Repainting old plaster - how much to scrape?


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I first stripped the wallpaper from my bedroom walls using a steam stripper and scraper. This revealed a lurid pink paint on the walls and a peculiar purple ceiling paint which came off in sheets like vinyl. The ceiling is now stripped revealing a blue paint which I intend to leave on and give a light sanding. The pink wall paint comes off like Mozarella cheese after the steamer has been held over it for a little while. It's painfully slow progress and I don't know whether to continue stripping it. I have considered buying a hot air gun to use instead of the steamer. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Answers 2

The two standard ways to strip paint is heat or chemicals. Both are labor intensive and messy, and chemicals are caustic. I assume you are planning to strip the paint only because you are left with an uneven surface after it was already partly removed? Otherwise, just paint over it right?

It might be easier to lightly scrape to remove loose...

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I'm working on this myself--done the bathroom, now working on the bedroom.

- First wipe down and use spackle to fill in any dings and dents in the wall.
- Use a scraper/putty knife to scrape areas where there's peeling paint so that any and all lose bits come off.
- Sand the spots where you've spackled and the peeled paint spots so there aren't any noticeable raises around their edges. Try and get them as flat and smooth as possible.
- Vacuum then wash the walls with a light soap and water and rinse by wiping with clean water.
- Take off the electrical outlet covers and any other thing affixed to the walls. (Turn the power to the room off at the breaker first!)
- Tape off door trims, outlet plugs, floor trim, and ceiling edge using painter's tape. I taped newspaper to the top edge of the floor molding so that drops wouldn't hit further down.
- Put down a drop sheet. (For the bathroom I used an old shower curtain, but in bedroom I'm using a...

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Hi guys,

In need of some advice here. I had to repaint a wall and there were a few bubbly areas where the paint had bubbled and cracked. As I started to prepare the wall, the paint was just peeling away in large sheets back to the plaster. The bare plaster is dry and there are no damp issues but when I run my hand across it it is a bit chalky on my hand.

If you have a look at the photos you'll see that most of it has come away but there are a few areas where it just won't budge so I'll leave those bits.

Few questions:

1)There is a crack above the door frame (see photo), I have scraped this out and removed any loose plaster. Do I just polyfilla this or should I use something else.
2)In terms of preparing the wall I need to get a smooth surface as the bits of paint that are still on the wall are raised from the plaster. How should I do this, should I apply a thin layer of joint compound?
3)Do I need to seal the plaster? Would you recommend any zinsser...

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Repairing small cracks in plaster is easy compared to plastering a whole room. To repair small cracks in plaster, you’ll need patching compound, medium- and fine-grit sandpaper, a sanding block, a putty knife, a masonry chisel, a paintbrush, a rag, and a screwdriver. For finishing, you’ll need primer and paint.

Remember: Plaster repair is much more difficult than fixing drywall. Unless the repair is small, don’t attempt any plasterwork unless you’re trained or experienced. It’s easier to replace a wall or ceiling panel with drywall.

1Use the chisel to widen and undercut the crack.

By making the back of the crack wider than the front surface (undercutting), you create an opening that the plaster can grip.

2Scrape out all loose plaster with the tip of the putty knife, and wipe away the dust with the rag.

You don’t want any loose particles ending up in the plaster patch.

3Thoroughly dampen the full length of the crack with a wet...

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Repairing Cracked Plaster | How. Stuff. Works. Older homes often have lath- and- plaster walls. Plaster is both a durable and good- looking surface, but there is one drawback: Plaster inevitably develops cracks.

Latex paint will hide hairline cracks in plaster, at least temporarily. The coverup, though, may last only a few hours or a few months. Small plaster cracks have an annoying way of showing up again and again. It may be smarter to enlarge them and fix them properly once and for all. Making a small flaw bigger may sound like reverse logic, but it's easier to fix big cracks in plaster than small ones. Use plaster of paris, which doesn't shrink as it dries, or purchase premixed plaster repair compound.

How to Paint Old Plaster Walls; How to Paint Old Plaster Walls by. Allow the paint to dry for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer and apply a second coat of paint. Allow the walls to dry completely before.

Repairing large plaster cracks...

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How Long Must I Wait to Paint new Plaster?

When a wall or ceiling is plastered the wall is obviously wet. A very frequent question to DIY doctor is how long must I wait before I can paint it.

There is no definitive answer to this question as all walls and ceilings will dry out at different speeds. With a normal centrally heated house you can be pretty sure of safely painting after 4 weeks but it can take as long as 6 and with extra heat in the room it may be ready in 3.

The reason for not painting before the wall is completely dry is that most paints will simply form an air tight skin over the wall. The moisture from the new plaster is then trapped behind this skin and cannot evaporate off. The damp then either retreats back into the wall where it develops mould growth or reacts with the salts in the wall to become Efflorescence. Either way you have a problem on your hands that is incredibly difficult to deal with.

A fully plastered wall, i.e. two or...

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Here is one scenario – you paint a new colour onto a wall that has previously been painted and while the paint is still wet you notice it bubbling up! Then, when you rub the bubble it bursts and leaves the original plastered wall showing! Now you have an uneven surface.

Another scenario – you roller a coat of white on the ceiling in the bathroom and the old paint comes off on the roller! EEK!!

The worst case I have seen of this was in a stairwell in a renovated house and the paint on the walls of the stairwell was coming off in sheets like wallpaper.

Why does this happen?

It happens when newly plastered/skimmed walls or ceilings aren’t given enough time to completely dry before painting. The temptation is to start painting as soon as the plasterer has left the building but plaster takes longer to completely dry than you might think.

If the plastering has been done in the winter months it will need several weeks to thoroughly dry – please don’t be...

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Two years ago I repaired water damage to an original plaster ceiling and wall in the foyer of a 1913 Colonial Revival. The water leak had been previously repaired and all areas were dry when I repaired and painted. The repairs included repainting the entire foyer and I used drywall joint compound to fill the holes and smooth the areas where paint peeled off. I used Zinsser Bullseye to cover the water damaged area and latex paint and primer for the top coat. Almost immediately the paint began to lift up and peel, even in areas which had not been repaired, though painted. During the repairs I noted that the exposed plaster had a smooth finish which had a green tint.

Now I have again scraped the peeling paint, ani done some repairs to the plaster. This time before painting I sanded the exposed plaster to scuff the surace, which seems to be working in most parts of the walls but not all. And in some areas the original paint has begun to lift up again after the most recent...

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Stains come in all shapes, sizes and sources. From yellow nicotine film to a water stain from a leaky faucet or roof, there's something dastardly about how easily stucco and drywall can discolor. Wood can be problematical, too. Stained wood can be difficult to cover and a real challenge if the surface has been varnished.

On stained, varnished or very dirty walls, paint has a tendency to not stick, so a good pretreatment may be necessary. For paint to stick, the walls have to be clean. In the case of nicotine stained walls, that means a thorough going over with a strong cleanser and degreasing agent. The chemical residue in layers of cigarette smoke can be tough to tackle, but TSP (trisodium phosphate) or ammonia are both effective.

Once the smell and most of the yellow are gone and the wall has had time to dry thoroughly over a day or two, prime and paint as you would normally. Enamel paints and primers (oil based) can be a hassle to work with, but offer great...

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Need to tackle some plaster repair? Flat plastering is a time-honored, magical craft, the process of mixing dry powders and water into wet, plastic mortar, then spreading it over entire walls so that it creates a surface that is die-straight and alabaster smooth. Skill and handed-down trade practices are the secret ingredients in traditional plaster, and they help make it a durable, original, and beautiful finish that old-house owners go to great lengths to keep. In contrast, flat plaster repairs are usually much smaller and more variable, with techniques adapted to the many kinds of damage and decay, from tiny cracks to large holes, and through hard-won experience. Though being handy comes into play here, too, repairs often gain as much from clever products specifically made to improve the results and assist the ad hoc plasterer. What we'll explore here is an overview of these methods and materials to explain what's possible with plaster repairs and how they can help you retain...

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Old plaster walls are more temperamental than drywall so you have to put a little more elbow grease into the preparation work before you paint. Don't take short cuts on the prep work or you may find yourself doing repairs later. Fix damaged areas of the walls with a patching compound recommended for use on plaster and apply an oil-based or shellac primer to seal out moisture. Follow with a top-quality latex paint to give your old plaster a new look.

Move the furniture to the center of the room. Cover the floor with drop cloths. Take the pictures and switch outlet covers off the walls, and remove the nails with the claw end of a hammer.

Inspect the walls for damaged areas of plaster and use a scraper to remove crumbled, flaking pieces. Spot-prime the areas you scrape to ensure that the patching compound adheres.

Fill the holes and large cracks in the plaster with plaster patching compound, using a putty knife. Cut a piece of mesh tape the appropriate size to fit...

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Plaster ceilings, a staple in older homes, develop peeling paint and cracks over the years. Whether you want to update the color or fix the damage, ceilings need preparation before painting and the proper tools to get the job done right. Repainting a plaster ceiling can quickly update and improve the appearance of the entire room.

Ceiling Preparation

Old plaster tends to crack, and layers of old paint can create a peeling, flaky mess. The old paint requires removal before you can repair and repaint the plaster ceiling. A putty knife scrapes off most of the old paint, but scrape carefully so you don't gouge or damage the plaster beneath. In older homes, have the paint tested for lead before you begin. Flaking lead paint can cause health problems and necessitate professional removal. Once the old paint is removed, spread a thin coat of joint compound over the ceiling to cover cracks and irregularities so the ceiling is smooth for paint application.


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Often, before you can take on the more satisfying part of a painting project — the actual painting — you have to do the less enjoyable part: taking loose caulking and old, peeling paint off the surfaces you plan to work on. A scraper will be your best ally in this endeavor; it may be a simple device, but it can eliminate most of a wall’s previous paint. Eventually, you’ll sand the surfaces in order to make them uniform.

Scraping requires, of course, a scraper, but also a drop cloth (to catch the old paint bits that fall) and safety goggles. Divide the area to be scraped into parts. The idea is to clean up the mess you make while scraping each part before moving on to the next one. In addition, your morale will stay higher if you can achieve small victories along the way to completing the entire project.

Make sure the areas you want to paint are free of irregularities. Nail holes often need to be scraped, since nail removal creates small bumps in wood exteriors. Your...

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