old plaster




















several months ago i started the page 'dear mary moore'-- i have since then been getting emailed questions through the contact form asking for house-related advice.

a recent question was from a young do-it-yourself-er.  she wrote that she had taking the wallpaper off in several rooms in her home and painted the plaster.  she then got to the living room and found that the plaster came right off the wall with the wallpaper!  so she wrote me to ask what to do.

first-- consider your long term agenda for your home--  do you plan to be there for a long time?  is this a short-term situation?  are you going to update the 'systems' of the house-- the heating, plumbing, and electric?  then consider your budget-- do you have money in your budget for renovations of any kind or are you really restricted to painting?  last-- consider your  tolerance level--do you have time and skills to put some labor in or will you need to hire help?  can you live with construction dust, mess, and perhaps other people in your home for some days/weeks?

the answer to these questions will tell you which of the following RIGHT answers will be the right one for you:

1) leave the plaster alone and paint/ wallpaper over the existing wallpaper.  this is the right answer if you are planning to take out all the plaster and re-wire, plumb, etc. but cannot afford to do so at this time.  the existing wallpaper will hold the plaster in place for the moment, and painting over it will give you the look you want as a temporary solution.  new wallpaper will give the old wallpaper and plaster further support-- a good long or short term solution but perhaps not the BEST solution.

2) repair the plaster and then paint/ wallpaper.  this is a costly solution if you need to hire a plasterer-- but the very BEST answer if you plan to keep the plaster walls and want to be able to either paint or wallpaper over them.

3) take out the plaster, lathe, and then sheetrock the walls.  this is the most invasive solution, but probably the best if you need to get into the walls to re-wire, re-plumb, etc.-- and if you want to insulate the walls.  if you do this, consider calling a deconstruction expert who will keep as much of the plaster, lathe, and any other house-parts needing to be discarded out of the landfills.  also consider putting in healthy sheetrock-- sheetrock that will be healthy for you and the planet, sheetrock that won't mold....  there are a number of good options.

good luck!

-mary-moore.



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