I recently purchased a home that was built in '66. It has a type of wallboard that I'm unfamiliar with, having only dealt with gypsum board or paneled walls up until now. This is about the same thickness as gypsum board, but the make up is more along the lines of concrete or something similar. There are quite a few places in need of patching and lots of nail holes to fill. What is this called, and is regular spackling paste a good fix? Also, what are good fasteners to use on this wallboard when it comes time to mount my own pictures and stuff? I've noticed that an electronic stud finder will not work with this material and it is impossible to see any seams or hints of the original fasteners to give indications as to the locations of studs in the walls. I can't even make good use of the old "tap with the hammer" method to hear where the studs are. Any info??
Sure does sound like plaster walls. This is not hung in sheets, but laid on in layers with trowels.
There may or may not be wire mesh, but there will be lathe. Lathe is strips of wood running horizonally, spaced about an inch apart, from ceiling to floor. You should be able to screw into the lathe without much problem. If you miss, just move up or down a half inch.
You can patch small areas with spackling paste. Joint compound should be used on larger areas.