Take a guess: how might an old medicine cabinet hole be filled?

artemis78August 30, 2010

Okay, so clearly this is all hypothetical, but thought I'd throw this out to the forum and see if others with old homes have encountered this and can share their experiences!

Our bathroom used to have a recessed medicine cabinet, and we have a new one that we're going to put in. You can still see the outline in the plaster that shows where the old one was (it's been filled and painted, with a mirror over the space).

So the next project is to hack into the plaster and frame out a new opening for it so we can install this thing. I'm wondering what we're likely to find back there, though. I know there's no way to know for sure until everything is off and the wall is open, but trying to map out the possibilities so we can be prepared.

What are the ways you can imagine that someone might have filled a cavity from an old recessed cabinet? The walls are wood lathe and plaster, so if they did it properly (not holding my breath on that!) I imagine we might find wood screwed in to mount the new plaster. What other potential scenarios can you imagine? We're not sure when the cabinet was removed, but the lights and mirror on that wall scream mid-80s so it might have come out then.

Trying to figure out the range of tools we might need based on what we'll encounter--thanks!

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We did it by framing the opening on the inside with 1x3 and cover with a piece of drywall. The drywall is a size thinner than the wall and then plastered over to come out with the same thickness as the wall.

Could be a piece of plywood also. If you can see where it is it should be fairly simple to remove. I highly doubt that they patched with lath.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 11:06PM
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I would do as hendricus suggested.

Sort of OT,but when I removed my old built-in metal medicine cabinet and the contractor was rebuilding the floor of the bathroom, we found oodles of used razor blades at the bottom of the wall studs. Those old cabinets sometimes have a slot to push used blades into!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 9:42AM
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30 seconds with a hole saw will tell you exactly what layers there are.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 3:06PM
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Thanks---yes, this is sort of what I'm guessing is in there. Hoping to tackle this over the holiday weekend, which means hitting the tool library before it closes for the duration. Just wanted to get a better sense of what other oddities I might find in there to make sure I'm well-equipped!

Thanks! I'll post an update when I find out what's actually there...

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 3:56PM
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What I found behind mine when I took it out, was a huge hole bashed in the masonry wall and a thin drywall box built around my Neighbor's recessed medicine cabinet. [The houses were subdivided into apartments (later condos) all at the same time]. I wondered why I could hear them. It reminded me of that old RiteGard(?) commercial. So much for fire-stopping. We cleaned up the hole and filled it in with masonry again,and then plastered over it.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 2:25PM
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Hmm...could be anything, or nothing. My "wish for you"? Cash! Neatly stacked behind there by an eccentric PO. :-)

Likely? Heavens, no. Lol. (But come on, now, hasn't anyone but me secretly dreamed of that when forced to "open something up"?).

Seriously though, looking forward to hearing how it goes for you. Hope whatever's behind it easily accomodates your plans. :-)

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 12:52PM
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Former owners of our medicine cabinet hole filled it hendricus suggested. They left an envelope with a note. "Sorry, no money, no gold." Me? I leave current news magazines and other fun stuff to be found in the future.

Whatever you do, leave a trail.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 10:57PM
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Golddust, I love that story. That envelope/note would ALMOST be as fun to find as cash or gold. (Ok, not nearly - but it shows that PO had a cute sense of humor!). Was there a date on it?
I can't believe I've never thought to add something myself! Thank you for suggesting it, I will now - & I'm having fun thinking of things to tuck away. :-)

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 1:45PM
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If the gap is not more than 1-2 inches I would install the new cabinet and fill the gap with Easysand.

If you need some backer, strips of foam insulation can be wedged in the gap.

I had a renovation on an old house that had a medicine cabinet mounted on the wall surface.

I decided to simply recess the existing cabinet (why spnd money on a new one, the old one was in good shape).

After removing it and cutting through some plaster, I found the original recess had been filled with bricks (on edge) and plastered over long ago.

It took about an hour to clean everything up and put the old cabinet in the recess.

Some Easysand20 filled the perimeter gaps.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 4:15PM
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