As you may already know, an older home tends to need a bit more TLC than others. They’re great for those who love to DIY and want to truly make their house unique to them. Some homeowners choose to take on remodels themselves. If this sounds familar, you’ll likely need to take down a wall or two to truly transform a room.
Plaster walls were commonly used in homes built before 1950, before drywall was introduced. These walls were made to last, so it’s no surprise that if you’re looking to remove a plaster wall, it can be a tedious process. To help, here are a few tips.
1. Prep the Area
Before you begin removing plaster walls, you’ll need to do some prep work so your project can be completed successfully. Removing plaster walls can create a lot of dust, so you’ll want to tarp off any doorways and flooring you want protected. Seal off any air ducts and vents to protect the rest of the home from the dust. Remove any furniture from the room, as you’ll need plenty of space to work as well. You’ll also need to remove any outlet plates and fixtures on the wall. Put these parts aside.
2. Safety First
As mentioned, removing plaster walls is a tough job. Don’t forget protective eye wear and gloves as well. We also recommend this as a DIY project for those who have experience with a few home improvement projects. If you are new to DIY, you may want to contact a pro who can help remove plaster walls.
It’s important to make sure the room is safe to work in. Turn off any electricity and water that’s going to the room. Locate any wiring or plumbing lines. You’ll also need to be sure that the wall you’re removing does not disturb the structural integrity of the home.
3. Give it to a Dumpster
When removing plaster walls, you’ll need a place to properly dispose of the material. A dumpster can make easy work of disposal as you work through this project. These costs can vary depending on how long you’ll be renting and the size of the dumpster.
4. Save The Molding
If you intend on replacing your plaster wall with drywall, it’s a good idea to save the wood moldings. If you’re working with a pro, they will know the best ways to save your molding for future use.
5. Slow & Steady
When you’re ready to remove your plaster, it’s important not to start striking the wall aimlessly. Strategically begin tapping a top corner of the wall with a hammer until a hole has formed where you can see the lath. Once you have this hole, use a prybar to carefully pull off the plaster, working downward. Do not expect this to be a quick process. The more careful attention you pay to what you’re working on, the easier the work will be.
6. Remove The Lath Strips
After the plaster is removed, you’ll need to remove the lath strips. Be aware that these won’t break off into large chunks, so it can be tedious work. Lath strips will also have nails in them that can pose a safety hazard. Plaster and lath is a technique often found in old homes, so some of the nails you find may be rusty. Wear gloves and proper safety gear when removing nails from your wall.
7. Clean The Room Thoroughly When You’re Done
Removing plaster walls is a big job with a big mess. The dust created from this project will be very fine, giving it more opportunity to get into the air. When throwing the wall debris away, be sure to gently place it in a trash bin, as to not allow more dust to get over the room. You’ll likely need to dust, sweep and mop the room multiple times after the project is completed.
8. Contact A Pro
Removing plaster walls is a big job that if not done correctly, can have serious consequences to your remodeling project. If you’re not confident you have the tools or instructions necessary to complete this project safely and successfully, contact a pro who can help.
Removing plaster walls is a big and messy job. By doing it yourself, you can cut down costs on your next remodeling projects.