My house was built in 1915. It has cracked (original?) plaster over lathe, poor insulation, leaded paint, and knob and tube wiring. To fix all of these things, I'm demo'ing the upstairs down to studs. The ceilings too. (I'm leaving the exterior siding and existing roof) After updating the wiring and insulation I'll put in new drywall.
This is the first time I've taken out lathe and plaster. The plaster doesn't have asbestos but the paint does contain lead. I'm doing the full abatement: respirator, taped plastic barriers, hepa filters, etc. I'm doing it myself, and it sure is messy :)
As part of this project I'll replace the old windows. They're double-hung, single-pane, painted shut, weights removed, with some cracked glass.
(OK, these particular windows aren't painted shut...)
I want to keep the existing look of the windows. It was recommended that I use window inserts instead of new construction flanged windows, although I've never done this. I'd paint over the existing leaded paint on the window trim.
However, all of the trim is put over the top of the plaster. The lathe and plaster add up to around 1/2", but it's very irregular. It seems to vary +/- 3/16". So if I dig the plaster out from behind the trim, I'm left with this varying gap between the trim and the framing.
Finally to my question. How is this done? I have a few ideas, but I'm hoping you can suggest better ones! Or tell me I'm on the right track. Or, tell me to suck up and simply replace the whole thing...
Take off the lathe/plaster up to the trim. Install drywall up to the edge and fill any extra (varying) depth with mud, caulk, or moulding.
Leave the window trim in place and dig out the plaster an inch or so deep all the way around making a "lip". Then slide drywall into place under the lip and fill in any gaps as above.
Remove the trim very carefully, and reattach it over the new drywall.
Any suggestions? Thanks for any advice.