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Old 08-23-2016, 08:20 PM   #1
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Can this hole help me decipher this wall?


I bought a house that the previous owners ignored and am determined to learn how to fix everything in it. But I'm new at it, and don't know anything yet. I'm hoping to use the brains in this forum to guide me.

1) Here's a picture of a hole in a wall. From this picture, can anyone tell me what my walls are made of? I assume the crumbly stuff is plaster (house was built in 1894) but not sure what the outer "layer" is.

2) What's the best way to fix this hole? It was caused by the wrong kind of fastener to put up a shelf.

3) The wall is textured and a color I don't like. How much work will it be to get rid of the texture and repaint, and how do I go about doing it?

Many thanks in advance.
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Old 08-23-2016, 11:32 PM   #2
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Re: Can this hole help me decipher this wall?


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Originally Posted by LouGreen View Post
I bought a house that the previous owners ignored and am determined to learn how to fix everything in it. But I'm new at it, and don't know anything yet. I'm hoping to use the brains in this forum to guide me.

1) Here's a picture of a hole in a wall. From this picture, can anyone tell me what my walls are made of? I assume the crumbly stuff is plaster (house was built in 1894) but not sure what the outer "layer" is.

2) What's the best way to fix this hole? It was caused by the wrong kind of fastener to put up a shelf.

3) The wall is textured and a color I don't like. How much work will it be to get rid of the texture and repaint, and how do I go about doing it?
1) From the age of the house it is probable that the walls are "lath and plaster", with the plaster being "lime plaster".
(It seems that a "lath" is shown in the photo at the top of the hole and you should be able to see another lath if you look down into the hole from above.)

2) You may care to look at http://www.traditionalproductreports...oors-lime.html for further information. In this it states: -
"Repair and Restoration
When approaching a plaster repair project, it is important to first identify the historic plaster so that it can be matched. Lime plaster can be identified by the presence of hair in the mix. If itís white with sand and hair, a little soft to the touch and seems old, itís most likely lime plaster. Different types of hair and plant fiber were used, depending on what materials were available; the hardness of old plaster depends on its age."

3) At the lower edge of the hole there appears to be a torn surface, which looks to be wall-paper. If so, this should be easy to remove.

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Old 08-24-2016, 07:29 AM   #3
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Re: Can this hole help me decipher this wall?


When i fix plaster walls i cut some hardware cloth (actually a metal screen with 1/4" holes not a textile fabric) cut it to roughly cover the actual hole and some of the recessed surrounding plaster, and carefully attach it to the wood lath using screws. I then get Structolite and apply that to the hole so that it mushes thru the hardware cloth. After that dries, i sand it lightly to make sure it is not protruding out of the surrounding plaster and coat it with joint compound. I prefer the setting type powdered joint compound but pre mixed will also work. Let that dry and then sand it flat and add another coat if necessary. Sand and paint.

If you cant get the screws to hold in the wood lath, you can also use the same hardware cloth, but attach a piece of wire to it, near the center. Push it thru the hole and then pull on the attached wire to try and flatten it as best you can. Get a pencil and wrap the wire around it. Turn the pencil to tighten the hardware cloth so that the pencil is flat against the wall. (This holds the hardware cloth in place temporarily). Apply the Structolite, let it dry, and remove the pencil and cut the "holding wire". Y
Then apply the joint compound.

To try to match texture experiment by applying joint compound to the area, and while it is wet, go over it with a damp roller or sponge. Experiment with different thicknesses of joint compound. Sometimes the damp sponge can be pressed and then removed to give high and low bumps, etc.

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Old 08-24-2016, 07:53 AM   #4
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Re: Can this hole help me decipher this wall?


That hole also looks like it's telling you there no insulation in those walls.
Any home that old can be a real challange.
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Old 08-26-2016, 01:51 PM   #5
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Re: Can this hole help me decipher this wall?


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Originally Posted by FrodoOne View Post

3) At the lower edge of the hole there appears to be a torn surface, which looks to be wall-paper. If so, this should be easy to remove.
Definitely isn't wall paper. Seems to be an individual textured sheet of some kind.

Anyone know what it is? And if it'd just be okay to sand that down and paint it?
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Old 08-26-2016, 01:52 PM   #6
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Re: Can this hole help me decipher this wall?


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That hole also looks like it's telling you there no insulation in those walls.
Any home that old can be a real challange.
Interesting! How can you tell?

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