Dating past remuddeling projects

gordon_2010March 14, 2011

We recently purchased an old Victorian style home, although most of the Victorian personality has been stripped from it over the years. It was built in 1882 and the original owner lived here until 1934. The electric and running water where added sometime in the 20's or 30's with some upgrades done in the mid to late 40's. We are living in it and working on it at the same time so it's a work in progress. Our intentions are to upgrade the mechanical aspects of the house, which we've started to do, and then restore as much of the Victorian charm as possible.

I'm trying to date some of the work that was done in the past and I'm wondering if anyone can tell me when the transition from plaster and lath to wall board/sheetrock occurred? It's my understanding that when wallboard or sheetrock was first used the practice was to install the wall board and then skim it with plaster??? Then in later years it was taped and finished with the drywall compound instead of being skimmed.

We are now in the process of replacing some of the walls that were removed and also replacing the open banister staircase that was removed and closed off (the house was at one time turned into a duplex). As things progress I'll post some pics.

Thanks for any info about the plaster and lath to drywall transition.

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A system using a 3/8" thick gypsum panel (16"x48") was in use at least by 1930. It was used in place of wooden lath, and received a three-coat finishing system, ending up with a 3/4" thickness. Drywall finished only with taped seams is a bit later, like post war, The adoption was a slow process, and rocklath was only completely phased out within the past 5 years. Veneer plaster systems("blueboard") were introduced in the 50's, and finally surpassed and replaced rocklath as the premium wall finish system. Reducing the time factor is key in every newer system; rocklath was faster to hang that wood lath; Veneer plaster is even faster, as there is no delay needed between the brown coat and the white coat, and of course drywall requires the least time and can probably be accomplished by trained monkeys, from what I see on HGTV ;-)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 10:24PM
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Casey, thanks for the info! The transition started a lot earlier than I had thought, although I think it may have been a little later here in rural Minnesota. We've also come across what looks like two different types or grades of plaster while removing the many layers of wall paper. Some is somewhat dry and crumbly, as I had expected from old plaster, and the other is hard as concrete.
We are replacing a wall that some PO in the past had removed and patched the plaster where the wall had butted into the remaining wall. We want to remove the patch so as to tie into the studs properly but we're having trouble chiseling out the patch. I'm not so sure they didn't use QuickCrete or SackCrete!
My wife and I got a good chuckle out of your comment about drywall, trained monkeys and HGTV! Nice one.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 4:02PM
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