The History of Plaster and Lath Walls

Most homes prior to the Second World War were built with lath and plaster walls, as opposed to the drywall method more commonly used in today's construction. Thin pieces of cedar (called lath) were nailed onto the 2x4 framing, then wet plaster was applied onto the lath in one to three applications.

Depending on the quality of the original installation and the maintenance of the home, such lath and plaster walls, may be in good condition. With adequate maintenance, they may be fully serviceable and usable. In some cases, layers of wallpaper were applied on top of the plaster for decorating purposes. Since that wallpaper contributes to the stability of the plaster in some instances, its removal could contribute to the demise of the wall covering.