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Need Advice/Expertise on Plaster Walls From 1920s - After Panel Removal


leesuh131's Avatar
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06-02-13, 11:00 AM   #1  
Need Advice/Expertise on Plaster Walls From 1920s - After Panel Removal

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I've been lurking this forum ever since we bought our home (about a month now). It's been really helpful and I love it!

Anyway, I have been having trouble finding some "concrete" info on the best way to repair and float out our walls.

I removed all the paneling that was previously covering the plaster walls. There are a number of holes, and it's very sandy. And as you get to the bottom, large chunks have crumbled.

I know it is a lot to ask but would someone recommend the best way to tackle this?

There is still adhesive and what looks like a layer of paint over the actual plaster.

After removing that brown paint, would you recommend sanding the plaster? I've read lots of different things. I'd prefer not to since it's added work but what would be the benefit?

Next, would you recommend priming it?

For the gaps (random holes as well as the exposed laths at the bottom), is all-purpose joint compound sufficient? And for cracks?

I've been reading that the joint compound is good to skim coat and float out the walls to make them even.

Do I have this right?

Lastly, would it be a good idea to buy drywall and use that in place of the gaps instead?

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from y'all!

Lisa

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Last edited by leesuh131; 06-02-13 at 11:17 AM.
 
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06-02-13, 02:30 PM   #2  
Normally, removing all the loose pieces & a skim coat would work but that looks pretty bad. I would probably install drywall over the entire thing.

 
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06-02-13, 02:31 PM   #3  
Welcome to the forums Lisa!

I'm not well versed in plaster repair but when I do repair plaster I like to use drywall products - they're more diy friendly. Setting compounds like Durabond dry harder than regular joint compound and tend to work better for plaster repairs. Small voids can be filled with durabond but the bigger ones fair better if you install a small piece of drywall. It's best to install the drywall just shy of the plaster finish level and then build it up with durabond. Durabond can be a bear to sand so the final coat can be regular j/c - it just won't be as hard as the plaster was. Both setting compound and j/c can be applied over paint although it doesn't hurt to sand them first [especially if glossy]

If you can run by any house under construction, it's highly likely that you can get some scrap drywall for free - beats buying a full sheet Laminating over the existing with new drywall is also an option, tearing out the plaster and installing new drywall gives you the opportunity to update electrical and insulation.

We have a plaster pro that will hopefully have time to chime in later. He can both critique my methods and/or instruct you on using plaster if you want to go that route


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06-02-13, 02:44 PM   #4  
If you don't like sanding, then wall work and you are not going to get along. I would update what you can at this time with the plumbing before you begin finishing off the wall. Can't make out enough detail, but it is galvanized coming out of the wall for the vanity drain. Not sure why there appears to be a second galvanized line coming out from right of the vanity. Depending on how much you have to open things up to do that will help in the decision to patch or add a layer of sheetrock.

Are you going with a pedestal sink? if not, then most of the ugly wall will be covered with a vanity - saves some time and effort. I'll let the electrical guys comment on the plug so close to the sink - is it at least a GFCI receptacle? Base molding will cover much of the transition to the floor tile. Are you boxing in the medicine cabinet opening or replacing with a new?

On the bright side, at least the bathroom isn't pink like it once was.

 
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06-02-13, 04:55 PM   #5  
As much as it hurts me to say it, I think I would remove all the lath and plaster up to 4'-1/2" Above the finished floor and drywall the wall. It is after all a bathroom, probably the smallest room in the house. Maybe while I was in the mess I would take the lath and plaster off to the ceiling and do it all. You would have a nice new room with nice even walls. I think I could get those walls as good as new from where they are but I think it would be easier for an amateur to start with new stuff. One thing, though. You should study up on the lead safe requirements. Go to epa.gov and look for "lead" This might be enough to frighten you out of removing the plaster.

 
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06-02-13, 05:12 PM   #6  
If you take all the plaster out, keep in mind that the door casing was sized for a thicker plaster wall and will need to be modified to work with a thinner drywall. At the same time, we are talking about possibly adding to the wall, the same holds true in the opposite direction.

 
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06-02-13, 11:08 PM   #7  
Lol, yeahh... the pink -- good eye there! And also, they are galvanized pipes! Ugh, I don't know why there is that extra bottom right one either.. :\

I plan on covering the medicine cabinet with a larger cabinet and most likely not a pedestal sink.

Funny thing is, I really enjoy sanding but I've been scraping at the wall allll day and the time spent on this bathroom has got me exhausted... much more than I was expecting.

Thanks for chiming in czizzi!

 
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06-02-13, 11:14 PM   #8  
Thanks marksr!

You made some good points. I was leaning towards just filling voids with compound and skimming until even.

I'd really like to just tear everything out and start over... still have to decide...

 
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06-02-13, 11:18 PM   #9  
We had some wall pros come in and skim coat our house! So what you see is a nice skim coat above what was originally paneling . In retrospect, we should have just removed the paneling first. I had no idea this was what I was in for.

I really like the idea of removing the laths and plaster up to the 4' point. This would mean less scraping of the paint/glue for me, lol! And you're right -- an amateur like me would have an easier time with something simpler like dry wall.

Sigh...

 
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06-03-13, 08:26 PM   #10  
Repair - fill - the areas where the lath is exposed with browncoat plaster. Spritz the lath with water just before plastering to avoid having the dry lath such all of the moisture out of the plaster before it can set.

Do the same with the large pitted spots.

Keep the face of the brown coat below the finish face.

After the brown coat is well set, plaster over that with Plaster of Paris. Again, wet the substrate - the brown coat - before applying the finish coat.

Use a wet trowel to smooth the face of the finish coat as it starts to set. You can also lightly spritz the face of the finish coat to help you so this.

There should be no need to sand anything.

 
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06-03-13, 10:07 PM   #11  
Would that it were so simple.
I noticed pry bars in some pictures. Chances are there are other places where the plaster is crumbled or the keys broken. If the paneling was nailed on that process also likely broke some keys, maybe most of them. If the OP decides to try to plaster the patches what kind of browncoat plaster will they be able to find?
Better that wetting the joinings with water is to paint them with a liquid bonding agent like PlasterWeld or Weld-Crete. Better than plaster of Paris for finishing is whitecoat or easier to find Kal-Cote or Diamond Finish.
And when plaster is loosened over wood lath it is always loose around the edges and all the loose plaster should be removed.

Skimming over paint often loosens more paint and the job is endless.

Were this mine I would have it plastered and finished by now but this kind of patching is not amateur friendly, hence my advice to remove the lath and plaster and go with new stuff. Probably the lath and plaster is a little thicker than 5/8" As much as I resent handling 5/8" goods I think I would use that and shim the studs enough to come out even with the door and window jambs.

 
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06-04-13, 09:44 AM   #12  
Thanks tightcoat, again, for your input. I think you've got some solid advice there.

There's one wall which is still fairly intact with voids here and there. I think I'll be using compound over it and skim coating that.

The other wall -- I think I'm going to remove all the laths/plaster and put dry wall. I haven't measured exactly but 5/8" sounds just about right. Maybe a little thicker.

What do you mean by shimming the studs? Do you mean sanding it to make it more even for an easier drywall application?

Thanks!

 
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06-04-13, 03:06 PM   #13  
If the drywall isn't think enough to meet up with the plaster you would put shims behind the drywall to bring it out further. Sometimes with old framing the studs don't always line up as well as they ought to. Studs that come out too far would be shaved down [usually with a wood plane], ones that don't stick out far enough would be shimmed. Framing didn't need to be as precise back then as the plaster would fix any discrepancies.


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06-04-13, 08:17 PM   #14  
Better that wetting the joinings with water is to paint them with a liquid bonding agent like PlasterWeld or Weld-Crete. Better than plaster of Paris for finishing is whitecoat or easier to find Kal-Cote or Diamond Finish.
Two good points. The point about broken keys too.

When we figured out that the east walls of our two parlors were too damaged to repair, I took them down to the studs, stretched some lines using the window jambs for reference, and shimmed the studs to take 1/2" goods. We skimmed those walls with JC and wiped the surface slick with sponges and wound up with what we wanted - walls that you couldn't tell from the plaster walls in the room by look or feel.

Easier that repairing? Maybe. It was a lot of work.

 
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