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Plaster Walls, paint removal

Wed May 24, 2000 12:26 pm

My wife are about to close on a 1928 colonial revival. The house is in good shape but there has been some hideous remodeling attempted here and there. One of the things I would like to do is repair the bad plaster patch jobs that have been attemptd in the house. My first inclination is the remove everything from the walls (including all the paint)and patch, sand, and paint from there. Is this a crazy idea? Is there a gel stripper that can be used to remove paint from plaster?

Another question, in the last "remodeling" all the crown moulding was torn out (plaster) and discarded. I would like to put in crown molding in the original style (from pictures) but can not afford real plaster right away. Is it taboo to use the new plastic/fiberboard like materials in a renovation?

Thanks!

warrenkm@mindspring.com

Re: Plaster Walls, paint removal

Thu May 25, 2000 10:33 am

You COULD have the entire wall skim coated by a professional-Yes, it is kinda evil to use the fake crown moulding-but what is the house valued at-is this a $500,000 mansion, or an older home in need of work?? We all love our houses, but it is important to remember that they will never love you back...if the fake stuff, when painted, looks appropriate, and you cannot tell from the floor level weather or not is authentic (and i have been told that you can't) then go for it-there really aren't any old-home-remodeling-police (although maybe there should be-to keep things at least LOOKING authentic-which is the best most of us can afford to do....)

Boneea@aol.com

Re: Plaster Walls, paint removal

Thu May 25, 2000 10:48 am

Does skim coating refer to applying a thin layer of plaster over the paint?

The house is actually quite large and in a fully restored state could go for $400-500K. I hate the idea of 'skimping', but investing 20K or whatever in plaster moulding seems difficult to justify at this point.

Thanks, Kevin

warrenkm@mindspring.com

Re: Plaster Walls, paint removal

Thu May 25, 2000 12:31 pm

Kevin, just wondering why you feel it necessary to remove the paint from the plaster walls? You can patch the bad spots without having to strip the walls. If your rationale is that there are so many layers of paint that it has built up over the years, skim coating will only add another layer of plaster or joint compound on top, compounding your problems. Also recall that plaster walls in older homes do not need to be 100% perfect; that's more of a modern bias that we carry with us into these projects. A few hairline cracks and irregularities will add character to the home.

mblazina@xdconsulting.com

Re: Plaster Walls, paint removal

Thu May 25, 2000 12:42 pm

In this particular case there are patch jobs that looks like someone chewed up ten thousand sticks of bubble gum and stuck it to the wall and painted over it. I don't want that much character. Of course, spot repair may be more appropriate. Since I haven't attempted this before I am trying to built a list of feasible options without any real preference at this point.

Thanks, Kevin



warrenkm@mindspring.com

Re: Plaster Walls, paint removal

Thu May 25, 2000 1:04 pm

Ahh, the old "bubble gum" approach. A time-honored tradition, not to mention *such* a lovely look for any home.

Ahem. Well, hopefully there aren't too many spots like that. Fear not, you can patch plaster. There are sites and books that show you how to do it with the real McCoy, or if you're lucky and the rotten stuff doesn't go all the way through, you can also patch with drywall joint compound.

Hopefully you have smooth walls as the original finish? In my case, the hard thing about spot patching in my 1922 bungalow has been matching the various textures that were original to the house. I have a friend who is a professional plasterer who notes that I have four, count 'em, four different techniques going. The important thing to do is to keep practicing until you understand how to duplicate the texture. In one instance, I had to slap the drywall compound on the ceiling with a dishwashing bottle brush! Of course more compound got on me than on the ceiling, but in the final run, you can barely tell where the patches are.

This is a good place for advice and tips, as well as a healthy dose of philosophy. Keep the posts comin' and we'll keep dosing you!

Mike

mblazina@xdconsulting.com

Re: Plaster Walls, paint removal

Thu May 25, 2000 1:26 pm

Well, I don't know yet. We haven't moved in - kind of getting ahead of ourselves :) Back to the original question though: If I want to remove the paint, what stripper is best? What technique is best? Thanks, Kevin

warrenkm@mindspring.com

Re: Plaster Walls, paint removal

Thu May 25, 2000 6:56 pm

Gotta admit, I have not had to remove a ton of old paint ... yet. There have been a number of discussions here about removing paint from woodwork, but I don't recall any on removing paint from plaster walls. I think there were a few posts at Old House Journal on removing paint from plaster mantelpieces.

The paint removal I've done so far has been exterior only, and I accomplished that with a heat gun and scraper, which worked satisfactorily for me. I own a Craftsman home and the surface planes are all flat and simple geometric ... no fancy mouldings or carvings. All I needed after the heat gun was a light finish sanding.

Sorry not to me of more assistance here, but I'm betting you'll get a few more opinions before we're through. ;-) Mike

mblazina@xdconsulting.com

Re: Plaster Walls, paint removal

Fri May 26, 2000 8:26 am

The only paint I have taken off plaster has been on a ceiling which got soaked due to a major leak when the roof was off last fall. When the plaster finally dried out (it took 3-4 months with the heat on) the paint lost its adhesion and came down in big sheets. I have to scrape the remaining paint as there appears to be much more that will peel off. The plaster appears to be in excellent shape, none the worse for its soaking. I haven't a good idea about removing well adhered paint from solid plaster. The paint that came off was about 1/8th of an inch thick and my house is an 1840s vintage. Sorry I am not more help.

donald_a_mclean@navsup.navy.mil

Re: Plaster Walls, paint removal

Fri May 26, 2000 10:45 am

You're in uncharted waters here. I've been following this with interest since I have a kitchen with paint buildup. I've been leery of using chemical stripper for fear that it would soak into the plaster. You could sand or grind the uneven areas flat, but sanding lead based paint will spread lead dust all over your house if you're not careful. Haven't tried the heat gun yet. If you expeiment, let us know the results. As far as the fake plaster moldings go, you could try them and always remove them if they don't work out. It's not like you're doing something irreversible to the house.
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