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18th century 101


Im in the process of purchasing an 18th century farmhouse, and am not sure if its a good idea. The walls are in a horrible condition. The "plaster" is flaked, peeling, and basically a complete mess. Theres no other way to describe it. I referenced 18th century plaster, and it may be the combo of the chaulk, glue and water mix that is peeling off. In some areas, if you touch it, it turns to dust.

There are a 1000 layers of paint, patchwork that didn't "stick" and sheets are peeling off.

Is this something that a homeowner can repair, or do you have to hire a contractor to come in and replace everything?

Im pretty handy, and look forward to long hours that will eventually show. (I dont think I can make it look any worse). However, I am not sure if this is possible by myself.

Any advice to what this "stuff" is, and how to fix it is appreciated.

Re: 18th century 101

Hello Sunflower, Sounds like you do have lots of work ahead of you. I too don't mind getting my hands dirty on a project, but you have to look at the long term and a few questions to ask yourself
1. Do I want to finished product looking just as it did in the 18th century?
2. Do I want it to look modern on the inside but 18th century on the outside.
3. Are you going to live there as you work cause it can get pretty dirty and dusty working with sheetrock and plaster.
4. Do I have all the tools neccesary to take on the rebuild.
You will need help with the rebuild. If you have good friends that will take a home made dinner for a days work then those are the friends to get. If not then you probably will need a contractor to come in assess the damage and give you some advise, but don't believe every word that comes from their jaw..lol
I have been doing work on my place and have found bad building by my contracters helpers that were just covered up with wallpaper, crooked studs that the bathroom tub was not installed correctly, foundation cracking...seems as if it is a never ending battle....Good luck and let me know what you think

Re: 18th century 101

Hello LM!

Thanks for the reply.
Yes, I would love to renovate according to 18th century, however I am looking at the realty, that I do not have all the money and the time required. If we do get the house, we will have to work on the renovations while there. We would love to have a month or so to do the immediate improvements needed. We will see how it goes...
In regards to the home itself. All the bathrooms have been updated, and done well as far as I can see. I have a close friend who is living in her 3rd 18th century home, and have done some of the renovations herself, and other issues, with a contrator. She is VERY knowledgeable, and am looking to her for lots of advice.
My immediate concern are those walls! As Im reading other posts here, it seems that it may be easier than I thought. Yes, it is a HUGE project to redo all the plaster, but I'm thinking that I can do one room at a time. The good news is that the necessary rooms, kitchen and baths, are alreday done. So I can work on one room at a time, and do it the best that I can.
We were cncerned that the walls would have to be repaired by a contractor, especially with the lead paint issue. Once i start scraping, and repairing, the safeguards needed may be out of my league. I guess thats why Im looking to you all for ideas as to how much I can do, and what I need to call them in for. What is that peeling, crunchy stuff? Is it that chaulk and glue mix? What do you need to make new plaster stick? What is it made from, and where do you get it? Is it lime?
I am READY for the years of work. I actually look forward to it. I do not want to do it incorrectly, and sell it 20 years from now, and make it more of a mess of things. Then again, looking at the place now, I dont think I can make it any worse. LOL
I DO hate seeing 1000 layers of paint on molding. If I could strip it inch by inch I will. Not immediately, but maybe in a few years. Any advice for that? Do people actually move in and do a quick fix, then go back with a fine tooth comb to make it better? Where do you start? and whats the best approach?
Are there any good books that you would recommend, that may give instuctions, tools and products needed tho get the job done correctly?
All in all, yes, I would like to restore to 18th century as much as possible....but with a 2008 "economic crush budget".

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