I'm renovating a bathroom, and there was lath and plaster on one wall and in the ceiling, which I have ripped out. The problem is that the room was not originally a bathroom, but a bigger room that had been partitioned to form a bathroom and a hallway. The partition wall was put in without removing the lath and plaster underneath it (see pictures). In order to get rid of all the lath and plaster, I would have to dismantle the wall... which would mean renovating 2 rooms - bathroom AND hallway, which I want to avoid doing.

I plan to re-do the walls in the bathroom with mold resistant drywall. So how would I do this? I'm guessing that I should cut (with a recip saw?) the lath as close the partition wall as possible, then add furring strips to the studs and ceiling joists to push the drywall past the level of the lath and plaster. But this is only guesswork.

Any help appreciated.



  • The wood in left in the 2nd picture (lath and plaster) looks a bit rotten to me... which is probably why it cracked so easily. I would honestly get rid of it all. Perhaps give it a shave with a belt sander first and see if it looks better underneath? I've recently refurbished some 60-year old windows that looked even worse on the surface, but 1mm deep [surprisingly] the wood looked like new... My windows' wood however didn't have the deep splits and cracks I see here. Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 19:09
  • It's rock solid, and didn't crack easily :-p There are other areas that have some water damage that I'll be replacing, but that partition wall and the areas I photographed are not some of them.
    – Bintz
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 21:01

1 Answer 1


Like you're guessing, I would cut the lath as close to the partition wall as possible, then put furring strips [if necessary, see comments below] and drywall over it.

To cut the lath, I wouldn't use a reciprocating saw except maybe with a very fine-toothed blade. Cutting those lathing strips with a reciprocating action is going to flex them back and forth. That vibration may propagate into the other room, causing the lath to pull away from the plaster from above. The result would be cracks in the wall/ceiling or falling plaster.

Instead, I would use a circular saw. Or maybe a circular saw attachment to an angle grinder if you can't hold your regular circular saw up in the air or against the ceiling lath.

  • Furring strips where? Everything looks flat/flush to me.
    – isherwood
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 20:15
  • @isherwood: I thought that too. I figured the OP knew differently since they brought it up. Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 12:38
  • Elsewhere, someone has suggested using an oscillating multi-tool. That WOULD have some vibrating / reciprocating action, but on the upside, it's actually designed for flush cuts such as this.
    – Bintz
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 3:00
  • @Bintz: Yes, I have used my oscillating multitool to make cutouts in plaster/lath walls for outlet boxes. Pluses and minuses, like you say. I find the blade dulls pretty quickly on plaster and lath, though, so to make a long straight cut like you need to do might be hard. Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 20:25

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