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I live in an old house with horsehair plaster walls. One of the walls in my living room has a large crack running the length of the wall. It appeared after someone sat on the sofa with a little too much enthusiasm and pushed it into the wall. I've tried repairing the crack but because the wall is now "squishy", the plaster can now be pushed in without much force, the crack reappears the first time anything touches it.

My question is, can I drywall right over the existing wall without much hassle? Or is there a better way? If this is the best/easiest way to fix this, how do I make the joints between the new drywall and the old, like the ceiling, look correct?

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Just want to highly recommend not doing this. Quite a few rooms in my house were drywall'ed over plaster; it continues to infuriate me that the previous owner did this and I've made it my goal to rid the house of this problem. It adds much un-needed weight to the house and ultimately the foundation, makes it difficult to run cat5e, coax, etc... general upgrades to the house and as I remodel room by room and I find out I need to do double the work (remove the drywall and plaster) I curse the man that did this, god rest his soul (hes passed). ie: dont be a dick - do it properly :) – lsiunsuex Feb 24 '12 at 15:38
either fix the plaster, or gut the room. don't compound the issues. – lsiunsuex Feb 24 '12 at 15:40
Mario, do you think The Evil Greebos method is an acceptable way of repairing the plaster? I'm all about doing it right, but also want to do it as inexpensively as possible. – Mateo13 Feb 24 '12 at 16:21
I do! The goal with drilling the holes in a grid pattern is to allow the adhesive to seep behind the plaster and bond it to the lath. I also heard of using something like this: amazon.com/Plaster-Repair-Washer-100-Count/dp/B0053Q9QR4 this will give surface contact as well as behind. Do the same: drill the hole, fill with adhesive and then put that in. Plaster is a style now; the common is drywall. Some people like how it looks, some don't. I opt to remove it. If you like how it looks, repair it and keep it. If not, do drywall. – lsiunsuex Feb 24 '12 at 16:33
up vote 11 down vote accepted

You can drywall over the plaster, but you'll have to do the entire wall and screw through the plaster into the lath/studs.

Alternatively, you can fix the plaster itself. The problem is, it's separated from the lath. The fix for this is to drill shallow holes into the affected area JUST DEEP ENOUGH to penetrate the plaster, not the lath. Drill the holes 4" apart in a grid pattern.

Then use a caulking gun and inject construction adhesive into each hole to create a glue layer behind the plaster between it and the lath.

Press the plaster up against the lath with a flat board, holding it ONLY UNTIL THE PLASTER STICKS. Don't leave the board there too long or the glue will grab it too. Slide the board up and down to keep it from sticking while the glue takes hold between the lath and plaster.

Allow it time to dry, then patch the holes and paint.

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Thank you! That sounds much easier than pulling down the molding and putting up drywall. – Mateo13 Feb 24 '12 at 14:41
Cool trick Evil. Never tried it, but I will. Thanks – shirlock homes Feb 24 '12 at 15:45
There are also special adhesive products for reattaching plaster to lath. Here's an article about one: thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,1628100,00.html and a video: thisoldhouse.com/toh/video/0,,20210037,00.html – Shimon Rura Feb 24 '12 at 16:32
Wouldn't it be easier just to hold the board in place where it's not covering any of the holes until the glue is dried? – Dan Neely Feb 24 '12 at 16:45
You can, but you risk bonding the glue to the board. – The Evil Greebo Feb 24 '12 at 21:18

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