I've taken wainscoting off of my bathroom wall that seems to have been around since the house was built (1900). Under one of the walls is an exposed horsehair plaster that was done right up against the brick/studs. The plaster is very uneven as it looks like the wainscoting was used to cover it up directly and there's no finish/sealer on it. It seems to have taken some moisture damage as well as it's powdery and crumbles to the touch.

I'm looking to basically fill in what the wainscoting was covering up so I'll need to even it up with the board above it. It's not a very thick layer but because it's uneven, some parts will be thicker. I can't put greenboard drywall in because there's a gas line going up through the plaster (see red rectangle image below) and the drywall will stick too far out to line up with the window trim/sill.

Will I be able apply plaster directly or will this need to all be ripped out? Can I get away with putting up a mesh? What kind of plaster considerations should I take into account considering it's a bathroom?

[Plaster wall with gas pipe[1]

1 Answer 1


Yep, you can plaster right onto everything. The Horsehair is in what's called the Brown Coat. The Brown Coat makes up almost all of the depth with the plaster just being the very minor finish. It's all quite moisture resistant too, like the rest below (no drywall can be trusted).

So, while the Brown coat's still moist where it meets the old plaster face, you'll need to scrape that down at the seam to leave room for the plaster. The Brown Coat stuff is cheap and leaving it low for more plaster is perfectly fine.

Though, for such a small room, I think you'd do much better by Tapconing (masonry screws) or Thin-Setting (Tiling compound) Cement-board (readily available in 1/4" thickness) to either fully bare walls or 2 Thin-setted layers of Cement-board where the wainscoting was.

  • Iggy, it's an older post and I appreciate the response. I have something put in that's adequate. But I definitely would agree with your suggestion and it's a better implementation that what I went with(for any future DIYers looking at this).
    – A-Train
    Oct 24, 2018 at 17:12
  • Yep, that's the idea and I'm glad you worked something out. You never know if someone's in the planning stage and months away from completion or diving right in.
    – Iggy
    Oct 25, 2018 at 13:26

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