What IS my wall made of?


Old 12-07-04, 10:00 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Question What IS my wall made of?

Bought a house in Portland built in 1954. As we begin to redecorate we've found that behind the LAYERS of wallpaper, there is nothing. Well, I am not sure what the surface is. It looks like the walls are simply concrete with some kind of painted seal. Does anyone know what it is and whether we need to cover it with sheetrock or something to do it up right?

I am concerned because there are gaping holes where hardware for draperies was installed, and nasty clumps of glue under the wood panel I have removed. There are some places where you can run your finger along the wall and crumbles fall to the floor. Painting over that isn't going to work and I can't imagine trying to texture to cover such major flaws.
Sponsored Links
Old 12-07-04, 11:10 PM
awesomedell's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 2,425
Welcome aboard!

Stucco maybe, hard to say, never been up in that area, sounds like it's in pretty poor shape. Can you determine if there are any wall studs? Sorry I can't be of more help, post a link to pic if possible and we'll try to help you out.
Old 12-08-04, 11:33 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: California
Posts: 1,722
Some other information would help us. What is the exterior? Stucco? Siding? Masonry?

How large are the gaping holes?

The crumbles that fall to the floor: Are they soft, can you crush them in yur fingers? How large are they?

Judging by the age of the house I am guessing that you have gypsum plaster over gypsum lath. That does not fully explain the crumbles or the cement like appearance, however.

If you have plaster over gypsum lath (called RockLath by USG but there were other brands) the holes in the wall could be like you describe if they were not in the studs.

Indeed a picture would help or give is more detailed information. I think you can fix what you have.
Old 12-09-04, 08:33 AM
caleyg's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 327
Sounds alot like standard construction in Germany. I've lived there for 8 years. The buildings are all masonry--even the interior walls and doorframes etc. They use terra cotta blocks stuccoed outside and in--well inside they call it plaster, but it's the same general idea. About an inch thick with a sand aggregate applied directly to the block. When it gets old it crumbles exactly as described. I once put a pair of 1 1/2 inch crumling holes trying to find something solid to anchor a shelf to. The holes just grew and grew.

Seems like I've seen similar construction in parts of the US (Denver?) over common brick.

I'll leave it to the pros to say what you can do about it, but my guess is the best thing would be to go back to the brick and use furring strips and drywall--if this is what you've got and don't have any studs in the walls. to find out drill a few holes and see if your drill hits something hard that you can't drill through (brick) or goes into a void (between studs).

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes