What's going on with these plaster walls?
July 19, 2014 8:50 PM Subscribe
I was planning on repainting my daughters bedroom in our 1920 bungalow. All walls were covered with 2 layers of wallpaper and several layers of paint...so I decided to strip them before repainting. This is what I got
posted by The Toad to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
So the wall seems like plaster on lath that is in reasonable shape...there are some hairline cracks and some holes which I think could be fixed. The glue washes off easily and under that the wall is white, smooth, and hard. Yay.
But, the entire top portion of the wall (like a strip that starts above the door/windowframes) has damage throughout. The top plaster portion (the one that is usually white and smooth) is a different color and...crumbly. The transition zone from the top part to the bottom is in worst shape. There's like a 5 inch strip in the transition zone where the top plaster/gypsum layer just crumbles down if you tap on it (thus a few holes along the rim that you can see in the picture - they appeared when I took down the wallpaper). A grey coat with some kind of fibre (horsehair) is below the gypsum...Not sure what would happen if I were to sand or scratch the whole top part of the room, and I don't want to do more damage than is already done.
This, to me, does not seem like water damage from the roof since it is completely regular - it goes around the whole room and the transition line is completely straight throughout. Also, the ceiling looks fine to me. What on earth is this? Was the top portion of the walls replaced with bad material and then crumbled? (Or, my husband's theory, was the bottom portion repaired and the top is just an old and very out of shape original part of the house?). The ugly pink wallpaper that was the oldest layer on the wall must have been from the 60s/70s the latest (possibly even older)...so that means, whatever happened to the plaster beneath it must have happened before that time.
Have you seen anything like this? Most importantly, can I fix this? Not adverse to bringing in a professional, but of course I'd prefer to do it myself if possible. We would also prefer to keep the plaster and not replace it with drywall. We are in Berkeley, if that is relevant.