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Old 07-24-2011, 04:02 PM   #1
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100 year old walls with "personality"


I live in a 100 year old house with plaster walls in most rooms. You can see where bad patch jobs and bad paint jobs have been done over the past century. In at least 2 room, you can see where they glopped the paint on and had drops running down the wall that they let dry there. There are several spackel smears where they just didn't spend the time to get it even. They are harder to notice when flat paint is used in pastel colors. The kitchen is the worst. I would like to start over, but I don't know if that is a good idea, since there is most likely a few good layers of lead paint in the mix.

Is there anything I can use to level the wall that would look good and be a decent lasting fix for this?

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Old 07-24-2011, 05:59 PM   #2
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100 year old walls with "personality"


This might be more than a DIY fix- First off, there is probably lead paint in the mix, so dust containment is important.

If I had the job, I'd set up containment- then I'd screw the cracks with sheetrock screws to fasten then to the lathe, screen tape, a coat of hot mud to set, 2 coats of premixed also skimming out drips runs and errors- most likley skimming entire walls. Then sand smooth, prime, and paint.
Rinse and repeat on wherever needed.
Clean up contained area VERY thoroughly-

good luck- I've done many like this- it's a bit of work-

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Old 07-24-2011, 06:04 PM   #3
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100 year old walls with "personality"


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Originally Posted by mfhess
I live in a 100 year old house with plaster walls in most rooms. You can see where bad patch jobs and bad paint jobs have been done over the past century. In at least 2 room, you can see where they glopped the paint on and had drops running down the wall that they let dry there. There are several spackel smears where they just didn't spend the time to get it even. They are harder to notice when flat paint is used in pastel colors. The kitchen is the worst. I would like to start over, but I don't know if that is a good idea, since there is most likely a few good layers of lead paint in the mix.

Is there anything I can use to level the wall that would look good and be a decent lasting fix for this?
Skim coat. Search this term on the site and you'll get lots of great advice.
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Old 07-24-2011, 06:16 PM   #4
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100 year old walls with "personality"


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Originally Posted by Brushjockey View Post
This might be more than a DIY fix- First off, there is probably lead paint in the mix, so dust containment is important.

If I had the job, I'd set up containment- then I'd screw the cracks with sheetrock screws to fasten then to the lathe, screen tape, a coat of hot mud to set, 2 coats of premixed also skimming out drips runs and errors- most likley skimming entire walls. Then sand smooth, prime, and paint.
Rinse and repeat on wherever needed.
Clean up contained area VERY thoroughly-

good luck- I've done many like this- it's a bit of work-
just a little
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Old 07-24-2011, 06:36 PM   #5
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100 year old walls with "personality"


Thanks so much
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:18 PM   #6
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100 year old walls with "personality"


The thing about 100 year old plaster walls is that they have character. I had a guy who worked for me, bit of a spackle zealot. He skimmed the walls of a 150 year old kitchen. Before I saw them, I got an irate call from the customer griping that he spackled the character off the walls. And he surely did. Cost me a few bucks. Sand out as much as you can and be selective with your tool (that can go a number of ways). Skim only those areas that are obvious man made screw ups and wear and tear damage, leave the character in place.
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:28 PM   #7
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100 year old walls with "personality"


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The thing about 100 year old plaster walls is that they have character. I had a guy who worked for me, bit of a spackle zealot. He skimmed the walls of a 150 year old kitchen. Before I saw them, I got an irate call from the customer griping that he spackled the character off the walls. And he surely did. Cost me a few bucks. Sand out as much as you can and be selective with your tool (that can go a number of ways). Skim only those areas that are obvious man made screw ups and wear and tear damage, leave the character in place.
don't kill too much TIME or too much Character by doing too good a job.
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Old 07-25-2011, 05:35 AM   #8
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100 year old walls with "personality"


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The thing about 100 year old plaster walls is that they have character. I had a guy who worked for me, bit of a spackle zealot. He skimmed the walls of a 150 year old kitchen. Before I saw them, I got an irate call from the customer griping that he spackled the character off the walls. And he surely did. Cost me a few bucks. Sand out as much as you can and be selective with your tool (that can go a number of ways). Skim only those areas that are obvious man made screw ups and wear and tear damage, leave the character in place.
We will not go there.
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:49 AM   #9
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100 year old walls with "personality"


I think that was a fairly unique client, JS. I have skimmed probably hundreds of walls in old plaster homes and all I've got was - wow! We thought we were stuck with the cracks and crap.
I have offered to use the cracks as part of a marbling effect, but as yet no one has bit on that.
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:34 PM   #10
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100 year old walls with "personality"


Nah brush, he had the walls looking pretty damn new. While not a plasterer, that's what his work was closer to than a drywall finisher. He floated those walls out. I couldn't get him to grasp the concept of three thin coats, light sand. He just had a tendency to apply it too heavily. I couldn't blame the customer. And he also realized what he did and apologized. Unfortunately, it was me who bore the cost. Don't get me wrong, he could do some real nice work with blades but sometimes he just went overboard.
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Old 07-25-2011, 10:23 PM   #11
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100 year old walls with "personality"


OK- Here's another little trick with skimming old plaster. It has "waves" that run horizontally with the lathe. If you skim horizontal, you will fill in the low spots of those waves. Sometimes it can be pretty dramatic the degree it does this.

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