This section is from the book "A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction Vol2: Masonry. Carpentry. Joinery", by The Colliery Engineer Co. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction.
Metal Lath In Wood Construction. While metal lath is, of course, preferable to wood for ordinary frame structures, the additional cost generally precludes its use; but even in such buildings there are numerous places where it is of considerable advantage, while the increased expense is but little. For example, cracks at corners of ceilings and partition walls can be largely prevented by bending a strip of wire cloth, or lath, to fit the angle, and nailing it to the joists or studs on either side. Another place where metal lath should be used is at the junction of a wood partition and a brick wall, when there is no furring on the wall, and especially when the partition is flush with it. If a strip of metal lath be lapped 12 inches on both wall and partition, cracks at the junction will be avoided. Difficulty is sometimes experienced on exterior brick walls with wooden lintels, in that, when the plaster is applied, it cracks at the joint or will not stick to the wood. To obviate this, the joint should be covered with a strip of metal lath fastened to both brickwork and lintel. The above mentioned uses are only a few of the numerous valuable applications of metal lathing to wood construction; others will doubtless suggest themselves.
216. Plaster boards are made of some fibrous material embedded in plaster of Paris, and are used chiefly as a substitute for lathing and the first coat of plastering, one face of the board being grooved, or rough, to make the plaster adhere well. The usual size of the pieces is from 5/8 inch to 1 inch thick, 16 inches wide, and 4 feet long. They can be readily sawed, nailed, and put on very rapidly, and are fastened directly to the studs, furring, or joists. These boards are nearly as fireproof as terra-cotta tile, and on account of their lightness and the ease of setting them, are sometimes used in place of tiling for suspended ceilings and elsewhere. As lathing and the first coat of plaster - and often the second coat - are not required when these boards are used, the saving, taken in connection with their low cost, makes them a very cheap, yet effective, kind of fireproofing.