And there was a huge amount of work that went into creating those plaster walls. They started with wooden lath (thin wood strips) nailed evenly across all the studs. Then they coated the lath with a rough 'scratch' coat, that sometimes included horse hair or other binders. That oozed between the wooden lath to create 'keys', which add strength and stability. Then they topped it with a brown coat, to even out the scratch coat. And finally, they added a creamy finish coat to create that smooth, beautiful finish that I love.
Sound time consuming? You betcha! And as you can imagine, all that time and labor was expensive. So with the introduction of drywall, plaster quickly fell out of favour.
But plaster is pretty amazing. It's obviously thicker than drywall, is more fire resistant, and deadens sound better. Better yet, its durability lasts for decades (sometimes centuries). What drywall can do that?
|Lath in back bedroom|
Of course this 1928 house was filled with plaster walls. And some of them were in such bad shape, we had to tear them out. In fact, when we jacked up the kitchen floors to make them level, several walls cracked so badly, they fell apart all by themselves. But the other walls just had some random cracking and bowing that could be easily repaired.
Want to see the pro secrets for repairing old plaster? Andy Lavelle of Lavelle's Painting Co. came out with his team to do the repairs. And it was a lot of work!
Here's how he started on a hole in the ceiling. First step, you need to cut the plaster back to a stud to secure the repair.
Watch how they do it here - doesn't it look easy??
The woodwork also needed some attention. See this before photo with the ugly old drips on the antique rosettes? Andy scraped off the drips, repaired the bumps and now it gets 2 coats of crisp white semi-gloss.
The China Cabinet is almost finished. All it needs is the glass shelves and the original doors to be installed. It's gleaming after the prep work and coats of fresh paint!
Andy's got more work to do - but we're thrilled with the progress and the restored, original plasterwork!