Lath & Plaster Wall Replacement with Dry Wall

by Robert
(San Diego, CA. USA)

Plaster and Lath removal

Plaster and Lath removal

If I purchase a house that was built in the 60's, it likely has Lath and Plaster Walls. My concern is that these walls are expensive and more difficult to maintain than Dry Wall (from my experience), and plaster and lath looks out-dated. When people buy an older house, are all these surfaces replaced or just repaired?

Also exteriors, I am talking about houses near the beach in San Diego. To remove the "dated" appearance and make them look "not so dated", what materials are recommended that will not be susceptible to dry rot and are low maintenance? These will not be inexpensive, likely over $700K to purchase.

Where would you start, beyond looking at the roof, insulation, etc?




Hello Robert,

Replacing plaster and lath with drywall is a choice based on cost, personal preference, the condition of the plaster, plus mechanical updating needs.

When updating the electrical from knob and tube, adding more electrical circuits, phone and cable lines, and if new insulation is needed, I wouldn't hesitate to replace lath and plaster with new drywall only because I do that type of work myself and save tremendously on labor costs.

Is it out-dated or are old plaster homes considered charming?

When people buy older homes prior to 1978 with plaster and lath, there are new requirements from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
they now have to consider about lead based paint removal or containment, it is the RRP program.

Your second question concerning exterior updates on a $700k home near the ocean depends on your budget, whether it is going to be your home, or an investment property.

I would start with an exterior designer or an architect for drawings on an updated style and a recommended material list meeting specifications for the salt water ocean environment.

I wouldn't want to recommend vinyl siding on a $700k home if you can afford beautiful stone, brick, and the variety of cement siding product.

I have found retired architects in my area that still work and are less expensive than when they worked full time to get some preliminary estimates and great professional ideas.

There must be a building supplier near you to recommend exterior materials for you.
They may provide you with colored brochures and sometimes samples to show your architect, designer, and contractors.

I've added a few photos at the top of your question just to show how huge the project can be when replacing plaster and lath.

Hope this gets you started Robert,

Joe the Rehabber

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