- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 31 Jul 2018
Lath and plaster
Lath and plaster is a technique which was used to finish interior walls and ceilings from the early-18th until the early-to-mid-20th century. It was then generally superseded by drywall techniques and plasterboard.
The process involved laths (thin strips of timber) nailed to timber joists or posts and then covered with built-up layers of plaster. Laths typically measure 25 mm x 6 mm, and are positioned about 6 mm apart from each other to allow the plaster to penetrate into the gaps between them.
Typically three coats of plaster would then be applied:
- A ‘render’ layer about 6 mm thick to bond to and fill the gaps between the laths.
- A ‘floating’ layer about 6 mm thick to provide a relatively smooth surface for the third layer.
- A ‘setting’ layer about 3 mm thick to provide a completely smooth finish for decoration.
The first and second layers typically used a 1:3 lime putty to clean, sharp sand mixture. Animal hair was often added to assist with binding. The mixture for the third layer was usually a 3:1 lime putty to fine sand mixture or lime putty on its own.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
From alabaster to travertine – how many types do you know?
Well-designed lighting helps maintain a healthy physiological and psychological balance.
Transferring the risk for obtaining the target BREEAM rating.
A simple but effective way to determine the root cause of an issue.
BSRIA report suggest the European market will double to 415 million Euros by 2023.
Why a wellbeing strategy is vital for property managers.
An ECA briefing for members about the commercial implications of leaving the EU.
A crucial moment on any project - and fraught with danger.
The performance gap from a Northern Ireland perspective.
Book review: Buildings of protestant nonconformity.
Design and testing for health and wellbeing - free download from BRE.