bump in plaster wall

rosalyndFebruary 23, 2006


Our staircase is in the middle of our house so there is a wall going up both sides of the stairs. On one side there is a big bump protruding out. It's all wallpapered, we are considering removing the paper and prepping the wall for paint but may end up w/a bigger job than we bargained for with that bulge. This will be the "battle of the bulge". Is this from the house settling over the years? It's a colonial built in 1902 (see my previous post) Any assistance will be appreciated. I can post pics if needed.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It would be speculation for anyone here to say what the reason for the bulge is. It's likely a bowing out from settlement, as you say. Is it possible for any water to have entered in the past and caused the wall to sag? Is the plaster hollow sounding when you knock on it?

I had a bulge and spalling at the top of my plaster walled stairway at the ceiling. It seemed that the cause was that a crack developed in the plaster and with the moisture in the house migrating in and through the crack was exposed to the cold in the attic (through conductance in the framing and lack of sealing) and gradually weakened the plaster and it swelled and bowed. I just chipped out the plaster to a solid base and capped it with overlapped fiberglass mesh and Durabond 90.

You could drill a small hole and prode about to determine what you have. I gather it's your intention to eliminate the bulge before you paint regardless of how big the problem is.

If your case is from settlement, you may end up with a large hole by the time you remove the bulge. I posted a message on the thread on this page that has to do with repair of plaster walls. I referred to a Ask This Old House episode in which Tom did a repair of a large hole in plaster wall.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2006 at 6:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I read in a book once that you could drill holes into the plaster, squirt some liquid nails type adhesive in behind the plaster, and then press it back onto the lath with a bit of plywood braced up with some 2 by fours. I don't know if it would work well, or if it is too large an area...the plaster night just crack and fall off of the wall....
It might work though...
Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 9:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

could be some old electric buried - that's what some of our bumps were - yikes live wires buried w/masking tape at the ends

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 2:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Depending on the size of the bulge, another possibility is that there is a gas light pipe there, and was just covered over when the fixture was removed...sounds like a stairway is an ideal place for such a thing.

My house was built in 1907, and I have come across several buried pipes for fixtures--mine were originally combination gas/electric. Luckily I still have one of the original fixtures in the attic, though the gas is cut off, the electrical socket still works fine.

I'll also mention that every upstairs room has a capped off pipe in the floor where heating fixtures were originally attached! I have left these in place as part of the historic charm!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 12:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Today I looked at house built in 1892..thinking of purchasing it - or at least proceeding with an inspection. There were several bumps in the plaster walls. In several locations - you could tell someone tried to patch the walls but did a a horrible job.. Is there a "safe" # of bumps in a house... meaning if there are 2 - is that better than 10? Would an increased number of bumps or damaged areas indicate excessive house settling? Which could then mean foundation problems? I looked at the walls in the basement and did not see any bowing. I did notice in one area that the brick had been replaced with cinder block and Im assuming cinder block didnt exist in 1892....?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 12:15AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Claw foot tub...best?
I also posted this in the bathroom forum, but though...
New windows in kitchen for 1926 house
We are planning a kitchen and bathroom remodel in our...
This old house plus church!!
Well I need someone to talk with about my latest plunge....
Jason J
Should we try to reuse old windows?
I am not sure how old the windows in our second floor...
prairiemoon2 z6 MA
Sanity check: Huge window & shutter repair/replace bill?
Hey folks! I am the proud new-ish owner of 1740s brick...
Sponsored Products
Progress Lighting Metal Gray Plaster Frame Clips (4-Pack) P8700-01
$5.85 | Home Depot
Pro-Series 4 Cubic Foot Electric Cement Mixer
Beyond Stores
40 in. Sansevieria - 400910
$209.99 | Hayneedle
Arteriors Home - Angora Side Table - DD9008
Great Furniture Deal
Uttermost Stuart Silver Leaf 36 3/4" High Wall Mirror
Lamps Plus
Secret Scroll Pendant Lamp in Black
$399.99 | Dot & Bo
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™