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Old 06-26-2011, 10:08 PM   #1
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Prepping plaster walls for painting


Whats the best way to prep an old plaster wall for painting?
Its been wallpapered and painted over several times, so Ive removed pretty much all of that. The bottom most layer of paper is still there, as it wont come off, but I dont believe it is actually wallpaper per se, just some coating over the plaster.
But anyway, the walls are in pretty rough shape. No longer smooth, many nail holes. several patch jobs over the years, missing plaster, loose plaster, etc.
Ive been cutting out any loose plaster and just filling it in with drywall mud in several layers, and it looks pretty good, but over all the walls arent all that smooth. Any tips or ideas or helpful hints?
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Old 06-26-2011, 10:41 PM   #2
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Prepping plaster walls for painting


If it were me, I would heavily prime everything, then float it all smooth. However, I've been floating walls for many years, so it's easy for me to say. Not sure what your skill level on floating walls is. Get a big blade, thin your mud a bit, float the whole wall, sand and repeat. Good luck

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Old 06-27-2011, 08:31 AM   #3
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Prepping plaster walls for painting


I just read something about skimcoating using a 9" roller and thinned-down joint compound...I'll try and find it. But the best would be to have a uniform surface of fresh plaster that you then uniformly prime with a high solids primer.
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:51 AM   #4
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Prepping plaster walls for painting


Addtionally, a pro painter friend of mine who has been painting plaster walls and ceiling for 40 years once gave me this tip.
When he has cracks in plaster, he digs out any loose plaster with a church key can opener and muds it using about 9" wide strip of black plastic vinyl screen instead of sheetrock tape.
Works great!
Good luck!
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:29 PM   #5
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Prepping plaster walls for painting


thanks guys. I guess there is no easy, quick way about going at it. Im doing the skim coat, which hopefully with a little practice, will go a bit quicker (and less messy). Just being a bit humid the last little while, its a bit frustrating to have to wait so long between coats which just drags this out seemingly forever...
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Old 06-29-2011, 06:20 AM   #6
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Prepping plaster walls for painting


couple of big fans helps a lot
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Old 06-29-2011, 07:40 AM   #7
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Prepping plaster walls for painting


If you are at least somewhat confident in your mudding abilities- you can fill any deeper stuff with "hot" mud- the powder stuff that sets up in a given time.
It also can be topped after it's set but before all the moisture has dried out.
Clean out your bucket real clean before the mud sets up in it.
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Old 06-29-2011, 09:48 AM   #8
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Prepping plaster walls for painting


We 'invested' in a 16" long trowel for skim coating - $40! - and it seemed to give better - more even - results than the regular trowels. Paint supply stores have them.
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Old 06-29-2011, 07:55 PM   #9
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Prepping plaster walls for painting


I've just been doing this sort of project here are some of my thoughts from a DIYer's prospective:

- only mix as much setting/joint compound as you can use before it starts setting up. Some project this means a gallon at a time, for my last step today, I was mixing a cup at a time.

- keep your knife and containers scrupulously clean so that hardened compound doesn't get into the mix.

- Think more thin coats rather than fewer thick coats. Use your knife to knock off high spots when the compound is dry/drying.

- Don't overwork one area. Stop while you're ahead.

- I prefer to fill voids rather than having to sand extra off. My last coat is scraped on so thinly, as to ONLY fill irregularities. All excess is scraped off.

- I only sand sparingly, with a high grit block, as the last step to achieve that perfect finish. For example: I'm finishing a 15x17 room with 9.5 foot walls. I spent all of 35-45 minutes with a sanding sponge (by hand) to get the finish I wanted.

- Practice, practice, practice. I'm on my fourth room doing this sort of thing and I am WAY faster than I was.
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Old 06-30-2011, 07:16 AM   #10
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Prepping plaster walls for painting


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leah Frances View Post
I've just been doing this sort of project here are some of my thoughts from a DIYer's prospective:

- only mix as much setting/joint compound as you can use before it starts setting up. Some project this means a gallon at a time, for my last step today, I was mixing a cup at a time.

- keep your knife and containers scrupulously clean so that hardened compound doesn't get into the mix.

- Think more thin coats rather than fewer thick coats. Use your knife to knock off high spots when the compound is dry/drying.

- Don't overwork one area. Stop while you're ahead.

- I prefer to fill voids rather than having to sand extra off. My last coat is scraped on so thinly, as to ONLY fill irregularities. All excess is scraped off.

- I only sand sparingly, with a high grit block, as the last step to achieve that perfect finish. For example: I'm finishing a 15x17 room with 9.5 foot walls. I spent all of 35-45 minutes with a sanding sponge (by hand) to get the finish I wanted.

- Practice, practice, practice. I'm on my fourth room doing this sort of thing and I am WAY faster than I was.
Now, right there is some very fine advise! Well done
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Old 07-02-2011, 06:53 PM   #11
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Prepping plaster walls for painting


Quote:
Originally Posted by ccarlisle View Post
We 'invested' in a 16" long trowel for skim coating - $40! - and it seemed to give better - more even - results than the regular trowels. Paint supply stores have them.
Yeah, I saw those. My jaw dropped as I hummed and hawwed about getting it, but then I walked into tool town and saw the same thing for $6.00. Doesnt have the cushy handle, but works wonders.

But thanks for all the advice guys. The skim coat is a bit messy, but with a little practice with the tools and once figuring out the best consistancy for the mud, its actually quite a relaxing process.
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Old 07-03-2011, 06:34 AM   #12
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Prepping plaster walls for painting


[quote=phantasm72;678689]Yeah, I saw those. My jaw dropped as I hummed and hawwed about getting it, but then I walked into tool town and saw the same thing for $6.00. Doesnt have the cushy handle, but works wonders.

But thanks for all the advice guys. The skim coat is a bit messy, but with a little practice with the tools and once figuring out the best consistancy for the mud, its actually quite a relaxing process.[/quote]

Not sure I ever thought that but I know what you mean.

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