Why is the plaster peeling off my walls?

When we first looked at this project it was because the customer had the above question. The thin layer of plaster on the shiplap wall was starting to fall off. Nothing was immediately obvious (apart from some windows that had been replaced about 4 yrs ago – or is that obvious?) –  so we had to investigate. There was nothing else for it but to get stuck into that wall…..and thus ensues a Mike Holmes-esque situation.

There were three main contributing factors to the plaster peeling. We found the 4 yr old windows had been installed improperly. What was missing was the caulking – a slight oversight (and that’s sarcasm). In years gone by there had been stucco repairs and we also found evidence that there had also been a porch in this area that had been walled in. The stucco repairs had cracked allowing water ingress. These two factors were exacerbated by the fact that the wall and windows were east facing taking the full brunt of the winter weather. Finally factor number 3. We are still bemused by this. Under one window (the closest to the corner of the house) was a piece of plastic attached to the studs. This made sure that water coming in was trapped and worked full time on the framing and also that area sweated.

The pics below show the extent of the rot which took about 4 yrs. The double bottom plate (2 – 2×4’s) were completely rotten through, and as we know water only goes one way – down – to the basement suite.


I want to make a really big ‘space’

Remember when we used to have ‘rooms – now we have ‘spaces’. I’m not really sure how this came about as the definition of a room has not changed and thus nor has its criteria but now its a ‘space’. In some respects now, the living ‘area’ (area Vs space – now I’m really confused) conjures an open space concept of which we are seeing more and more in our homes especially now the kitchen is the nerve centre of the home.

Now we’ve got that out of the way how can you achieve the open space. It just so happens that the house we are working on at the moment had an ‘open space’ concept modification done to it – and so the mayhem ensues!

Three years earlier the wall (containing a door) was taken out between the family room and the kitchen. Great idea but just not executed very well. Unfortunately this wall was load bearing and durectly beneath the bedroom wall aswell…..three years down the road and we have a ceiling that has a big belly and bedroom walls with cracks in. Despite all this we still didn’t have a complete opening as there remained a pillar in the middle of the opening with various plumbing within.


Once we opened it up we could see that the upstairs toilet waste pipe and hot and cold water supply was inside. The only structural support were 2 – 2×4’s boxing in the pipes bracing the top plate – completely inadequate.


Our plan? We’re going to put a beam in. Route the plumbing along it and down the wall that separates the family room from the hallway. We’re also going to put a new beam in above the opening to the living room (deeper in the picture). Rip out the ceiling and all the lath and plaster. The bathroom upstairs will have all new plumbing put in and we will repostion all the power points in the family room as well as rip out the laundry chute that takes up the corner of the family room.

I’ll keep you updated of our progress.