Home>Discussions>PAINTING & FINISHING>painting 100 year old plaster
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noahjack
painting 100 year old plaster

Hi

I have recently purchased a house (in western oregon) built in 1909 that has many, many layers of wallpaper and wood paneling over plaster. So, I embarked on the mission of removing all of this until I have gotten down to the plaster walls. Needless to say this was a time consuming mission but I got there.

I want to paint this plaster. I am hoping to get some advice on what kind of primer to use on these old walls. I think it is worthwhile taking into consideration that these walls are over 100 years old and do have numerous hairline cracks and some minor damages to the walls that I will be fixing.

Am I better off using latex or oil based primer? Does anyone have any particular brands that have worked well for you on plaster of this vintage? How many coats of primer would you recommend?

thank you

Ryan

Sombreuil_mongrel
Re: painting 100 year old plaster

I use oil primer on old walls, especially if there was wallpaper; latex paint will not stick on wallpaper paste.
After oil primer, you can go about taping over any significant cracks, then if you want use whatever primer and paint you wish.
If you have damage or loose sections of plaster, the time to fix those is before you pick up a brush. There are tons of articles and different approaches on the web to advise you about plaster repairs.
Casey

Clarence
Re: painting 100 year old plaster

For the plaster repairs I would recommend you use Master of Plaster restoration plaster.
This product is a Historical correct mix of lime , marble dust and binders.
It is easy to work with and would not be applied thicker than about 1.25mm which means you could skim the complete wall area and would leave a very smooth finish.If you go with the above type repair use Peel Stop to insure there are no loose paint remaining on the walls.

ordjen
Re: painting 100 year old plaster

In the late 1800's and early 20th Century, it was very common that a brand new plastered house would have all the walls hung with canvas, which would then be painted. This took care of the spider cracks that would occur in plaster. Also, over the years, a build up of oil paint would take place. One could simply get hold of the canvas and rip everything off back down to the original plaster.

There was relatively tight weave canvas, and also textured canvases. If you ever have the opportunity to tour the Chicago Art Institute, all the exhibition halls of this late 1800's building are covered with a heavy weave canvas which is painted an off white. It makes a subtle background for all the priceless master paintings hanging on the walls.

Today there are many plain and patterned , vinyl covered canvases which can be left unpainted.

There are also many reinforced, textured, dry strippable wallpapers which are intended to be painted. These have embossed patterns on them. They may be left unpainted also. Some are embossed with patterns which resemble old tin ceilings, and lend themselves to older Victorian type homes. Most of these wallpapers come out of England and Germany.

When hanging directly over bare, slick plaster, old fashioned glue size was first applied to the wall. This was simply thinned down paste which was first applied to the wall to give it extra tack.

Julie Weller
Re: painting 100 year old plaster

I have a 1950s home. The kitchen had extensive water damage and I've begun scraping off peeling paint (also on the opposite side of the wall). My local professional paint store said to use a special paint for plaster walls so this doesn't happen. Are they correct, or do I simply use a proper primer? If so, which primer? (Oh--and the root of the water damage has been fixed with a new roof.)

Pyewacket
Re: painting 100 year old plaster
Julie Weller wrote:

I have a 1950s home. The kitchen had extensive water damage and I've begun scraping off peeling paint (also on the opposite side of the wall). My local professional paint store said to use a special paint for plaster walls so this doesn't happen. Are they correct, or do I simply use a proper primer? If so, which primer? (Oh--and the root of the water damage has been fixed with a new roof.)

Any primer should do - unless there is a chance of wallpaper paste residue. Or if there are stains or odor. Then an oil based primer like Kilz original or a skim coat prior to priming. If there are stains or odor I'd still go with the Kilz original even on top of a skim coat.

Julie Weller
Re: painting 100 year old plaster

Thanks pyewacket!

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