Before the 1950’s, plaster and lath was the typical way to create walls and ceilings. Plastering freehand and creating a smooth surface on ceilings and walls is a very difficult skill and quite laborious. The housing boom of post-World War II created a need for a faster and cheaper way to create smooth walls, that didn’t require technical skills. The answer to this came in the form of plasterboard, which was cheaper to purchase and easier to install.
Some plaster and lath walls are durable and fully usable after decades in Australian homes such as Victorian, Edwardian and some California Bungalow’s homes. These still have plaster and lath construction. But depending on the quality of installation and the level of maintenance and upkeep, the condition may be worn down or damaged.
So what is lath and plaster
Narrow strips of wood, called lath, were nailed horizontally across the vertical studs. Lath can be defined as thin, flat pieces of wood that supports plaster. These laths were placed close together. Once complete, several coats of plaster were layered on top to solidify the framework. The plaster that filtered between the laths plays an important role in the plaster and lath’s ability to absorb sound.
Why should you keep it
So in many older Melbourne homes lath and plaster is still readily found in good condition. If this is the case, in your home don’t remove it. The cost and time of removing this plaster can be costly and real waste of time. Use his base as an insulator, not only for sound but also for keeping your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Plasterboard can then be placed on top to create a smooth, clean finish for your home.
Most importantly you are retaining the history and soul of your home as well.