wallpaper on plaster

I am removing old wallpaper with a few coats of paint ontop for good measure.. Under the brown backing paper is smooth plaster (with cracks.. 80 years old)
after fixing the cracks, does this plaster need to be skim coated before priming/painting? it looks like there was nothing done to the original plaster..
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Unless you need to smooth out irregularities, there's no need to skim coat. Just prime it. I did this 17 years ago in my old house, and the wallpaper's holding up nicely. I don't recall what kind of primer I used, though. Check with a real paint store.
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thanks! I am knee deep now in old wall paper/paint..
I came up on (what I think will be the first of many) areas where the protective coating on the plaster as bubbled up and when I scrape the wallpaper and all off, along comes the plaster, exposing the gypsum base (or whatever it is) underneath. It is still solid and intact. Would I have to get a plaster person to float a coating over top to make it look good? Or can I use the heaviest vinyl spackling I can find and just patch/prime/paint..?
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How big are the damaged areas, compared, say, to a dinner plate, or a bath tub? I think you only need to hire someone if you're talking about enormous areas.
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the one area I have now is about the size of a golf ball, but the looseness continues on for about an inch or so (the coating still is up, but I can press on it and it gives a little)
but, this is just the first one exposed.. there are lots of areas where I feel a little give under neath the painted wallpaper. only time will tell..
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If it seems the plaster has pulled away from the lath underneath in a large percentage of the room, it might be time to get some estimates for replacing the entire wall with sheetrock.
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a house painter friend of mine said the best way to get painted wallpaper off the wall is to use paint/varnish stripper.. I have my doubts (caustic chemical, ya know)
ever hear of that being used?
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Never heard of that. I think you will be sad if you use a lame shortcut. Step into the fire.
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I have used just regular drywall mud to patch flaws in my 80-year-old plaster. Sometimes the plaster topcoat (the white layer, maybe an eighth to quarter inch deep) separates from the base coat (brownish or grayish plaster about a half inch thick). As others have said, if it's just a few little places it's not hard to patch yourself. If it's all over the place you might want a pro. If the whole plaster layer has separated from the lath, that's a different and worse problem. If there are areas where the wall is bulging or feels spongy, (usually big areas, like at least a foot in size) that would be separation. There are ways to fix that too but it becomes a bigger project.
Personally I think there is much to be said for keeping the old plaster if you can, it is much more soundproof than drywall and gives the house a solid feel. And if you decide to take it all down it becomes a disposal problem. -- H
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there ain't no way I am taking this stuff down.. so, I won't have a disposal problem.. but yeah,. I do have some seperation issues in a few areas...
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In that case there are two approaches. One is fasten the loose plaster down, using nails or screws and "plaster washers." Then skim coat the area. The other approach is to remove the loose plaster and replace it with new plaster or with pieces of drywall. And, of course, then skim coat. I have never tried the washers, I have done some replacement of pieces with drywall. This might be the time to get a book and/or video out from the library, if you haven't done any of that before. -- H
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