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harleydragonlady

10:53AM | 10/21/02
Member Since: 01/25/00
6 lifetime posts
Bvbrush
Sorry for the theatrical subject line but I am desperate. I will try to be brief.

First our house is approx. 80+ years old. There is no paper trail so we are not sure of the exact age and I am sure it must be much older than that.

The entire house needs work. First we started with a small bedroom because neither my husband or I are very skilled. While the bedroom turned out rather aestheticcally appealing, the hard fact is we messed up the walls. My husband suggested using some type of fill for the cracks that would expand and contract with the walls. So in essence no more cracks. What he failed to tell me is that this stays soft. If you press it, it will indent. If you want to put a nail where it is, your out of luck. I wasn't very happy with this after I found out.

Now we are doing our living room. And oh the nightmare! The walls were covered under layers and layers of wallpaper. (Some of the most hideous stuff I have ever seen!) And on top of the wallpaper were layers and layers of paint! So removal has been a joy. And now we can see some significant cracks that run from the floor to the ceiling on a diagonal. There must be at least 5 or more serious cracks. (Quite a few smaller and less serious ones too.) I have seen that the walls have a green hue to them and it chips off. I do not believe it is paint. Under the greenish stuff the walls look speckled like a bird's egg and resemble cement. Some old type of plaster I assume. And a couple of the corners are crumbling. Huge chunks are out and my husband has no idea what to do. He wants to patch the chunks back in and I say you can't do that.

There was also a drop down ceiling in the room. I cried after we took it down. It was nearly a foot of space and covered up the woodwork around the windows. But the mess underneath was unbelievable. There were some cracks but that wasn't the worst. When they put up the ceiling they must have been hunting for studs. There are holes the size of quarters punched everywhere! Dozens of them!

That is the way things go in old homes I know but my problem lies with how my husband wants to fix this. Of course he would like to use the same easy material that he used in the bedroom. I say NO! But he has no idea where to start and how to fix these problems and to make matters worse we are on a time schedule!

Any suggestions as far as books, repair tapes, websites with instructions and pictures, or ANYTHING would be so greatly appreciated! Thank you for taking the time to read this. Cheryl



5slb6

12:49AM | 10/23/02
Member Since: 07/28/02
1356 lifetime posts
It sounds as if this may be more than than the 2 of you can handle and I would suggest you call someone who does plaster repair.

harleydragonlady

08:56AM | 10/23/02
Member Since: 01/25/00
6 lifetime posts
Sure wish I had the luxury of calling someone to fix it but that is not an option. We have to do this ourselves and since we have the paper down, it's now or never. I can't imagine living with the room looking the way it does either! And we have to have the room done by the end of the year. Our daughter moved back home after her fiance was killed and she found out she is pregnant, so the spare room has all the stuff from the living room in it and we have to get it out.

So advice on how to fix the plaster is what I need. Can anyone help please?



doug seibert

12:49PM | 10/23/02
Member Since: 08/10/02
843 lifetime posts
Here's my reply to a previous post............The ad-mix is the key to a good bond.....the sponge keeps sanding to a minimum...............

Plaster repair:
Open the crack with a painter's 5-in-one tool or a "church key" can opener.....down to the wood lath........clean all dust debris and loose plaster and flat ceiling surface.........paint all surfaces including the wood lath and plaster edges with a LATEX AD-MIX(liquid at home center)........Mix the plaster patching(powder) mix with the ad-mix instead of water to a thick, stiff peanut butter consistancy..........apply with a putty/broad knife to fill the void and match the surrounding surface.........usually two coats...........force into the crack to "key" to the wood lath.........Use a large damp sponge to blend the surface to match the surrounding finish......doug


harleydragonlady

01:10PM | 10/23/02
Member Since: 01/25/00
6 lifetime posts
Thank you Doug that is information I can use. Have any advice for outside corners? They are crumbling and huge chunks have fallen out!

doug seibert

01:14AM | 10/24/02
Member Since: 08/10/02
843 lifetime posts
Corners.......remove what's loose/broken/bad......Vaccuum/dust the openings for a good bond.......paint the liquid/milk/ad-mix 100% strength on the entire corner........fil the holes with a 2-step plan.......force enough mud to fill about 80-90% of the opening...........use your mud knife "tight" to keep the fill below the surface of the surrounding areas......no high bumps........"There's no sanding in plaster"..............The finish should blend the old/new surface..........The sponge helps to match the surface textures...........

Use a stain killer/primer before painting to provide "hide" for the finish paint

Lawrence

04:58PM | 10/28/02
Member Since: 11/14/00
333 lifetime posts
You might want to consider removing the plaster (if that is what is on your walls) and replacing it with new drywall. Plaster does have its advantages, but a major disadvantage comes when it is not maintained well and starts deteriorating like it sounds your plaster is doing. Creating a smooth, flat surtface when repairing plaster, espeically through multiple layers of deteriorated wallpaper, is very difficult and time-intensive. Merely removing the multiples layers of wallpaper, itself, can sometimes take longer than just tearing the wall down and putting a new one up, not to mention the time spent trying to smooth out repairs.

Drywall has its downsides, but it is the industry standard for walls for a very good reason: it is quick and easy to create a smooth, flat wall surface when installed properly, and it provides as good if not better insulation. Drywall gets a bad rap because of cheap, thin drywall jobs that use 1/2 inch panels or less. Using 5/8 inch drywall is tougher to handle (much heavier), but provides a very solid job that is comparable if not superior to plaster in strength and insulation (sound and temperature).

Installing new drywall is easier than most people think. You just slap it up, screw it onto the studs, tape the joints with fiberglass mesh tape, slap a few layers of drywall mud (joint compound) to smooth out the seams and screwholes, and paint. That is why I often recommend it over patching a deteriorated wall: you end up doing less work and getting a much better final product.

Because it is an old house, you should ensure that your walls have some sort of wooden studs in them to which you can attach the drywall. I have seen a variety of designs in the walls of old buildings: from regular studs surrounded by bricks, to studs running horizontally instead of vertically (connecting supporting beams that do the support work), to random pieces of 2x4 squeezed in a brick/stucco wall. If you have stone, concrete, cinder block walls behind the plaster, then you will need to put together a frame of 2 x 4s in front of the wall, which might become too involved and might make repairing the plaster more time efficient.

Assuming you have studs and it is plaster, you will remove the entire wall: the surface plaster and the wood lathes that hold the plaster up. (Lathe boards are long, horizontal, thin strips of wood spaced less than an inch apart. They are nailed to the studs, which usually (and should) run vertically). Indeed, tearing down the plaster wall is another advantage of just putting a new wall up: you get to demolish the old one! Especially if you and your husband feel frustrated with the project (or each other), there is nothing better on which you can take out your frustration than tearing down a wall! (You can use hammers and crowbars, or get serious and use a sledgehammer.) Removing both the plaster and wooden lathe strips will expose the studs, onto which you fasten the drywall. Consult a Home Depot or other Home Improvement book for more detailed directions.

harleydragonlady

07:28AM | 10/29/02
Member Since: 01/25/00
6 lifetime posts
While taking our frustrations out on the walls sounds like a GREAT idea, I'll pass. The last thing I want to do to this wonderful old house is take away it's plaster walls.

When I go to my mothers house I always touch her plaster walls and tell her that I envy her. (Her walls are so hard that sometimes you go through 4 or 5 nails before you get one in!) My entire house is wallpapered, wallpapered with paint over it, or paneled. After this room it will be 2 rooms down and 8 more to go....sigh....the joys of homeownership!



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