should I cut a 'window' through my interior plaster wall?

groundhog_forestSeptember 15, 2005

Am I crazy? Do you have suggestions? Danger of lead? Asbestos? Tons of dust? How to avoid destroying surrounding plaster? Cracks?

Here's the idea: Cut a small (appx. 2' x 2'), window-type opening through the wall between kitchen and stair/foyer at about eye-level above the floor.

Idea is to make the width match the studs on either side, and add small recessed light at top for effect, wire to existing switch nearby.

Any experience with cutting and creating frame in plaster walls? Any suggestions welcome.

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Friends of mine did that in their @1870 home. They had a lovely little stained glass and leaded window and no where to put it, so they put it in the living room wall, where it glows in a little dark cubby of a corner off their dining room.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 6:40AM
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If you cut to the studs, usually not to hard.
Ending between studs gets a little harder.
For wood (or metal) lath expect some cracking and damage.
For gypsum lath careful cutting (use a rotozip) will produce a clean cut.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 12:18PM
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My first experience with widening a door was an eye awakening adventure. I used a sawzall and it grabbed ahold of the wood lath and cracked the plaster everywhere. Learning my lesson, I bought a concrete blade for my circular saw and set the blade depth to about half an inch and cut the plaster first. Then I change the blade to a regular wood blade and cut the lath.

Yes there will be dust. Put up plastic, wear a repirator and googles, and talk some unsuspecting person to hold a shop vac hose close to the cutting to cut down on the dust. Just make sure the vacuum canister is outside of the enclosure so the blower doesn't make things worse. Yes I've done that too.:)
I use telescoping sanding poles with rubber feet on the end to hold the plastic to the ceiling. You can buy zipwall poles but they are 120 dollars a pair.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 9:42PM
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I,ve had great success with curtain-wall and i suggest you to use

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 1:48AM
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First off, I say it's a wonderful idea - I did the same thing between a kitchen and dining room and have been very pleased - adds interest and practical benefits to both rooms.

Main thing I question is your width calculations. You initially said 2', but they you said between the studs, which is more likely about 14". I don't think 14" is wide enough for a window, so you'll probably have to "header up" one stud, especially if it's a load-bearing wall. It's still doable, and in my opinion, worthwhile, but there will be a little more framing involved and you may have to make the opening bigger to give yourself room to work.

As far as cutting in goes, I used a reciprocating saw held at a very hard angle to cut through the plaster first, then angled in to cut the (wood) lath. If you're cutting right next to a stud, cracking adjacent plaster should be less of a problem.

Psteenhoek's idea of using a circular saw with two blades sounds theoretically better, but the problem with plaster and high speed blades is dust, and lots of it. I prefer easing in a recip saw blade to cut the plaster, clean out the loose plaster, then get a new blade to cut the wood lath. It takes a bit of a touch with the recip saw, but is much less dusty than a circular saw cut (though still dusty enough!)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 1:02PM
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I had something like that done a long time ago, and loved the result. It was in the second story hallway of my 1867 "Carpenter" Victorian. I cut a large opening in a stair hall, opening it up to the staircase below.

It created a ton of dust and the contractor had quite a job patching the plaster, but the overall effect was wonderful. Tons of light, a much more open feeling.

Go for it!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 3:48PM
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