skip to main page content :: Town & Regional Planning Home > Glossary Home > L >

Lath

- strips of wood which are nailed to studs, joists, rafters etc to carry plaster, although the term is sometimes also applied to the strips of wood, usually referred to as battens, on which tiles are hung. Usually around 2 inches wide and of varied thickness. Single laths are around one-eight inch, double laths one- half inch. They are usually separated by a gap of around one-half inch. When plaster is applied to the lath it squeezes through this gap to form projections known as "rivetts" which give the plaster its key. Laths can be split (sometimes referred to as rent) or sawn. Most plasterers feel that the uneveness of split lath gives a better key. Lath should be nailed in its bottom half, because if it splits the nail will then support the larger part of it. Lath should always be soaked prior to plaster being applied. The use of lath in effect, is a refinement of "wattle and daub". Reeds were often used instead of lath, and in many parts of the world, still are.