Very rough texturzation over plaster - leave or cover?

jlc102482May 13, 2010

I have an 1857 home with plaster walls. The upstairs walls and ceiling have been completely covered in a hard, coarse texturizing substance. It was done sometime between the 1940s and 1980s, I'm not sure when nor do I know what it's made out of. I suspect it was done to camouflage bulges in the plaster, as there are several of those that are large and quite noticeable.

I hate the look of the texturization, and more importantly, this stuff is painful! It is as hard as cement and is quite sharp in some places. The hallways are quite narrow and I have skinned my knuckles many, many times by accidentally brushing them against the walls as I walk by. It doesn't help that some of the walls upstairs are at a steep angle, which increases the chances of accidentally bumping your head and consequently grating your skin off on the texturizing stuff. OW!

I know the best method of texturization removal is sanding, but there is so much of it and it is so coarse (think big peaks, not subtle bumps) that I don't think sanding all of it right down to the plaster would be feasible. Would it be possible to drywall over it, or is that a terrible idea? I realize I'd have to sand off the highest points in order to give the drywall a flat surface.

I've attached a photo so you have an idea of what I'm talking about. Thanks very much!

Here is a link that might be useful: Ouch!

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You could just buff down the points and then paint with a high quality latex enamel. The paint will round the points off even more. The points are usually easily removed to a softer, and less dangerous (LOL) finish. I did this with some textured ceilings in my kitchen where it had been skimmed with joint compound, and then hand textured. I wanted a washable surface since I am a serious cook and canner.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 10:48AM
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Well, we had quite a few different textures where people had attempted to cover cracks, but I don't think we had any quite a "pointy" as yours! :-) calliope has a good point about trying to knock off the points first. I think it depends on how much time and work you want to put into the walls. We decided to skim coat our messily textured walls with joint compound and sand to a very smooth surface, then just used a medium roller to paint. DH developed quite a skill at this. It takes patience, gradual coats and in some places, like where you repair cracks, feathering out the coats wider and wider until they blend with the rest of the wall. We love how it looks now. I think we did five rooms and it took us most of one summer with both of us working full time. I did the sanding. Invest in dust masks and detergent! Cheers and good luck with your walls!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 5:01PM
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Correction... I meant to say with both of us working full time jobs outside the home... not working full time on the walls! :-p

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 5:02PM
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We did as kimkitchy describes- skim coat and then sand. It was years ago but I think I remember that the points were hard as rocks and next to impossible to sand with electric sander even and it was easier to skim coat. This was ages ago and we wallpapered rather than paint. a previous owner did the texture in the 70s, if you want a time frame for the horrible habit!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 9:05PM
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Mine was also done in the 70's. In our dining room on the ceiling and the ceilings of the basements. My answer is going to be to remove it. Our neighbor is going to give me a plaster class (they learned to make it with horse hair etc) and I'll redo the plaster myself likely the way it was done in the 1870's :) In the dining room I'll likely go with drywall because we're doing a bradbury wallpaper ceiling and it won't matter (I am expecting the cursing from the ceiling in the basement...about 2000 sq ft) will be enough for me quickly LOL).

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 12:46AM
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