1/4 inch drywall over existing walls when remodeling?

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MnD
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1/4 inch drywall over existing walls when remodeling?

Post by MnD » Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:03 pm

We're getting bids on remodeling one portion of our 1952 ranch style house which mostly used to be a 2-car garage converted by the previous owner decades ago to additional living space for an office, laundry/pantry and enlarging a family room. Existing walls in this area are a mix of plaster, old drywall in rough shape, 1970's wood paneling and believe it or not a few walls with plywood with wallpaper over it. Compared to the rest of our home which has been maintained or restored to excellent condition this entire area is pretty rough.

One contractor that we have made the most progress with wants to whenever possible, cover the existing walls with new 1/4 inch drywall and tape and mud from that point forward. His finished remodels look first-rate and his references are excellent. He indicated dust, possible lead paint issues, creating additional damage from existing wall demolition all point to applying thin new drywall over old walls except in cases where plans or other issues require otherwise. He says in remodeling older homes this is a common and standard practice among remodelers.

What do Bogleheads think?
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buhlaxtus
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Re: 1/4 inch drywall over existing walls when remodeling?

Post by buhlaxtus » Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:34 pm

Demolishing and removing plaster is a huge miserable mess. even for plywood and wood paneling it's still a lot of trouble. Encapsulating the whole mess in 1/4 drywall is probably a lot easier/cheaper and you most likely won't notice the difference. No biggie in my opinion. A side benefit is that you would probably end up with better sound insulation between rooms as well. I think the main challenge is furring/shimming/whatnot to get the new surface flat.

mrc
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Re: 1/4 inch drywall over existing walls when remodeling?

Post by mrc » Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:37 pm

That may affect the reveal on the casing moldings around the windows, doors, and baseboard. Resetting that can be tricky, and leaving it alone can look funny. That veneer solution is an effective technique for ceilings, but walls are tricky.
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123
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Re: 1/4 inch drywall over existing walls when remodeling?

Post by 123 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:53 pm

My big concern would be if the prior conversion of the garage to living space decades ago included appropriate insulation. How much insulation is necessary and how to do it vary widely depending on which part of the country you're in. A gut remodel down to the studs lets you fix a lot of issues you can't even know are there until you get down to the studs.
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suemarkp
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Re: 1/4 inch drywall over existing walls when remodeling?

Post by suemarkp » Sat Mar 23, 2019 6:57 pm

When was the garage conversion done? That could indicate the materials used for wiring and pipes in the wall. Is the power adequate now for how you use the room? If the wire is old and ungrounded, or the pipes are galvanized, I'd take off the wall material and go down to studs. Makes it easier to add more power outlets, you can use larger electrical boxes, they will be flush with the wall surface, ...

The insulation question is a good one too.
Mark | Kent, WA

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nativenewenglander
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Re: 1/4 inch drywall over existing walls when remodeling?

Post by nativenewenglander » Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:42 pm

My neighbors have used 1/4 inch drywall, but I prefer to repair the plaster with plaster washers ect. It is easy to do with experience. To each his own on how to deal with crumbling plaster.

The Wizard
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Re: 1/4 inch drywall over existing walls when remodeling?

Post by The Wizard » Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:56 pm

I've never heard of 1/4" drywall.
Use standard 1/2" drywall...
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Bacchus01
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Re: 1/4 inch drywall over existing walls when remodeling?

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:26 pm

If he opens the walls he almost certainly will find a bunch of code violations or decay that you now must fix.

It’s up to you to decide whether you want to do that or not. Cost will escalate quickly then.

z0r
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Re: 1/4 inch drywall over existing walls when remodeling?

Post by z0r » Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:10 pm

1/4" sheetrock is good or in my area there are some contractors that do a full wall skim coat of new plaster, this can be surprisingly affordable because it only involves one visit (no drywall tape, wait to dry, sand, etc which is normally multiple visits). my whole house was redone this way and it's beautiful

z0r
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Re: 1/4 inch drywall over existing walls when remodeling?

Post by z0r » Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:13 pm

re: insulation, wall insulation is less important than floor and ceiling (check out a calculator, wall insulation is surprisingly low payoff). depending on your climate it may be not that important to fix if you are lacking it. but it is also a great time to do blown in from the inside if you are redoing the walls anyway

mountainsoft
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Re: 1/4 inch drywall over existing walls when remodeling?

Post by mountainsoft » Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:46 pm

Several years ago my wife and I closed in and remodeled the front porch at my in-laws house. The ceiling was covered with wood bead board and was structurally sound. There wasn't anything wrong with it, it just wasn't the look we were after. So I screwed 1/4 inch drywall to it and taped it as usual. It turned out great and is probably stronger than if we had torn it all down and installed 1/2 inch drywall.

If the existing wall or ceiling is structurally sound, 1/4 inch drywall is a great solution.

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Sandtrap
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Re: 1/4 inch drywall over existing walls when remodeling?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:42 am

MnD wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:03 pm
We're getting bids on remodeling one portion of our 1952 ranch style house which mostly used to be a 2-car garage converted by the previous owner decades ago to additional living space for an office, laundry/pantry and enlarging a family room. Existing walls in this area are a mix of plaster, old drywall in rough shape, 1970's wood paneling and believe it or not a few walls with plywood with wallpaper over it. Compared to the rest of our home which has been maintained or restored to excellent condition this entire area is pretty rough.

One contractor that we have made the most progress with wants to whenever possible, cover the existing walls with new 1/4 inch drywall and tape and mud from that point forward. His finished remodels look first-rate and his references are excellent. He indicated dust, possible lead paint issues, creating additional damage from existing wall demolition all point to applying thin new drywall over old walls except in cases where plans or other issues require otherwise. He says in remodeling older homes this is a common and standard practice among remodelers.

What do Bogleheads think?
1952. . . ouch!
Yes. Whether 1/4 or 1/2 drywall if fine for your purposes.
Minimize intrusion into the existing structure. Avoid messing with what was done before.
The advantage of 1/2" drywall is that it is thick enough to straighten out and level out the surfaces.
The disadvantage is that trim might not look right after that, reveals, etc. Even if the trim is removed and redone due to the increase wall thickness.
I'd go with what the contractor suggests.
Also seems like the most cost effective plan.

Retired GC, Developer.
j
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