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Lath and Plaster – Background

Lath and Plaster Renovations:

Anyone who was a teenager and had a house party is well versed in the doorknob hole in the wall repair; this is to most of us the introduction to drywall and plaster repair. However unlike drywall and the act of quickly throwing poly-filler into a hole so your Dad won’t see the hole before he gets home from vacation is a far cry from working on lath and plaster.

First off – one must look way back before the manufacturing of gypsum board was prevalent in the United States and Canada. One would place thin strips of wood across the studs with around a half inch to quarter inch gap between the strips; this is what is called the lath.

The plaster in our house is made up of mortar, sand and horse hair. Strangely enough horse hair in some cases was used back in the old days as a binding agent much like fiberglass fibers are used today in mortar and cement.

Now to understand why this house has such huge cracks one must look at two big variables:
1. The house is situated in Redwood City, California – which is prone to earthquakes from time to time.
2. This home has never been seismically updated over its 80 year lifespan.

Most pre-war house foundations were built without re-bar installed within the concrete – this significantly weakens the concrete and does make the foundation susceptible to cracks and movement.

Next section – Tools required for repair work

1 comment

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