How can you tell if your walls are plaster or sheetrock-drywall?

Discussion in 'Misc DIY' started by jim evans, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. jim evans

    jim evans Guest

    I have never lived in a house with plaster walls. A friend asked me
    how you tell if your walls are plaster or drywall. How do you tell?
     
    jim evans, Sep 25, 2008
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. jim evans

    BobK207 Guest

    On Sep 24, 9:11 pm, jim evans <> wrote:
    > I have never lived in a house with plaster walls.  A friend asked me
    > how you tell if your walls are plaster or drywall.  How do you tell?


    drywall is much softer than plaster....an ice pick (or a push pin) can
    easily be pushed into drywall.
     
    BobK207, Sep 25, 2008
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. jim evans

    RBM Guest

    "jim evans" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I have never lived in a house with plaster walls. A friend asked me
    > how you tell if your walls are plaster or drywall. How do you tell?


    Go into the attic and look under the insulation
     
    RBM, Sep 25, 2008
    #3
  4. "jim evans" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I have never lived in a house with plaster walls. A friend asked me
    > how you tell if your walls are plaster or drywall. How do you tell?


    Take a receptacle cover off and you can usually see. If there is lath, you
    can probably see the edges.

    Age will give you a hint. If the house is 100 years old, chances are it is
    plaster unless it was re-done. If it is less than 50 years old, 99% chance
    it is drywall. It was invented in 1916, but did not become popular until
    after WWII.
     
    Edwin Pawlowski, Sep 25, 2008
    #4
  5. jim evans

    jim evans Guest

    On Thu, 25 Sep 2008 07:58:18 -0400, "Edwin Pawlowski" <>
    wrote:

    >Age will give you a hint. If the house is 100 years old, chances are it is
    >plaster unless it was re-done. If it is less than 50 years old, 99% chance
    >it is drywall. It was invented in 1916, but did not become popular until
    >after WWII.


    This house was built in the mid 50's
     
    jim evans, Sep 25, 2008
    #5
  6. jim evans

    jim evans Guest

    On Wed, 24 Sep 2008 23:20:01 -0700 (PDT), BobK207 <>
    wrote:

    >On Sep 24, 9:11 pm, jim evans <> wrote:
    >> I have never lived in a house with plaster walls.  A friend asked me
    >> how you tell if your walls are plaster or drywall.  How do you tell?

    >
    >drywall is much softer than plaster....an ice pick (or a push pin) can
    >easily be pushed into drywall.


    That seems like a good test, assuming it is very difficult to push a
    push-pin into a plaster wall.

    Thanks
     
    jim evans, Sep 25, 2008
    #6
  7. jim evans

    jim evans Guest

    On Thu, 25 Sep 2008 07:22:59 -0400, "RBM" <> wrote:

    >
    >"jim evans" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >>I have never lived in a house with plaster walls. A friend asked me
    >> how you tell if your walls are plaster or drywall. How do you tell?

    >
    >Go into the attic and look under the insulation


    Thanks, that's a good suggestion. In this case the guy's almost
    blind. He can do minor repairs but and I'm not sure he could do
    this.
     
    jim evans, Sep 25, 2008
    #7
  8. jim evans

    RickH Guest

    On Sep 24, 11:11 pm, jim evans <> wrote:
    > I have never lived in a house with plaster walls.  A friend asked me
    > how you tell if your walls are plaster or drywall.  How do you tell?


    I just knock on em. Drywall sounds like knocking on drywall, knocking
    on plaster sounds like plaster. But if you are not sure, go to an
    unconspicuous place in a closet and scratch down through the paint
    with a nail or pick. If you hit paper then you have drywall, if you
    hit hard white plaster with no paper then its plaster.
     
    RickH, Sep 25, 2008
    #8
  9. jim evans

    BobK207 Guest

    On Sep 25, 6:52 am, jim evans <> wrote:
    > On Wed, 24 Sep 2008 23:20:01 -0700 (PDT), BobK207 <>
    > wrote:
    >
    > >On Sep 24, 9:11 pm, jim evans <> wrote:
    > >> I have never lived in a house with plaster walls.  A friend asked me
    > >> how you tell if your walls are plaster or drywall.  How do you tell?

    >
    > >drywall is much softer than plaster....an ice pick (or a push pin) can
    > >easily be pushed into drywall.

    >
    > That seems like a good test, assuming it is very difficult to push a
    > push-pin into a plaster wall.
    >
    > Thanks


    The reason "it seems like a good test" is because it is a good test.

    there's no "assuming" going on here, it's called experience...unless
    the plaster is in terrible shape, a push pin won't push in.

    Depending on where the house is & the quality of construction it could
    go either way. I've seen lots tract houses from the 50's & 60's, some
    drywall, some plaster, some skim coat plaster.

    Drywall (at least in SoCal) pretty much took over the market by the
    end of the 60's.

    Why the curiosity about wall type?
     
    BobK207, Sep 25, 2008
    #9
  10. jim evans

    JohnR66 Guest

    "jim evans" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I have never lived in a house with plaster walls. A friend asked me
    > how you tell if your walls are plaster or drywall. How do you tell?


    Is there such a thing as plaster board? While renovating the upstairs of my
    1942 home, I could see the back side of the walls in the stair case. There
    was no lath and the stuff crumbles when I try to nail into it to hang a
    picture. It seems to be a plaster sheet product. It may have had a paper
    backing, I don't recall.
     
    JohnR66, Sep 26, 2008
    #10
  11. jim evans

    N8N Guest

    On Sep 25, 7:22 am, "RBM" <> wrote:
    > "jim evans" <> wrote in message
    >
    > news:...
    >
    > >I have never lived in a house with plaster walls.  A friend asked me
    > > how you tell if your walls are plaster or drywall.  How do you tell?

    >
    > Go into the attic and look under the insulation


    eh, might not tell you for sure. My house was built in '48 or '49 and
    it has plaster over gypsum sheet lath - looks like drywall from
    behind.

    nate
     
    N8N, Sep 26, 2008
    #11
  12. On Sep 26, 9:01 am, N8N <> wrote:
    > On Sep 25, 7:22 am, "RBM" <> wrote:
    >
    > > "jim evans" <> wrote in message

    >
    > >news:...

    >
    > > >I have never lived in a house with plaster walls. A friend asked me
    > > > how you tell if your walls are plaster or drywall. How do you tell?

    >
    > > Go into the attic and look under the insulation

    >
    > eh, might not tell you for sure. My house was built in '48 or '49 and
    > it has plaster over gypsum sheet lath - looks like drywall from
    > behind.
    >
    > nate


    My house was built somewhere in the 40's if not earlier.
    When I had the bathroom remodeled in 1978 (I think)
    I saved all that gorgeous lath that they took out of the walls.
    Have used it for so many little projects! Like building a screen
    n front of the trash area in back, and building screens for under
    the back porch. Sigh! They don't make 'em like they used to...
     
    Artful Dodger, Sep 27, 2008
    #12
  13. jim evans

    Guest

    On Thu, 25 Sep 2008 09:31:36 -0500, AZ Nomad
    <> wrote:

    >On Thu, 25 Sep 2008 09:57:49 -0400, Blattus Slafaly <> wrote:
    >>jim evans wrote:
    >>> I have never lived in a house with plaster walls. A friend asked me
    >>> how you tell if your walls are plaster or drywall. How do you tell?

    >
    >>Try to punch a hole in the wall, If you break your hand, it's plaster.

    >Or you've hit a stud.
    >


    I always like hitting a stud.
    I hit one with my car once and we had great sex.

    Marlene
     
    , Sep 29, 2008
    #13
  14. jim evans

    aemeijers Guest

    jacy wrote:
    > That's what my 60-year old midwestern house has. Like drywall but with
    > plaster.
    >
    >
    > On Fri, 26 Sep 2008 15:34:22 GMT, "JohnR66" <> wrote:
    >
    >> "jim evans" <> wrote in message
    >> news:...
    >>> I have never lived in a house with plaster walls. A friend asked me
    >>> how you tell if your walls are plaster or drywall. How do you tell?

    >> Is there such a thing as plaster board? While renovating the upstairs of my
    >> 1942 home, I could see the back side of the walls in the stair case. There
    >> was no lath and the stuff crumbles when I try to nail into it to hang a
    >> picture. It seems to be a plaster sheet product. It may have had a paper
    >> backing, I don't recall.
    >>

    Old version of what they now call 'blue board' plastering. Instead of
    lath, they nail up panels with a rough surface, or even a grid of small
    holes o give a key, and skim coat that with plaster. Much less labor
    than nailing up miles of lath a strip at a time, and doing 2-3 coats of
    plaster.

    Very durable when properly installed, but not real DIY friendly for
    modifications, repairs, or hanging pictures. Would have been quite
    common in a 1940s house. Sometimes still used in high-end custom houses
    and restorations- TOH used to show it almost every year.

    As to how to tell- I always use the knuckle rap and warm palm tests.
    Drywall almost always sounds very hollow in the middle of stud bays when
    you rap on it, plaster usually doesn't. And drywall feels warm under
    your palm in seconds, since it has a paper surface. Plaster sucks the
    heat out, and feels cooler longer. Failing that, pull an outlet cover
    and probe outside the edge of the box with a tiny scewdriver- the paper
    surface layer will be easy to see.

    --
    aem sends...
     
    aemeijers, Oct 1, 2008
    #14
    1. Advertising

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

It takes just 2 minutes to sign up (and it's free!). Just click the sign up button to choose a username and then you can ask your own questions on the forum.
Similar Threads
  1. salesguy
    Replies:
    4
    Views:
    1,083
    Phil L
    Feb 17, 2008
  2. John
    Replies:
    1
    Views:
    183
    Murray Peterson
    Apr 22, 2004
  3. Harry K

    How to tell you have water in your gas

    Harry K, Nov 30, 2006, in forum: Home Repair
    Replies:
    13
    Views:
    274
    Studeman
    Dec 2, 2006
  4. Jonathan Grobe
    Replies:
    13
    Views:
    615
    bud--
    May 30, 2008
  5. Stormin Mormon

    13 Things Your Salesclerk Won't Tell You

    Stormin Mormon, Dec 1, 2010, in forum: Home Repair
    Replies:
    18
    Views:
    340
Loading...

Share This Page