1940-50 wall stuff

pinch_meMarch 21, 2011

I hang out at the kitchen forum where no one is old enough to know what I'm looking for! Ya know that linoleum stuff that they used to put on walls? What is it called? Is it possible to find something like it these days? I'm living in the boondocks so no quaint old stores that have been around forever and still has at least one of everything they ever sold so I need a source for either new or repurposed. I "feel" that my walls had the off white with black border but I don't know for sure. I'm pretty sure there is one piece still in the back entry but I would have to excavate to get to it and after I did it would be ruined. How do I even search for something to replace that kind of thing?

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I remember Mom pumping water into our kitchen sink and shovelling anthracite into the basement octopus, Helen Trent seeking love after age 35, Fibber McGee and Molly and Johnny RayCry(ing). But the life of me I can't figure out what you're referring to! Pics?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 9:59PM
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It was a linoleum type thing. Left black crap on the wall when you pulled it off. the black bled through everything you tried to put over it. It looked like the poor man's version of tile with a border around the top.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 10:51PM
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We had that on our wall when I was growing up. I called my uncle (who installed it) he said it was called wall linoleum. He said regular linoleum would work as well.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 9:19AM
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Like you say, the stuff is hard to remove all signs of it, and it was not totally present in all styles of homes during the 40-50 era. I'h here to tell ya, some of the stuff they put in houses in those days, does not pay to emulate exactly. They also put asbestos shingles on houses, but I do not think that is recommended as a material today. There are very durable wall papers which could be less destructive to the future of the home. This is my personal opinion, having lived in several homes which survive the 40s AND 50s construction habits. I spent a LOT of time and effort taking up the mastic black goo that they used to lay the tile floor in a kitbuilt house from the 1940s, and I cussed as I did it too. They have better adhesives these days, which should be considered if you choose to go ahead with the linoleum. I like linoleum on the floors, may use it as a temporary covering for a floor in bad condition until we finish our reno work, but just taping the edges and holding down with baseboard molding, that is as far as I'll go to using such a thing as glue on the floors. And on the walls? Oh man, mastic would destroy the old plaster in this house of mine. Taking it off would mean redoing the walls.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 9:36AM
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Look for Lincrusta.

It is still made in a few patterns.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 10:42AM
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No first hand knowledge how to get this wall linoleum, but I think I do remember it in my grannie's kitchen. Her countertops were linoleum with the metal band around the edges and the "backsplash" was the same and went up the wall maybe 12 inches and I think it was metal banded too. I read your post over on the kitchen forum and saw that you've already ruled out lincrusta as too expensive and are trying to contact Pam on the retro-renovations site. When I googled linoleum countertops, the search revealed retro renovations and showed her installing one, so I think that'll be a good resource, if she ever responds. I didn't find any sources for existing stock of vintage lino for this purpose online, but what I found while surfing around looked like you could use today's linoleum products for a backsplash and the metal banding is available through several sources. Why wouldn't that work for you? Or did you want vintage product to ensure authentic colors, etc.?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 11:07AM
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Ah, so it is Linoleum or a variation thereof from the inventor of Linoleum.

I can't say I've ever seen it. But now that I have, I'm figuring out how I can use some of it somewhere in my next project hoping to attract the one buyer in a thousand who appreciates something different.

Here is a link that might be useful: Paintable wall coverings

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 12:03PM
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If I could find the "perfect" new linoleum I would buy it in a heart beat. So far they are all too "rocky". I need "tiley". I may have to tile it with 4x4's. If I tile it then I'm stuck with tile forever. If I put linoleum up I can take it down when I get tired of the look. Sewing pins are invisible when used as a nail and it doesn't wreck the drywall.

I have the paintable wall paper on the kitchen ceiling in the wainscot and the bathroom ceiling in the tin. I don't think there is anything you could do to those to make them stand up to washing spaghetti sauce off them. I was really surprised how delicate it is. I've looked at a lot of wallpaper. None is "just right".

My house is an 1880 folk Victorian so anything from then until now probably would be OK but I'd prefer not later than 1950. I guess for now I'll stick with paint. It's sorta cheap and certainly easy to change.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 6:52PM
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Lincrusta was a lower cost than using actual plaster decorations (cast and then 'glued' to the wall using more plaster).

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 1:29PM
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You all have me worried now. First off, the people before us had done this weird, plastery wall treatment on the bottom 2/3 of the wall. It had started peeling off, so I though it would be easy to remove. Well, when I started scraping I realized that, just as in the bathrooms, there had been plastic tile on the wall and that's why they'd put this plaster stuff over it..because the glue is there forever. So, we're planning to just drywall over everything because there is NO getting it off. :(

Also, my countertops are VERY old and like someone mentioned, the pattern goes up the wall to the cabinets and it has the metal border. What am I going to find behind the stuff on the wall?!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 10:20PM
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You are going to find black glue residue that will seep through almost everything. Either take the plaster off or cover it with something else. In hindsight, I would put Formica over it just like they did with the linoleum. I don't know if there is a sealer you could use so you could tile.

The counters and backsplash I had were Formica with the metal band. I would do that again, maybe "next time".

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 10:43PM
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If it is the same thing, I had in my kitchen in a previous house, which I am sure is identical to the picture you posted, it is not linoleum. It was put on with black mastic, and does have the tile look, but the material itself was called tuff wood. It was very breakable when it was bent. It is extremely durable, once it is installed, and is also very paintable, if you want to change colors. I am 72, so have seen it many times in my lifetime. :-)) Good Luck in your search.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 4:26PM
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I saw the ad in an old magazine at the antique store today! searching google now. So far not a lot of information about it but surely something more will show up.

Here is a link that might be useful: lino-wall

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 7:46PM
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