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Old 11-22-2011, 07:12 PM   #1
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refinishing walls to paint


any help/ideas would be great, I'm currently remodeling our upstairs bedrooms/and hallway ,have old horse/hair plaster walls, the hallway has been painted over old wallpaper,after scraping some areas i've noticed weak plaster in corners and other areas of the wall along with the ceiling/wall corners/sides, what is the best way to repair walls before I paint, the only thing that I've never done was mix plaster, but I can learn cause I have to do this right, are there any videos out there on plastering/skimming, patching, and so on, any advice would help

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Old 11-23-2011, 07:43 AM   #2
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Well you need to see just how badly the plaster has failed and figure out why. If there is moisture getting into it from a drain pipe or water lines, you need to resolve that.

Before you patch, you are going to have to demo the failed plaster at least down to the lath. I use a steel hammer and flatbar but everybody has their own technique. Then repair any minor breaks in the lath by stapling some wire mesh in place. Mix only as much plaster as you can use before it cures and just build up the damaged areas to surface with the walls. Apply a thin skim coat to blend in texture. Make sure you use a wide enough blade or trowel.

All that said. You mention you have layers of paint on wallpaper also. And if the repairs needed are extensive, you might be better off demolishing the walls down to the studs and hanging drywall. This will go surprisingly fast.

If you are a purist and can find someone, replaster I guess. I would texture the drywall to match other surfaces if it were me though.

With the walls open you can get to electrical and plumbing for repairs and upgrades too.

You can also use drywall patches and powdered hot dry wall mud for minor plaster repairs but I would recommend the real thing for anything substantial.

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Old 11-23-2011, 12:00 PM   #3
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I've watched some online demo's and found that by taking about 2in on one side of cracked plaster and completely removing those sections and replacing with drywall , that might work best ,working down to stud of course.
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Old 11-23-2011, 12:06 PM   #4
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would you recommend doing a complete demo, I've watch other online demo's and found that removing portions of plaster that are cracked, might be b the best move (replace with drywall and mudding
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Old 11-23-2011, 12:31 PM   #5
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I've worked almost exclusively on antique homes and find that you sometimes have to make a judgement call. You really have to assess what condition things are in, how much patching you are going to have to do, and what outcome you can anticipate and ultimately live with.

You mentioned the painted over wallpaper which will now be near impossible to steam off. So whatever you do is going to look like you painted another coat of paint over wallpaper. Nothing says "I don't care about my house and cut corners wherever I can" like painted over wallpaper does.

The problem with using drywall components to patch plaster walls is that they are different materials. They respond to temp and humidity changes and expand and contract at different rates just to start. It is likely you will see cracks between the plaster and drywall materials. The mesh tape may help some. It was created for these sorts of situations.

And if you find that by the time you get rid of all the failed plaster that you need to and have demolished a substantial portion of your wall in the process? Why not just get rid of the rest?

You can try some plaster repair washers I suppose. They work reasonably well of the lath is intact. I don't know if box stores carrry them because I do no shop in such places. A fastener store or maybe a paint store that serves a lot of pro painters will.



For me it is a practical matter. My clients---even those that love their plaster walls---didn't want to pay me to dink around trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear when demolishing walls and hanging new drywall could be accomplished in a fraction of the time and provide a better solution. And with walls open I was able to get to electrical and plumbing and even add insulation.

Demo is not a challenging task but is a mess and the materials are heavy. You will of course have to rent a dumpster. And if the City you live in spots the dumpster they may nail you for a demo permit. And once they realize you are demolishing to accomplish something else they may be on you for building/renovation permits and inspections.

Last edited by user1007; 11-23-2011 at 12:39 PM. Reason: Added Plaster Repair Washer Images
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:10 PM   #6
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I on the other hand almost always repair the wall, usually ending up with a complete resurface skim. One thing that I have found about the demo method is that you need to remove and reinstall the wood trim, which -if it comes off nice- will never fit exactly the same. So much time is spend fixing that.
But either way I would say this is not a DIY job. Many skills involved.
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:43 PM   #7
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My vote is to rip it all out and redo. Even if you patch up the wall and get it looking pretty decent...........well, it's still just a patched up wall. There are many options........you can put on backerboard and do plaster walls if you want, you can simply put up drywall, or you could do wood/paneling. By ripping out the old plaster you can see any problems occurring behind the plaster, i.e., moisture, poor wiring, no insulation, etc.
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:48 PM   #8
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You guys are assuming the walls are a total wreak , and the other stuff like insulation is needed. Might not be the case at all.
we need to hear from him how bad it is before you start demoing his whole house..
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Old 11-23-2011, 04:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brush Jockey View Post
You guys are assuming the walls are a total wreak , and the other stuff like insulation is needed. Might not be the case at all.
we need to hear from him how bad it is before you start demoing his whole house..
yea really , what one calls bad might just be just nothing but some mesh tape ,20 set, top with joint compound ,prime paint done. but hey maybe it is a gut job
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Old 11-23-2011, 04:47 PM   #10
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I officially cast my vote with brush. I repair plaster all the time. Demolation of any old plaster is a last resort, unless it is actually needed.
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Old 11-23-2011, 05:19 PM   #11
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Sorry if I sounded like I was encouraging the guy to rush in and demolish the walls. I was simply saying that if he carefully chips away all the separated plaster to the point he can repair and finds much of his wall is gone? It seems foolish to patch it. Without pictures or more details we cannot tell. And even then...

My last experience with a horsehair plaster ceiling had to do with a gorgeous space in an old opera house restored into lavish office space. The plaster was showing signs of sagging so we used washers to pull it up. About a year later a section about 12x14' separated almost intact and fell about 45 feet down on to a conference table. Fortunately nobody was in the space at the time. Turns out condensation from HVAC lines had been slowly leaking into the plaster due to a clogged drain on the system. The plaster just got weighed down to the point it just could not take it.

Should we have demolished the ceiling instead of pulling it up in so many places? Hard to say. Had we, we would have noticed the problem. A bullet was definitely dodged.

Last edited by user1007; 11-23-2011 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:33 PM   #12
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thanks to all who have shared there advise/experience, still weighing the options, the hallway is in the middle of house upstairs,between 3 bedrooms and bathroom, 6in high base boards with trim ,doors out of plum, repaired 1 door by taking casing off and re-plum the door frame ,plaster has a crack lines on one wall going from wall to ceiling and across to other wall, covered with old walpaper that was painted over, other side of wall looks pretty good (although I haven't stripped the wallpaper on that side yet) the walpaper if you look real close at celing and wall edge is pulling away but hasn't broken away because it was painted, therefore I can't paint over it (just wouldn't look right) I'm afraid when I remove that wallpaper I'll find more bad plaster the crack in the plaster runs close the door casing of other bedroom and also a hallway wall light. I'm weighing the option of chipping away the old plaster ,removing cracked plaster to the lath and replacing it with 3/8in drywall in that area if it fits then mudding up the seams any other ideas would be greatly appreciated
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:00 PM   #13
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They have adhesive injections for these situations.
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Old 11-24-2011, 12:34 AM   #14
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I am by no means an expert on plaster repairs, however I remember reading an article about plaster wall restoration-They used mesh "sheets" looked like mesh tape but in a 2' wide roll, went over the damaged wall with it, top to bottom. Then used regular compound, 2 skim coats to restore to a smooth finish. Just an idea, however I wouldn't advise it to a DIY unless you've done a lot of mudding.
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Old 11-24-2011, 04:20 AM   #15
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http://www.flexiwall.com/pages/home_page.htm

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