

    Robert,
    Let us know how things work out for you, and any tips you might have. In the past, I’ve used a grinder, but maybe there’s a better way…

    #53212
    cranbrook2
    Pro
    Belgrave, Ontario , Canada

    I always use a skill saw with a masonry blade .It is dusty but works well .

    #53214
    MattW453
    Pro
    Vancouver, Washington

    Yeah, John, I guess I’ve done that too. Makes quite the mess, though. 🙂

    #53217
    cranbrook2
    Pro
    Belgrave, Ontario , Canada

    I have a Ridgid air filtration system that sucks the dust up pretty fast .

    #53218
    MattW453
    Pro
    Vancouver, Washington

    Now that’s what I need…A filtration system.

    #53223
    Sprokitz
    Pro
    Eastern shore of, Pa

    I’ve done exactly this quite a few times. On the lath side run a few rows of expanding foam on either side of where you need to cut. After it’s fully cured it will lock all the lath together, then you can cut on the plaster side with a sabre saw without the vibration breaking everything

    #53224
    cranbrook2
    Pro
    Belgrave, Ontario , Canada

    I wonder if duct tape or tuck tape would work to keep everything in place.

    #53225
    MattW453
    Pro
    Vancouver, Washington

    Not a bad idea. It’s good to get new ideas like this; thanks, Charles! I’d have never thought of that!

    #53226
    MattW453
    Pro
    Vancouver, Washington

    Yeah, John. It’s possible. Something else to try. I think the vibration and shaking is what kills it, so eliminate that and things should go fine.

    #53262
    jdw1865
    Pro
    Dewey, OK

    Duct tape would be a good idea if you can get it to stick. Duct tape often won’t stick to dusty surfaces.

    Charles that is an excellent idea with the expanding foam. Kinda a play on the plaster paris palentologists use to imobolize fossils for transport.

    #53276
    Rob
    Pro
    Birmingham, Alabama

    Both good ideas and the plaster of paris would be cheaper and set faster.
    Thanks guys.

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