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100+ year old construction technique?

 
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Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 5368
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 15 1:38 pm    Post subject: 100+ year old construction technique?  Reply with quote    

Just dug into an exterior wall in the house (built 1911). Removed '70s era "wood" paneling to find sheetrock (maybe you call it drywall or gypsum board?) that had been smashed with a hammer to run electric. Figured that replacement will be faster and easier than repair, so I took off the badly damaged drywall. Drywall was directly on studs, as you would expect. Visible marks from where original lath and horsehair plaster had been.

Here's where we get to the part that I haven't seen before:
Behind the drywall, in-between the studs, there appears to be original horsehair plaster, with a very coarse finish, hanging on to lath that is running vertically. Was this just a method of air-sealing, and providing dead air space for minimal insulation?

(Don't worry, insulating before putting wall back together)

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44239
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 15 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Pictures? I'm sure Gervase (and others) would like to see

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 5368
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 15 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

tahir wrote:
Pictures? I'm sure Gervase (and others) would like to see


Can probably put some up later tonight (my time). Obviously it's not really a concern regarding the direction of my home rehabilitation, just a curiosity.

This house has been sliced up six ways from Sunday, no real history to worry about preserving. (gas heater popped into the floor by cutting the joists and not worry to head them off in any manner, slate roof "repaired" with liberal applications of roofing tar)

pollyanna



Joined: 03 Nov 2012
Posts: 221

PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 15 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Normal method of construction in UK 150 years ago. Goat or horsehair.

We found lots of hair mixed in the plaster when we renovated our home recently. Circa 1870s, old school.

When they did work on an old hospital in London they tested the horse hair for anthrax before removing it.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35189
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 15 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

i suspect you are correct about creating a dead space for thermal/audio insulation.

vertical lath is a bit unusual though

i have found a horizontal version in the floor void between the cieling and the floor boards above to give sound insulation but mostly to reduce the risk of a basement kitchen fire destroying the whole house

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 5368
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 15 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

pollyanna wrote:
Normal method of construction in UK 150 years ago. Goat or horsehair.

We found lots of hair mixed in the plaster when we renovated our home recently. Circa 1870s, old school.

When they did work on an old hospital in London they tested the horse hair for anthrax before removing it.


Totally familiar with horsehair plaster, as that was the norm here as well. Just unfamiliar with it having been used in the wall cavity space between the studs, instead of covering the studs

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 34009
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 15 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Chunks of our old house, and SiL's has that on vertical laths. Certainly common enough, as infill or actual structure.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35189
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 15 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

how odd ,ive not found vertical wall laths in hundreds of houses.

horizontal is usual but i have found a few very old ones with laths at about 45 degrees to the studs in a chevron pattern with the lath ends interlocking like finger tips on every second stud.
it gives a very stable wall and i suspect allows for not cutting new laths to length when fitting them to an existing studwork frame.

im really pleased that plasterboard exists cos lath based deep plastering work is really slow and expensive compared to sheet and drywall screws

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 5368
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 15 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Any split-board lath on your side of the pond, or was that just something we did when we had too much timber?

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35189
Location: yes
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 15 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

most of the stuff i have seen is about 3 foot long ,inch wide 1/4inch thick.

wattle formed with coppiced sticks was popular in pre georgian times as it works better with the daub mixes of pre industrial days.once plaster qualities were based on lime with sand/hair ,rather than the old dung n lime mix,laths seem to have replaced wattle .

some very old walls have hand split lath but usually in posher buildings

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 5368
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 15 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

dpack wrote:

some very old walls have hand split lath


I'm talking about split-board lath. Where you take a big fat plank and hack into both ends of the board to drive some splits most of the way through, and then you fasten that to the framing stretched out like an accordion or paper dolls. Voila, one board provides the lath for a section of wall, not just a couple inches.

I'm guessing it was more common here when there was still old-growth forest coming down. Some of the old houses have 23.5 inch wide floorboards because anything 24 inches and up went for the king's navy.....

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35189
Location: yes
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 15 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

never seen that in the uk

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 5368
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 15 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

found a decent photo: http://www.buffaloah.com/a/DCTNRY/l/lath.html

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35189
Location: yes
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 15 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

never seen that method .the uk stuff is usually a plank has been split from the end to provide strips which are nailed on individually.

the accordion method could use far less nails but i dont think there is much difference in the amount of timber used .

perhaps it isnt a glut of timber but a shortage of nails that favors the accordion method .

i wonder where it originates from ?

it is rather clever .

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