A wall is metal lath on studs, covered in a coarse heavy plaster (or light cement, I don't know what it is) and over that is a thick layer of tile cement and then ceramic tile. The whole thing is about two inches thick in total. I want to demolish it.

The main issue is the metal. It's strong but stretchy, it resists smashing, prying, slashing. I can't use metal snips because it's full of embedded plaster. Thinking about a sawzall but I think that would be a big disaster. An angle grinder? I'd be grinding through two inches of plaster and cement.

What's the right approach to this?

I can pry the tiles and the tile cement off pretty easily. They come off cleanly in chunks with little effort. Probably not supposed to but I'll count my blessings. But the bottom layer, as shown in the photo, is the hard part.

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  • 1
    If older than the 80s, have you tested it for asbestos? I am guessing that working from the other side is no good. 2 inches seems like a lot to ask from hand power tools, maybe see about renting one those cement big circular cutters.
    – crip659
    May 2, 2022 at 13:54
  • Yes the other side is accessible. If there is a better approach from there please answer!!
    – jay613
    May 2, 2022 at 15:03
  • Would still need to break/cut it into sizes you can handle, but with the other side accessible, should be able to pry it off the studs(if attached with nails/wires). The metal will be closer also, so a grinder can cut it in small sections. The plaster/cement will break easy after. Still messy and work. Usually the other side was just finish and seldom people want to remove it.
    – crip659
    May 2, 2022 at 15:31

1 Answer 1


Bang the all the plaster off with the side of a hammer. Cut with sawsall until it starts getting caught. Then use snips. When you're done you roll up the metal and shovel the plaster and into 5 gallon buckets. Don't use larger ones or they'll be too heavy.

Finding and cutting the wires that hold the metal lath to the metal studs helps. Make sure it's cut clean away from the ceiling or you'll pull parts of that down.

  • 2
    Check for asbestos in all layers, and bash (i'd use a sledge, hand or full-size as space permits, but "lightly" for sledgehammering) until you've just got metal, and then you should be able to detach the metal from the studs with a prybar. Wear a dust mask and ventilate well regardless.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 2, 2022 at 14:08
  • 2
    diy.stackexchange.com/a/49726/23295 Requirements: Hardhat, safety glasses, respirator, leather gloves, exterior ventilation fan, plastic tarps separating the living space (held up with extendable ceiling poles), 5 gallon buckets for plaster; contractor bags for lath/drywall, playing Tetris as you fill the dumpster, one hammer.
    – Mazura
    May 2, 2022 at 14:10
  • 4
    You WILL get cut. ... And one first aid kit.
    – Mazura
    May 2, 2022 at 14:12

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