New York City offers beautiful homes with historical value. Unfortunately, if you own one of them, you may have plastering work that requires repair or replacement.
Any home built before the 1940s likely used this approach to create a stunning interior. If you’re unsure, ask if your walls are lath, thin wood strips attached to walls to create a structure. If they are, the outer surface is likely plaster.
In the 1950s, NYC homes saw drywall panels installed with joint compounds to create a faster and cheaper structure. As a result, it doesn’t crack as often as plaster, which means fewer maintenance needs are necessary.
If you have plaster walls in your home, contact King Installation today for a thorough inspection. We repair and replace existing surfaces to help your historic home feel new again.
Why Does Plaster Need More Attention?
Older homes require ceiling and wall finishes to offer breathability. Wattle and daub walls rely on moisture evaporating through them to prevent condensation, as do old stone and brick structures.
When you have a plaster issue that requires repair, the goal should be to restore the historic structure. However, if you use modern techniques that emphasize energy efficiency, you can inadvertently seal in moisture, leading to decay and damage.
King Installation will help you determine what plaster type your home has to ensure an accurate repair occurs.
- Most NYC homes built before 1919 use lime plaster for the walls. We’ve found houses constructed in the 1950s with this product.
- When the plaster has a pink color to it, that means it is bound with gypsum.
- Some plastering has an earthy color, indicating that an earth binder was used to create the surface.
Older homes that were replastered with modern materials or those with damp walls might benefit by having the work replaced with lime plaster. Our team can inspect, recommend, and repair these issues and more so that your home continues to provide stunning results.
Why Choose to Keep Plaster Walls in Your Home?
Traditional plaster uses a combination of powdered lime, sand, and fibers to create a rigid structure. Older homes often used horsehair to generate this result. Installers would need to put three coats on the lath (if not more) to create a hard coating that was at least an inch thick.
This technique allows older homes to have more usable interior space. In addition, less room is needed for insulation and other materials because the plaster performs that work. It also dampens noise transfers, which you don’t receive with modern sheetrock.
Plaster is worth keeping for those traits, but it also benefits fire resistance. It doesn’t combust, which means it cannot be accidentally set on fire. The only potential issue is oxidation, but that doesn’t occur unless it’s exposed to extreme temperatures.
A final consideration involves the craftsmanship of the installer. Trowel marks and different swipe notations give each room character and personality. Even if the differences are slight throughout the house, you can experience different moods because of this work.
The results can last for more than a century when the plaster is installed correctly! Our team can help you maximize its lifespan with regular inspections and necessary repairs.
Should I Update My Plaster Walls?
Although plaster makes sense as a material in older homes, it can lead to potential issues during renovation or remodeling projects. The biggest problem involves retrofitting because updating wiring or plumbing requires cutting into the wall directly.
Homes with plaster serving as the insulation might not be up to code. The R-value of insulation has evolved since the 1970s to offer more energy-efficient options. You might consider having insulation installed between the studs, lath over the top, and then plaster over that to maintain your home’s traditional character and charm.
That depends on how resistant to moisture your NYC home is from the exterior. If any leaks to the wood lath, the plaster could be released.
King Installation can help you choose whether to move to drywall or continue with plaster in your home. We can remove the old wall entirely to install sheetrock directly on the studs, use joint compound to create an even surface, and have each room looking incredible for a fair and affordable rate.
If you’re looking to update your NYC home, complete a new construction project, or have wall repairs to finish, our team brings the experience you need to each situation. Reach out today so that we can put together a no-obligation quote for you to review!