sheetrock mud over plaster? - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by GL - ON on August 09, 2003 at 14:01:10:

May I also suggest, if that doesn’t work, that you make “friends” with the mayor. In areas where the public officials are drunk with power and flout the law, the mayor’s “friends” are immune.

sheetrock mud over plaster? - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on August 08, 2003 at 12:24:41:

I think the building inspector is harassing me for some reason. I’m working on an old victorian and am trying to save all the plaster walls. I just tried to get my framing inspection and the buildng inspector told me, that I can’t put sheetrock mud over plaster walls (we skimmed the walls and patched wherever necessary). I would have to either gut the house or sand off all the mud and replaster everything. I have never heard of that.

He also had a problem with me trying to save the old ornate baseboards, which had the outlets in it. I had the electrician put the outlets into the same spots. If I had put them into the walls, I would ahve either had to patch the baseboards, which is impossible, or put new ones up (which wouldn’t look so nice) The inspector told me, that that’s inferior work and that I shouldn’t ahve done that. (My electrician is ready to involve his attorney because of slander)

Also, a few weeks ago, my electricians cut holes into the plaster in the kitchen, to put the outlets in. The building inspector (not electrical) came in and said, because the holes are too big, I’d have to gut the whole wall. Once the hole wall was gutted my electrician came in, saying that’s not right and now he’d have to rewire the kitchen, because the wiring is different for an open wall than for a closed wall. He spoke to the electrical inspector, who confirmed, that the building inspector had no right to make me gut the walls.

Also,the inspector told me, that he wouldn’t let people come into this neighborhood and do bad work like this and then try to get 300K for a house. He would never sign a co for this.

I really feel harrassed. Has anybody here heard of those things? Plaster walls are skimmed all the time with mud.

My electrician talked to a contractor, that knows this guy and he kind of suggested, that my skin color (i’m white, he’s not) may be a problem with him. I don’t know how to deal with that. If I go to his boss, then I will always have problems in this neighborhood, working with this inspector. I’m not trying to hide things or do bad work. I’ve worked with these old victorians for years, and I know what I’m doing.

Any suggestions?


Re: sheetrock mud over plaster? - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on August 09, 2003 at 13:04:28:

Thank you all for your answers. I really wanted some feedback on whether any of you have ever heard of such code issues, which you have given me. I haven’t found one person since yesterday, that has come across this supposed ‘code issue’. I will speak to the inspector’s boss on monday and see what he says.

I will also try to get a hold of a code book.


Re: sheetrock mud over plaster? - Posted by Scott

Posted by Scott on August 08, 2003 at 20:20:47:

I agree with the other posts about having a sit down with his boss. Ask him for the BOCA and/or CABO code that states what you have done does not meet code. As far as electric goes in my state (DE), old work that is being retrofitted (new recepticles in old boxes or new grounded ones with a new ground,etc) would not need to meet current code (recept spacing, height, curcuit size, etc) In the future, I would just pull permits for new work and service changes (Fuses to CBs) and just replace sw and recpts afterwards. He is right about too much space around the boxes and open walls must meet current code. But, I always just spackle any mistakes and its good as new, guess that wasn’t an option though. Also another thing that just occured to me…In DE we don’t even pull permits for work that isn’t structural or for a trade. Why would you even need to get his approval on a cosmetic repair like the mud issue? Sounds to me a small investment in a code book would be wise. Learn that code better than him, you may get this guy again. You can get Code-Chek books through Amazon, and a BOCA or CABO book should be avail though the building dept. Hope this helps!


Re: sheetrock mud over plaster? - Posted by Randy

Posted by Randy on August 08, 2003 at 19:07:14:

This info from my significant other?
She knows the score.

Just wanted to let you know about how some of these things are handled here in the Midwest (city size ? 130,000). I am the receptionist for Building Services for the city (we deal with the building permits and inspections). I have 4 building inspectors, 4 electrical inspectors, 2 mechanical inspectors and 2 plumbing inspectors. They all stick within their domain and wouldn?t think of trying to do inspections for each other. If there is a question regarding how something is being done or should be done, they will call one of the other divisions to come over and give advice or do an inspection and make sure that everything is OK. Our inspection time is usually within that same day or the next day. We try to update our codes for each division every 2 -3 years so that things are current.

If we have a problem with an inspector, it can be reported to our Chief Building Official. He then goes and does an inspection to make to that it is by the code and not just something that the inspector has said. I would check with the office that issued you the permit and see what they suggest.

Re: sheetrock mud over plaster? - Posted by RichV(FL)

Posted by RichV(FL) on August 08, 2003 at 18:10:50:


Sounds like this this “inspector” is a real winner.

I like GL’s idea about meeting them at the house with your contractors and his supervisor. You may be able to find out what exactly his problem seems to be.

I have never heard of not being able to get a CO because you use sheetrock mud over plaster walls.

It seems to me he is trying to pick everything apart that you are doing. Its time to go over his head.

Best of luck,


Re: sheetrock mud over plaster? - Posted by GL - ON

Posted by GL - ON on August 08, 2003 at 16:01:41:

I had a similar problem with an electrical inspector years ago. I think he thought I was trying to pull a fast one (not true) and decided to teach me a lesson. Either that or his “power” went to his head, who knows?

In that case I just hired a new electrician (his riend) who changed the wiring and everything was OK.

I wouldn’t do that in your case. He sounds like a nut and I don’t think he is going to let go.

If it was me I would call his supervisor and have him meet me in the house with the inspector to go over all his allegations. I would make sure the tradesmen were there too.

This would not be a confrontation. I would look at it as there is some confusion because I and my contractors don’t understand some things and could you explain them, and show me the applicable laws or regulations.

Re: sheetrock mud over plaster? - Posted by Tarheel T

Posted by Tarheel T on August 08, 2003 at 15:35:31:

Is there no chance that you could get an inspector in the same department who has approved your work in the past to talk to this guy and explain how good your work has turned out in the past?

I have found that city inspectors will pass work more often when they like the person whose work they are inspecting. Maybe you have come over to him as a big wheeler dealer and that makes him feel inferior.
Maybe try to get on the same page with him, and show him that you are a nice person, struggling to make a living just like him.


Re: sheetrock mud over plaster? - Posted by Jim FL

Posted by Jim FL on August 08, 2003 at 13:06:11:

This guys works for you, or the government which you help fund.
I’d set an appointment to meet with the inspector and his supervisor or boss, at their office.
Set out the story just as you have here, making it clear, you wish no anonymosity, just want a resolution.
Perhaps when you talk to them face to face, and explain that nearly a decade of refurbishing houses that were made into homes, in various areas of the city is what you do, taking great care to make sure the end product is nice, they will see your sincerity.
Sure, you are here to make a profit, but not at the expense of anyone.
Let them see that, and if this fails, get your attny on board right after, or maybe have them come along if you feel the need.

It does sounds like they are harrassing you some, but again, we only have one side of the story…beleiveable that it is, still only one side.
Same as you.

Go talk to them, you can resolve this.

Good luck,
Jim FL