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Solid plaster walls - minor cracks - prep for painting

Solid plaster walls - minor cracks - prep for painting


Old 03-04-11, 07:36 PM
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Solid plaster walls - minor cracks - prep for painting

I have an 1897 victorian and thank god my living room (24w x 14L x 10h) with plaster walls that - after I stripped the wallpaper - are in good shape - some hairline cracks - and some problems around the windows and in the corners where the central chimney sits.

There's no flaking or chalking - the finish is hard and smooth. Yeah, I know - I'm lucky!

I used TSP to clean the walls - made sure I rinsed twice with clear water to remove any residue.

My question is - what's the best primer to use to prep for paint? I plan to do a faux suede or leather finish on the walls and I've learned that wall prep prior to doing anything is key. (My bathroom was drywalled and papered 20 years ago and I have NO issues there because I prepped the walls correctly.)

I'm at a loss for what to do with the plaster though - latex or oil based primer? some other primer that I don't know about? Two of the walls are exterior walls that don't have much insulation (wool and blown in LONG ago - a lot of settling) so I also don't want to cause a moisture problem and have the paint peel inside.

In regard to the hairline cracks and window issue:
I've read dozens of things about the cracks and a variety of "plaster" repair substances. Any experiences or recommendations would be welcome.

The only problem I have is gaps around some of the window trim and on the inside corners of the chimney where the plaster has separated, broken loose or fallen out - I don't want to remove the window trim if I can avoid it - can I silicone caulk those spots or would it be best to plaster/repair them?

As far as the cracks by the chimney - same question - can I silicone the cracks or should/can I use fiberglass tape and plaster of some sort to fix that?

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Old 03-05-11, 04:46 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

I generally use a setting compound like durabond to repair plaster cracks. It's best to etch the cracks out a little so the compound has something to adhere to. On larger repairs you may need to prime the plaster first if it's dusty/chalky. It's hard to say if caulking will work around the windows without seeing them. You don't want to use a pure silicone caulk because paint won't stick to it. Usually a siliconized acrylic latex caulk [it's paintable] works best.

Usually a latex primer is fine for drywall/plaster repairs. If there are water stains or suspected adhesion issues - it's better to use an oil base primer. While an oil base coating doesn't breathe like latex does, there shouldn't be any issues from moisture unless the moisture is coming thru from the outside, if so you have bigger problems. Moisture in the air [humidity] can pass thru the walls when there is no vapor barrier installed. An oil base primer can act as a vapor barrier albeit a poor one.
Old 03-15-11, 07:43 AM
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Has replacment windows been installed in the home yet or are you still dealing with the old drafty needing to be painted all the time windows?
The reason I ask is if there's replacement windows I'd bet the trim was never removed so insulation could be placed where the old window weights were. So there's a big open hole in the wall all the way to the outside.
Removing the trim and making the repairs and insulating will save you a ton of money on HVAC.
Old 03-18-11, 05:34 PM
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If those windows are nice wood windows in good shape and with character, don't just toss them for vinyl replacement windows. You'll lose lots of character. I know energy loss is an issue, but usually you can work around that with some rejiggering of the frames or by buying storm windows. Here's more on that. Don't want to get too far off topic, but it all ties in somehow with old houses.

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Old 03-18-11, 05:57 PM
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Confused by your comment and the link you posted since they're contradicting each other. That site basically says that old windows just don't live up to new windows and don't bother fixing them or saving them unless it's for a shed.
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