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Old 04-08-2012, 11:41 AM   #1
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Plaster cracks and pealing paint


I just got my first home and I am about to paint.

There are cracks in the plaster and pealing paint. Is this repairable to the point it won't come back or will it need to be removed and re-drywalled?

Please offer any advise or experience in this situation.

Thanks,
Branden
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Old 04-08-2012, 12:02 PM   #2
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Plaster cracks and pealing paint


This is not a real novice repair- but here is what I do-
First be aware that there is probably lead in the earliest paints there. You can test- or just assume. Cover everything and contain the dust- this is a skill in itself-
Scrape whatever is loose
Prime the whole thing with Gardz- this will stabilize it, stop further dust from the old paints and give a good surface to repair on
Cracks happen because the plaster has moved on the lathe boards that holds it on- I screw the plaster back on to the lathe to stop the movement- you need to develop a 'touch so you just sink the head without popping through, and find the wood underneath.
I use screen tape to bridge the gap, then set the tape with powdered setting mud.(Might be total skim)
second coat and fan out with setting mud
Total skim with a sandable mud like plus 3.
Sand ( I use a vacuum sander to minimize dust)
Prime, look over with a light, touch up mud, resand that, reprime that.
Now your ready to put on a couple coats of a quality paint because after all that work you don't want to use a crap paint. And your done!!
screwed crack:

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Old 04-08-2012, 12:11 PM   #3
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Plaster cracks and pealing paint


It's not lead based paint. All the paint was tested before we moved in.

It's also not plaster on lathe which I just found out. It looks to be plaster over older drywall or something. Which makes me thing that it's the seams in the drywall that are cracking.

Picture of a hole I put in the wall attached.
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Old 04-08-2012, 12:16 PM   #4
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Plaster cracks and pealing paint


bubba2533, it is called "Rocklathe". It was a step up from latheboard. Only way to fix the ceiling is either rip it down and put up new 5/8 gypsum, or put a layer of 3/8" over it and finish as a new ceiling. Most likely this place does not have updated wiring or insulation in the walls, so even better is to go room to room, pull new wiring, etc then insulate, then put up new 5/8" gypsum board.
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Old 04-08-2012, 12:16 PM   #5
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Plaster cracks and pealing paint


It doesn't change the procedure much- but now you need to rescrew the sheetrock underneath to studs, which are usually 16" on center apart.
Straight line cracks are a giveaway for the rock to be the problem.
dust containment is always a good thing- but your lucky it's not lead and it was tested.
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Old 04-08-2012, 12:18 PM   #6
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... another rip and rerocker. It is not "the only way"...

sheesh.
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Old 04-08-2012, 12:44 PM   #7
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Plaster cracks and pealing paint


The house has newer-ish wiring. It's fabric covered romex or however it's spelled. So that won't need to be updated.
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Old 04-08-2012, 01:14 PM   #8
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Actually the Fabric covered Romex dates back to the 1940's, which means that it is outdated and past its lifespan.
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Old 04-08-2012, 01:16 PM   #9
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Plaster cracks and pealing paint


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... another rip and rerocker. It is not "the only way"...

sheesh.
The only way to fix this, due to the RockLathe is going to continue splitting at the seems, is to rip it out and replace, or place sheets of gypsum on the walls and ceiling, and leave the old stuff up, which is not the best way of doing things.
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Old 04-08-2012, 01:49 PM   #10
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Plaster cracks and pealing paint


And why is the rock lathe splitting?

And what if the ceiling has crown moulding?
And what if you do it to walls- how do you make the old trim fit or do you just loose the profile?

Fix the problem is sometimes easier than a tear out. I'm not saying there aren't times when a tear out isn't the best solution, but I know from much experience that it isn't THE only way, or always the best way or seldom the easiest way.

But i know how to repair walls.
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Old 04-08-2012, 01:51 PM   #11
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Plaster cracks and pealing paint


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Actually the Fabric covered Romex dates back to the 1940's, which means that it is outdated and past its lifespan.
Didn't know wiring had a lifespan. What part of the code is that in cause I'd like to look it up?
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Old 04-08-2012, 02:35 PM   #12
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Plaster cracks and pealing paint


Wiring ages over time, and the insulation deteriorates over time, including the fact if there have been surges in the past, it can cause the insulation to crack over time, but you may not see it with visual inspection. My house had BX installed from the 1930's, and when we started pulling it out, the cloth covering and the rubber just crumbled away. That right there told us that it was beyond its lifespan.

Only other way to test, is to have an electrician use a Meggar.
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Old 04-08-2012, 02:38 PM   #13
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Plaster cracks and pealing paint


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Originally Posted by Brushjockey View Post
And why is the rock lathe splitting?

And what if the ceiling has crown moulding?
And what if you do it to walls- how do you make the old trim fit or do you just loose the profile?

Fix the problem is sometimes easier than a tear out. I'm not saying there aren't times when a tear out isn't the best solution, but I know from much experience that it isn't THE only way, or always the best way or seldom the easiest way.

But i know how to repair walls.
It cracks along the seems of the gypsum boards, which are usually 24" by 36 to 42 inches in length. I have cracks on all of the walls in my 70+ year old home. As for the crown molding, you remove it before putting up the gypsum sheets to cover the ceiling. Other wise it appears like a hack job. It will look like a hack job, if the person installing the new sheets did not do it properly.

As for fixing those seems, you have to use fiberglass tape, and vinyl spackle to cover them, and if you do it right, you will never know, unless you have walls like mine that are painted with sand paint.
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Old 04-08-2012, 02:54 PM   #14
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Plaster cracks and pealing paint


Exactly. So if you rescrew the board underneath so it won't move, use screen tape over the cracks, I wouldn't use any thing resembling spackle- but some hard set hot mud to bed and fan out,, no wait- I already said all this.
Reapplying the trim removed will never fit the same because you just changed the dimensions with the new rock. And often it is easy to damage old trim with removal. Nothing fast or simple about it. Etc Etc

That is why I have a problem with any one saying the Only way- there are always several ways, and different circumstances require different approaches.
And if you have a texture like sand or other- will require a full skim to make a smooth wall again. But it can be done.
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