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Drywall installation in 1950

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by glenlivet, Jan 21, 2021.

  1. Allan Allan

    Allan Allan Tele-Afflicted

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    College debt is a great way for banks to make money, so there was a big push for education. You could never actually get a degree in underwater basket weaving and then come in as supervisor. You'd just have a mortgage sized debt and a stupid degree.
     
  2. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    If I had a hammer...

    ...I’d be able to do ANYTHING
     
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  3. Minivan Megafun

    Minivan Megafun Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    My house was built in the early 50's and I've got this crap on my walls. This isn't "drywall" in the sense that we are all used to now. There was a transition period between plaster and lathe and the modern 1/2" drywall board and this was it. What this guy is installing are 1/4" thick sheets of Gyprock board. They came in 2x6' sheets. This took the place of lathe strips. After all this gyprock is installed, a plasterer would come in and they apply about 3/8" of mortar type plaster and then a skim finish coat. The result is walls that are very stiff and heavy. This stuff is a nightmare to remove or work with. Try and put a nail in it to hang a picture and it just chips. You can't cut it effectively and the dust removing it is awful. You basically have to smash it off with a hammer and it comes off in chunks rather than sheets.

    Here's a cross section of what it looks like:

    Left to right: Gyprock, Mortar layer, Skim finish layer.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. RobRiggs

    RobRiggs Tele-Meister

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    Chinesium! I just sprayed coffee all over my keyboard :lol:
     
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  5. ale.istotle

    ale.istotle Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I have the same stuff. House built in 1951. Just looking at your pictures I can smell the dust.
     
  6. Buckocaster51

    Buckocaster51 Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    I grew up in a house with that material.

    Tight.

    Solid.

    On the edge of my memory, I can just remember watching it go it.

    "Schrammie" the plasterer did a great job.

    Color could go right into the skim coat. My bedroom walls were a nice mint green. They were not painted as long as I lived there. I think there was one room (and certainly some closets) that had yet to be painted when it was sold last year. (My mother lived there for over 60 years.)

    Certainly more labor intensive than today's "drywall."

    When we built our house 5 years ago we went with "blueboard" and skim coat. Close, but not the same.
     
  7. Pualee

    Pualee Tele-Holic

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    I wish I had found that when I was out of HS. Instead I went to college and ended up with a desk job I hate, and too many years behind me to restart. I make good money, but I loved physical work.

    I've debated many times if I should encourage my kids to go to school, or find an apprenticeship. Everyone I envy did the later and it turned out very well for them.
     
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  8. Minivan Megafun

    Minivan Megafun Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    And god help you if you need to take out just a section of wall and you need to marry up new with the old. I ended up using 3/16" OSB as a backer behind the new 1/2" drywall in spots to bring it out to end up flush with the old wall covering. Due to inconsistency in the plaster those old walls are 7/8" thick in a lot of areas.
     
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  9. TheDavis

    TheDavis Tele-Meister

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  10. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    Reminds me of watching my grandfather in his upholstery shop, the man was craftsmanship and a gentleman. I was too young to really understand all of that at the time, but he'd let me try something and then redo everything I did. A kid just isn't going to do the job like a guy with decades of experience.
    The thing I remember most was how fast he put tacks in. He had an electric staple gun by then, but still used tacks in places he apparently didn't trust staples.
    The method? A mouthful of tacks and a little hammer with a magnet on one end. Start the tack with the magnetic end, flip the gammer, sink it, repeat. He never seemed to miss or need more than the two wacks with the hammer. Unbelievable how fast that process went!
     
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  11. TheDavis

    TheDavis Tele-Meister

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    My old boss used to do drywall like that, you can do that with the modern stuff too. He could get drywall up faster and cleaner with a hammer and nails only than most of us could with knifes screw guns routers and any other modern tool. That kind of old school craftsmanship is amazing but it’s becoming a thing of the past.
    In my experience most contractors would rather have a decent amateur than a top notch craftsman because they make more money off the back of the cheap guy and clients don’t pay for that level of labor. There’s always exceptions and I have heard of $50 / hr drywall guys but you’re more likely to get $20 / hr.
     
  12. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    And less labor intensive than the prior "plaster and lath" that preceded it. That stuff is WORK, and if you're doing a period-correct resto on a vintage building, I hope you're not busy for a month ;)

    You nail up a bazillion small boards called lath strips that are like mini 2x8s; they're a quarter inch thick and about 2" wide, and come in 8' lengths These strips go onto the studs horizontally about 5/8" apart for the entire wall and ceiling surfaces. Next you trowel on a thick stucco-like plaster mix; the early stuff had horsehair in it as a binder (early 'composite' material!).

    The idea is to apply the plaster to the lath and press it into the recesses so the plaster goes all the way through and "keys" itself into the backs of the boards. It droops over and solidifies in place. This is how it locks into the lath, and it makes for an extremely tough wall panel.

    This is what the back of a plaster and lath wall looks like:

    [​IMG]

    I've done repairs and restorations to historic buildings and this process is a dying art.

    The modern version if this is expanded wire lath that commonly gets anchored into exterior block walls to hold stucco for textured treatments. The metal mesh captures the stucco and holds it in place:

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I always had trouble getting the horse to stand still doing plaster and lath drywall.
     
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  14. glenlivet

    glenlivet Tele-Afflicted

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    The down side is.... when it starts to go (separate from the lath).... there ain't no "fix"..get a hammer and a bucket and start ripping off plaster until you are back to solid connection all the way around. Then re-plaster.
     
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  15. ale.istotle

    ale.istotle Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    As a teen my brothers and I tore a bunch of wood lath plaster out of our house. The scratch coat was horse hair plaster. The horse hair was used as a reinforcement to minimize cracking. My father would wet it to keep the dust down and it smelled bad. We did the ceiling in metal lath and must have grounded it somewhere because it acts like a faraday cage - kills the mobile signal. For the walls we put drywall up backwards and brown-coated it. He had a plasterer friend clean up our brown-coat and apply the finish - that guy was amazing. He put up plaster faster than we could mix it.
     
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  16. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Back in the 80s where I used to work, a four-story brick facing on a block wall 50 feet long separated from the block and fell over like a huge domino, right onto a parking area. More than 10 vehicles were totaled.

    The subsequent investigation found the contractor used less than half the required wire lath anchors called out in the prints. Nobody got hurt. A court case and fines followed, along with the contractor losing their license.

    My truck was parked elsewhere that day :cool:
     
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  17. DaveGo

    DaveGo Tele-Meister

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    These days they would probably sheetrock over the entire wall(s), tape it, bed it, blow texture and paint. I learned how to do drywall one summer while going to college. Hard way to make money. I can still do it. Slowly. And badly.
     
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  18. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Unfortunately that scenario dissolves when the young applicant moves to a new location.
    The trades dispose of a high percentage of workers without any benefits or safety net.
    Unions help but have their own issues.
    A friend went from contracting frame to finish carpentry, to a union job.
    He's been making concrete forms on bridges 12-14 hours a day for a year now and I'm not seeing the UP movement in his decision.

    I worked my way independently to a six figure income doing finer renovations targeting wealthy clients, because middle class home markets don't really fund good wages for those who build them. Not enough margin in that market, depending on the location I suppose.
    But once i hit that six figure mark, my body was shot and it was 15 years to retirement age!

    In hindsight I wish I'd gone some whiter collar route to financial security.
    Some bodies hold up longer, or the owners pace themselves better, or pass the heavy lifting to the jr guys or who knows what recipe works out for each individual.

    True that senior workers can supervise, but seniority is not 100% transferable.
    The flip side maybe supports your comments though, in that I could have gone to contracting and sat in my $80,000 leather lined pickup most of the time, if I could find that many solid reliable workers I could count on to do high quality work 100% of the time, or even 95%.

    Everywhere I went from NY to Maine displayed mediocre trade craft most of the time.
    The most popular builder in my current location hardly notices that doors may or may not close properly, and blames it on the sea air.

    Old houses I work on have lumber with hand carved names of builders and suppliers on them, in a stylized script, asif pride was some sort of universal thing among builders 150 years ago. Not sure how true or how that would have worked, or where the math went wrong.

    Now speed is more important than quality, plus of course painters have caulking guns to make finish work look nice regardless of the finish carpentry quality.
     
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  19. Deeve

    Deeve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I'd like to see that guy doing a re-fret job!
    :cool:
     
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  20. Informal

    Informal Tele-Afflicted

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    Saved your truck did ya?

    But lost your Contractors license :lol:
     
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