old plaster


I live in an 80 year old house with plaster walls. The majority of walls/ceiling are covered in wall paper with coats of paint on them. Hence, I am getting cracks, bubbling, areas which are pulling away from the wall..
What's the chances of the wall paper covering up a problem of old worn plaster?
a friend of mine told me the best thing to do is to cut out the bubbles, and spackle over them, and repaint. Would you say this is the thing to do? If I remove all the wall paper, I am afraid of just have cracking, chipped walls, hence the reason for all the wall paper. I remember my grandfather put up wallpaper in his house in the 50's for this very reason. Isn't there a way to refinish the surface of plaster (that I will probably I have to hire someone for..)
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i steamed and removed ALL the paper, scraped all the loose stuff, plaster had been damaged by a overflowing tub years ago.
then patched all the holes, bin primed everything and resurfaced with drymall mud. use drywall tape on reoccuring cracks for permanent fix!
then primed and painted.
that was 10 years ago and with minor exceptions the place looks good but does need repainted, perhaps this coming summer.
paper over mess is no fix at all and at resale time you get more for a good looking home.
if you resurface its a great time for blown in insulation or something similiar. plus more electric outlets if needed
whats a few more holes to fix?
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i steamed and removed ALL the paper, scraped all the loose stuff, plaster had been damaged by a overflowing tub years ago.
then patched all the holes, bin primed everything and resurfaced with drymall mud. use drywall tape on reoccuring cracks for permanent fix!
then primed and painted.
that was 10 years ago and with minor exceptions the place looks good but does need repainted, perhaps this coming summer.
paper over mess is no fix at all and at resale time you get more for a good looking home.
if you resurface its a great time for blown in insulation or something similiar. plus more electric outlets if needed
whats a few more holes to fix?
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You may be very pleasantly surprised. Of course they will always be some cracks to repair. Unless there has been water damage most of the surface will most likely be sound. Twenty some years ago we stripped the paper from the walls of a house built in 1923 to find never painted plaster under the paper.
Drywall mud works very well for patching plaster. Add tape for cracks and feather it out. If you do find a bad wall the entire surface can be skim coated with mud and finished to look like new.
Colbyt
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I just found this site, http://www.masterofplaster.com /
They have a product which looks to be for that purpose, "... which can be used over virtually any clean sound surface including sheetrock, blueboard, masonry, structolite, even old painted plaster."
Not too surprisingly, they speak highly of it. It looks like it's applied as two skim coats. It's a little pricey - it looks like $129 for 5 gal, though I didn't find a price list per se, so I could be wrong about that.
G
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Plaster walls and ceilings from the 20's would most likely be wood lathe. After many years, the plaster squished between the lathe,(keys), falls off, and the plaster looses much integrity and cracks and falls off. Papering over it helps to keep it intact, and I'm sure you can patch and repaper to keep it looking decent. Ideally, removing the plaster and lathe and installing sheetrock would be a good solution, or sometimes you can have a 3/8" layer of sheetrock installed over the plaster.

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RBM (remove this) wrote:

OTOH, I've worked on refurbishment projects of many houses from the _18_20's where the plaster is still in excellent condition. For a plaster job of less than 100 years to be in that bad of shape implies it wasn't very good to begin with.
As someone else noted, impossible to say much from the information provided for a particular case. Personally, I'd be prone to keeping the existing plaster and repairing it unless there's far more evidence than a few spots here or there.
I also agree w/ the assessment it's far better to go to the trouble of removing the wallpaper down to a solid surface and then make the decision of whether to paint or re-paper. If going to the effort to begin with, really can't see the point of not doing it right to begin with.
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No way to answer that question. In my previous house (built 1943), the plaster was a mess. Lot of cracking and separation from the lath (the wood strips underneath). In my current house (built 1956), the plaster is all perfect. I recently converted a single electrical outlet to a double, which involved enlarging the hole in the wall. It didn't look like the lath or plaster were different from the previous house, so I suspect the difference might be chalked up to the fact that this house settled differently.

The real question is whether or not you like the wallpaper. Fixing plaster isn't so hard. It's time consuming, but that's about it. As Colbyt said, drywall mud works nicely for fine cracks, or skim-coating a whole wall to eliminate texture you don't like.
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Chris wrote:

If the plaster is cracking and pulling away from the wall, is soft, crumbling etc. then the chance of wallpaper helping is about 0.00001%.

It is really difficult to make general statements as each case is different. It all depends on just how bad the original plaster is.
--
Joseph Meehan

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