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Old 07-14-2011, 01:24 PM   #1
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Refinishing room-width cuts of plaster walls: will it work?


I'm going to get people telling me i don't know what I'm doing. That's fine, but please read and give an honest assessment, it's what I'm after:

We are rewiring our 1921 American Foursquare. It's been 2 years since we bought it, and if i was fumbling some at first, I've gained experience and confidence as I've moved on. There are no easy fixes; but there can be *easier* ways than others and thats what I'm after.

WHAT I HAVE BEEN DOING: This is only a discussion about my four upstairs bedrooms. The remainder of the house is finished; it was much easier working with a basement!
I'm only discussing outlets here. Lighting, I've mostly been able to drop from the attic. It's not possible to do this with the outlets, tho, not the least of which is me being unable to squeeze my 195-lb butt into that last sliver of attic space.
So: on bedroom 1, I removed all the baseboards. The plaster I cut with a sonic tool (dremel somethingrather). Once cut, I just broke into the plaster gently, hooked a hammer claw onto the correct lathe, and pulled. Did this throughout, cleaned up the mess, drilled my holes high (the baseboard is 1x6 and I cut directly above this), cut holes for my boxes with the same sonic tool, did my wiring (to code, thank you), then cut Sheetrock to roughly fill the gap, plastered (patching plaster) over roughly, reinstalled baseboards,
And plastered above to get an appropriate finish. It's not perfect but it's not knob and tube anymore and I have an actual ground so overall I'm happy. HOWEVER: the baseboard work was far more frustrating than I described. It's 90-yr old mahogany; it cracks some, splinters some, and you'd be shocked how quickly it warps even in this conditioned air.

So:

WHAT I WANT TO DO: I already have experience making long and/or precise cuts in plaster using the sonic tool- not interested in being told it can't be done because yea, it can: I've done it repeatedly over 2 years now. But I'm sick of the nightmare of the baseboards (we're refinishing them, by the way.. another topic and another day).

So I think I'd like to leave the baseboards attached; and instead, just plunge the dremel into the plaster maybe a few inches above the baseboard, find the line of the lathe and just run in a line all across the room. Then do it again a few more inches up (by the way, the plaster doesn't shatter... Why? I don't know. But I'm not having problems with cracks. I'm a little OCD, that might help), do my same thing as before and remove the plaster and lathe strip, wire, etc.

So here's the question; previously the baseboard hid the real plaster work and you couldn't see any lines. With this new trick, will the line of my "refurbished" plaster be obvious no matter what I do? I am not going to use mesh tape or mud tape; it would create a long bump that even feathering wouldn't take care of.

I kind if have a theory, after doing this for a couple years, that the plaster sags ever so slightly if you cut below it. I'm betting (rightly? Wrongly?) that it will compress the new plaster over time until equilibrium is achieved. I don't expect hairline cracks.

Am I insane?
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Old 07-14-2011, 05:04 PM   #2
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Refinishing room-width cuts of plaster walls: will it work?


Is there anyway you can put that in layman's terms ? i have no idea what your question is.

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Old 07-14-2011, 05:42 PM   #3
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Refinishing room-width cuts of plaster walls: will it work?


Lol... Uhm... : I'll try to summarize a lot: "If I cut a long horizontal strip of lathe and plaster out of a well-maintained plaster wall, then re-plaster it without using any sort of modern tape, is it going to look obvious when I'm done?" You can assume I'll spend the time to skim and feather right.. I just want to know if long, horizontal cracks are going to open up a year or several years down the road.
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Old 07-14-2011, 05:43 PM   #4
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Refinishing room-width cuts of plaster walls: will it work?


I only ask because I've noticed drywall and plaster behave very differently
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Old 07-14-2011, 06:00 PM   #5
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Refinishing room-width cuts of plaster walls: will it work?


If your going to feather it and your OCD you must be good at feathering lol. So the question then is.....why would you not use tape. Just bed it with durabond and then start your feathering lol haha kind of a long post. Will it crack if I don't use tape. Let's see.....yea

Last edited by Gary in WA; 07-16-2011 at 11:43 PM. Reason: Removed disrespectful remark per forum rules.
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:12 PM   #6
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Refinishing room-width cuts of plaster walls: will it work?


Hmm, I didn't think it was I've worked with plaster and with drywall and drywall mud and it seems to me they behave differently. The people I really want to be asking are probably long retired and not on the Internet, frankly.

Last edited by Gary in WA; 07-16-2011 at 11:44 PM. Reason: Removed, as per rules.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:02 PM   #7
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Refinishing room-width cuts of plaster walls: will it work?


i have never had a problem using drywall patches with plaster . something that skinny will be very week i would tape it if it was me.
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Old 07-15-2011, 05:29 AM   #8
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Refinishing room-width cuts of plaster walls: will it work?


Quote:
Originally Posted by oldrivers View Post
i have never had a problem using drywall patches with plaster . something that skinny will be very week i would tape it if it was me.
I agree, the long vertical line will open up over time,guaranteed
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Old 07-16-2011, 05:24 PM   #9
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Refinishing room-width cuts of plaster walls: will it work?


Yep, tape is a must or it WILL crack....
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:28 PM   #10
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Refinishing room-width cuts of plaster walls: will it work?


Thanks, guys. I hate sanding so much I think I've decided to just pull off the baseboards like I had been doing. ;-) Nothing is easy! Oh well. Thanks again-

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