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70 yr old house; 'grey' plaster(?) walls- repaint?

Discussion in 'Decorating and Painting' started by miljee, 30 Mar 2015.

  1. miljee

    miljee

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    I have the unenviable task of tarting up a 70 year old brick house for deceased estate resale. The owner was evidently a heavy smoker and the bedroom wallpaper is pub-yellow! And peeling in places.

    The said wallpaper (applied 25 years ago, I'm told) appears to be stuck straight onto what looks like pale grey, grainy plaster, like fine cement, as opposed to snow white plasterboard of today. This smooth, grey layer is 'plastered' straight onto the bricks behind, but there's no 'cavity' behind it, so it's not dotted onto brick like you might a modern house.

    With a steamer I think and hope I can remove the wallpaper, leaving this grey surface. I accept that if any paper takes off chunks of it I may have to bite the money-bullet and get the room skimmed- but my plan is to steam the wallpaper off, then SEAL the wall surface, then paint it.

    Can I 'seal' the surface with 60:40 magnolia:water water-based paint, then 'Mag' it? Like they tell you to with new plaster? £ are of the essence! I tried sugar-soaping the wallpaper and over-painting it (Bodge-Ahoy!) but oddly, that didn't work.. :) I hope the slightly vinyl-surfaced wallpaper has protected the underlying 'plaster' from nicotine.

    I am genuinely sorry if I am offending experts and purists here in my quick-fix attempt but I am aware the bill payer is broke and there a strong likelihood the buyer will demolish the lot- though they'd be mad to! THIS is the end of the house they might retain and extend the other end!

    Thanks for any thoughts. And please, bear in mind, I'm a radiographer, not a painter and decorator, which is why I ask!
     
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  3. OwainDIYer

    OwainDIYer

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    if there are any lumps missing just fill then with filler. No need to go for a full skim unless it's really bad and you think the time/money/disruption will be reflected in the resale value.

    If it actually is vinyl wallpaper, as was used in kitchens and bathrooms, that was designed to be peeled off leaving the lining layer below as a base for papering over.
     
  4. miljee

    miljee

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    Thanks. I've had a tug' at the wallpaper (it's coming away big time in places!) but it has come away completely, leaving nary a mark on the grey 'plaster' beneath. It didn't leave a base layer at all!
     
  5. Bosswhite

    Bosswhite

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    As you have said the sheets of wallpaper are just dropping off the walls with a tug, and the walls are grey underneath,

    taking the age of the property when the walls were originally papered, its possible the walls/ceiling were painted with distemper, suggest you try wiping the walls in a small spot to see if the " grey" comes off easy, if it does its distemper and you will have to seal the walls prior to any other work carried out, ( I use stabilising Solution, )
     
  6. Robbie uk

    Robbie uk

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    Paper hat is put on bare plaster will generally come off quite easy. If you using a steam stripper, keep the platter moving and don't stay in one place for more than a couple of seconds. If a bit of the skim comes off it can be filled over. If it is bare grey plaster it will need a mist coat and then further full coats to finish.
     
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  8. JohnD

    JohnD

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    pretty sure it is lime plaster on the walls. It is likely to be quite thick.

    If there is any distemper, usually in pastel colours, it will wash off with hot water but not with cold, and has a distinctive unpleasant smell as it is made of boiled-up dead horses' feet. Paint will not stick well to distemper.
     
  9. miljee

    miljee

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    I think it might be lime plaster; it isn't distemper (thankfully!). I steamed off half the paper today and it wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be! There is a need for a) some filler in places, and b) some old mould stain sealant, so I may get some Zinsser B-I-N sealant; but overall, the wall was in better condition than I imagined.

    Interestingly, where the steam from the wallpaper stripper condensed on the ceiling (also papered with that woody-chip, bobbly stuff!- and painted with something satin) the nicotine formed globules that were quite easy to wipe off leaving quite a white, clean finish beneath so maybe, although it'll be 'a job', I might steam the ceiling too, rather than scrub it down, seal it, then repaint it...

    Thanks, all.

    I may be back for more advice soon!
     
  10. Bosswhite

    Bosswhite

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    Wallpaper strippers make good steam cleaners and frig defrosters, some of the home ones come with all the attachments required
     
  11. Nige F

    Nige F

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    Wear vinyl gloves when de-nicotine-ing - the stuff is absorbed thru' your skin . I learned that after giving up smoking :LOL:
     
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