Lath and plaster removal
Lath and plaster is an old type of interior finish that’s found in most homes built before World War II. The most common type of lath is wood, though metal lath is also found (and is more difficult to remove). Although lead-based paint is more likely on exterior wood siding than on interior plaster, it’s a good idea to test for lead because removing plaster creates a lot of dust. Chapter 5 explains how to use a lead test kit.
The common mistake in removing wood lath and plaster is to use a claw hammer or sledgehammer and try to remove both materials in one step. This method is slow and exhausting, and the head of a hammer is simply too small for the job; all you will do is punch holes in the plaster and break the wood lath. Also, you end up with a pile of intermixed lath and plaster that is difficult to shovel and bulky to move. A much more effective method is to remove the plaster completely, clean it out of the room, and then come back in and remove the lath. Pulling off the lath in a separate step allows you to more compactly bundle the lath for efficient removal and possible recycling.
By removing plaster and lath in two steps and keeping them separate, it’s easier to move both materials out of the house for disposal.
Photo by: Brad Guy
Hitting the wall with the back of a shovel will crack the plaster. Work up and down between the studs.
Photo by: Steve Culpepper