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Plaster Walls

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  • Plaster Walls

    I have a duplex that was built about 100 years ago using double brick with plaster on the interior walls. We had a leak down the chimney that caused some minor water damage. There was 3 layers of wall paper on the wall that got wet and the interior surface bubbled. I have scraped all of the paper off to let the wall dry out and will need to skim coat the wall prior to sealing and painting. What type of plaster is best for this, or what type of plaster was used originally for this type of building? There is about 3/4 inch of original plaster directly on the interior brick.

  • #2
    Re: Plaster Walls

    Hi Nkyrental! Plastering this type of surface is difficult. To get a really good finish, it's generally suggested to hire a professional that's familiar with the process and knows how to finish the material properly.

    In most cases, there's a 3-step process. The first "scratch" coat is rough and usually contained animal hair. This coat is then scratched, or grooved, to create a surface for the next coat (brown coat, or floating coat) to adhere to. The third, or white, coat is the final step, and it is difficult to finish properly. Materials for the project can still be had, but they're not easy to find. You'll need to be able to mix them on site. It can be REALLY messy. In a lot of cases, the material can cause irritation to the skin.

    Do a google search for plastering material and you should be able to find some links to products. If you're lucky you can find some video and tutorials on how to apply the stuff. Get lots of extra so you can practice your technique. It's a skill built with time and practice.
    I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

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    • #3
      Re: Plaster Walls

      Good advice Sandy,
      BUT, like you said, plastering properly is something that's learned over time. I'll tape and finish drywall and have my results look as good as guy's who do it daily, but I will not touch a plaster job. Just tough to get it to look right and blend in properly. Those guys are real pros and make it look effortless. Hire a pro, watch him work and admire the finish and be glad you didn't have to do it. Money well spent.
      Cheers,
      Jim Don

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      • #4
        Re: Plaster Walls

        I agree that to "Plaster" takes real practice and skill. Why not stud the wall and sheetrock? What will you lose a couple inches of floor space?

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        • #5
          Re: Plaster Walls

          I might be all wet, but I don't think he is trying to re-plaster the wall--just trying to skim coat it. (Maybe to fill gouges etc from scraping off three layers of paper?) If I am right, he can skim coat it with regular sheetrock taping compound. This will give him a surface to prime and refinish. If the plaster has deteriorated to the point he needs to re-plaster, Then it's either VASandy's or Franki's suggestion is his best bet.
          Jim

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          • #6
            Re: Plaster Walls

            The original plaster is still intact, but there are a few hairline cracks and some discoloration, and some gouge marks from removing the paper layers. I am hoping to skim coat it, sand, seal, then paint. I have done a lot of drywall finish work, and once heard that using drywall "mud" on plaster was not the best way. Are there dry mix plaster patches that are sandable after curing that will adhere to the old plaster tightly?

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            • #7
              Re: Plaster Walls

              If you want to get really technical, real plaster and drywall mud have different rates of expansion and contraction, and layering these different materials could cause cracks and poor adhesion.
              But in the real world, I know contractors that have used drywall mud over plaster for decades with no problems.
              Any big box store will have dry mix plaster for $5 a box. But if you're going to need to do a lot of sanding, it'll be quite a workout.
              Last edited by Dairylander; 09-03-2008, 03:49 PM.

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              • #8
                Re: Plaster Walls

                There are plaster powder mixes that will adhere. There's lots of repair kits for plaster, actually. I had the vision of a large expanse of missing plaster. If it's hairline cracks, check out google and watch some of the videos there on repairing plaster cracks. It's always a bit of a debate whether you can use drywall mud mixes on plaster or not. I personally think it depends on what kind of plaster you have and other variables such as humidity and so forth. To be on the safe side, it's suggested to use a plaster repair mix instead of drywall mud. For a guaranteed repair that won't fall apart over time, it's still a good idea to get a pro in that is familiar with your area and good with plaster. Drywall skills don't really relate well to plaster, at least from what I've seen.
                I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

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