Plasterer Pains

Questions and answers relating to houses built in the 1800s and before.

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Plasterer Pains

Postby sajufe on Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:16 pm

Hi there, Old House Enthusiasts,

We recently bought an 1840s Greek Revival Farmhouse and are trying to renovate it as sympathetically as possible. As part of our renovations we would like to insulate the walls so we can use a more efficient baseboard heating system. We also want to update electrics/plumbing and move a few internal walls in the process as well as rodent-proof. So a lot hinges on refinishing the plaster on the walls after insulation, rodent proofing, electrics etc.

Unfortunately, we received some outlandish quotes from plastering companies in our area. I understand skilled labor has its price but it is just not economical to update a house with around 20k in plastering work which is hardly a strong asset for resale. We are complete novices to home renovations and not particularly skilled in handiwork but we realize we have to learn certain things if we want to keep costs down.

My question is twofold:

1. Do you think we can pick up the skill of plastering some or all of our rooms ourselves? Where would be a good place to start with this in terms of learning resources etc.? I should also mention we have plenty of sash windows (around 4 per room) which mean we'd have to make exact gypsum board cutouts (something that seemed to drive up costs a lot for the pro's quote). Are there certain tasks we would be able to undertake while leaving others to the pros?

2. If you think doing this ourselves is out of the question, do you have any creative ideas where to get the skilled help we need without breaking the bank? We live in central PA and there just don't seem to be many plastering companies (as opposed to people putting up drywall) around. We're somewhat flexible with timing so we'd be ok with some sort of flex arrangement of people doing afternoon or weekend work as a second job but I just don't know how to tap into that (hopefully hidden and not completely absent) talent.

I look forward to hearing your comments!
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