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I'm in the process of re-doing my kitchen. One of the issues I have to deal with is that the original construction is double brick, furred out with 1 inch strips, then plaster over gypsum. This means that I don't really have enough depth to install electrical boxes, and there is no insulation in place.

Detail: enter image description here

What I considered doing was removing the plaster and gypsum, screwing steel studs to the furring strips, insulate and drywall. I realize that this is probably the proper solution.

But, I really don't want to deal with all the mess and disposal issues that removing the gypsum and plaster would entail.

What is the advisability of simply putting a steel stud wall up right in front of the existing wall?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Freestanding steel studs are fine (assuming they are anchored to a sill and top plate). Steel studs anchored to the furring strips are fine. Why wouldn't steel studs anchored to the furring strips, plaster and lath be fine? The only limitation would be if the lath and plaster had significant bowing or hollowing in spots that the new studs came in contact with (minor hollowing would not make much difference).

Also, as you install, you want to make sure that crumbling plaster does not get wedged in a way that prevents the studs from creating a smooth planar surface.

While plaster is not much of an insulator, you still have a bit of air trapped between the plaster and the brick in the furring strip troughs. Add high density batts or rigid foam between the steel studs to improve the R value.

If you are very concerned about insulation, wood studs are poorer transmitters of heat and should be considered. Also, creating a real thermal break by not having the inner wall directly abutting the outer wall would improve the situation. But this approach does eat up interior space.

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I have to go with wood anyways. Kitchen Cabinetry is going to hang off off it. So I need wood. Ran the idea past the Inspector who verified that my basement hole was indeed a hole, and could fill it with concrete. He was fine with the idea. – Chris Cudmore Jul 11 '14 at 15:23

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