Lath is used for the creation and repair of lath and plaster walls and ceilings. Supplied as machine sawn or riven (hand split).
Oak or chestnut was commonly used for making traditional timber lath. Riven lath is generally stronger but less flexible than sawn. Hand split timber also offers a larger surface area and better physical key compared to sawn, therefore making it suitable for ceilings.
Form keys/nibs by pushing the lime plaster between the lath spacing with a trowel. Backing coats of plaster typically contained animal hair to help plaster keys stay in place during drying and to minimise shrinkage.
By the end of the 19th century, sawn timber produced by machinery was more evident. Sawn lath is much more uniform than riven and has a smooth edge providing less physical key. Therefore the key formed by the plaster being squeezed between the gaps is of great importance. Spaces were generally set at approximately ¼ inch.
Expanded metal lath (EML) began to supersede timber during the 20th century as it was cheaper and easier to fix. Lime plaster does not adhere well to EML so there was also a move towards the use of cements and gypsum as an alternative. Many of these developments were out of keeping with traditional buildings and introduced additional problems with damp and cracking plaster.
For the reasons above, we recommend you use riven for ceilings and sawn for walls.
Check with listing or conservation if there is a requirement to replace the type of wood like-for-like.
Supplied in bundles of 50 lath.
Sawn larch and sawn oak: 5-6 mm (¼ inch) thick, 25 mm (1 inch) wide
Riven oak and riven chestnut: 5-12 mm (¼-½ inch) thick, 25-35 mm (1-1⅓ inch) wide
We reserve the right to apply a £4+VAT surcharge if bought without any associated lime products.
|Wood type and lath length||
4ft Sawn Larch x 50 (2 m²), 4ft Sawn Oak x 50 (2 m²), 3ft Riven Oak x 50 (1.9 m²), 3ft 6" Riven Oak x 50 (2.2 m²), 4ft Riven Oak x 50 (2.4 m²), 3ft Riven Chestnut x 50 (1.9 m²), 3ft 6" Riven Chestnut (2.2 m²), 4ft Riven Chestnut (2.4 m²)