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Resurfacing old, rough plaster walls

I'm sure there's been a thread about this in the past, but I cannot seem to find it. The hallway of our 1792 home was replastered by the previous owners in the early 1970s. We removed a window in this hallway, which revealed very old, possible original, horsehair plaster beneath the current surface, which is about 1/4" thick (the current surface). The plaster is unpainted and almost stucco like (and its grey and depressing looking). I think the previous owners thought it would look "original", particularly in the places where they seem to have added swaths of darker grey (whcih almost look like water damage). I've tried sanding a small area, but then it occurred to me that there might be asbestos or lead in the plaster, and frankly, it seems like a better idea to resurface the entire hallway. I'm considering doing this myself...any experience with this? Advice? Would joint compound work? I'm up to the task, but my husband thinks it would be just fine to paint over it. I'd really prefer the walls to be smooth, and we're not really up to having a professional do it for us.

Re: Resurfacing old, rough plaster walls

You could try resurfacing the wall with a setting type joint compound found in bags at lowes or hd .It will be stronger and set time is written on the bag.Or you could try bonding the wall with bonding agent and resurfacing the wall with plaster.Base coat first then finish.Any other questions just ask.Hope this helps!

Re: Resurfacing old, rough plaster walls

Yes, I would agree that skim coating would be a good option. As someone who does this for a living, here are some tips I can offer to make you job easier and better.

1. You want to make sure the areas to be skimmed are free of dust and any other loose material. Also, any kind of oil, grease, cleaning agent residues, etc.

2. Using hot mud (quick-setting joint compounds) is a great way to go provided you are reasonably fast and don't mix too big a batch at a time. Otherwise, go with regular all-purpose joint mud for all coats required. If using hot mud, do your final coat with all-purpose - a lot easier to sand.

3. Follow a system to make it easier on yourself. Make all your mudding strokes the same direction within a coat. For example, for first coat, make all strokes horizontal. Second coat: fill in the ripples with all vertical strokes Third coat: whatever is still needed. Good luck!

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