Plaster and Lathe Demolition Techniques
I noticed this weekend that everyone on my demolition crew seemed to have a different approach to bringing down the lath and plaster. Jon #1 liked using his hammer, which has a pretty straight claw on the back side. He’d bust up the plaster with the claw, knocking it completely off the lathe. Then he’d pry the lathe off, nice and neat. Jon #2 had similar technique, but using a smaller crowbar. Sean used a small 16oz wrecking bar, and would break through the plaster then lever off the lathe, taking plaster with it.
My own technique is, in my opinion, the most dramatic. I use a 2lb wrecking bar to gouge a hole in the wall I want to attack. Like Sean, I pry off a few pieces, enlarging the hole. Then, I stick the loop end of the wrecking bar into the hole and PULL. Lathe and plaster will fall off the wall, sometimes shooting out towards me. It pays to be in full protective gear: safety glasses, face-mask, knee pads. I did sustain a slight injury when a flying piece of plaster broke against my shin. This technique works best with a heavy wrecking bar, and also works great for pulling down plaster from the ceiling.
Each to their own. You won’t find me dictating technique to a crew of non-paid workers spending their Saturday morning helping us out!