Plaster or...

justducky22June 28, 2010

We purchased our 1928 home about a year ago and are still trying to figure this out. I know that most of the walls in the home are still plaster but we are having trouble with the living room and dining room areas. The dining room being the worst. Someone actually stapled the ceiling! It looks like some kind of paper or something. I did not think that plaster had a paper layer? It almost looks like someone put wall paper on the ceiling. In the living room, there are spots on the walls (where they meet the moulding) that have bubbles? I will try to post a picture later so you all can see what I am talking about. Any ideas?

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brickeyee

It would be very hard to get staples to penetrate into plaster, and there would likely be a lot of flaking and damage to the surface.

They will go into drywall rather easily.

If there are any electric boxes in the ceiling you can look at the edges of the hole for them to see how the ceiling was finished.

An ice pick or scratch awl would also tell, though with slight damage to drywall (a tiny hole).

It does not take much effort to drive either into drywall (and even all the way through) while you will hardly leave a mark on plaster without hammering on the ice pick.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 7:40PM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Wall covering on the ceilings in this time period were very common. Staples? I do not understand that.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 4:56AM
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justducky22

I was also thinking that it was some kind of wallpaper or something. I am afraid to yank the staples as we are not ready to tackle that room yet and don't know what they are holding up. Yeah, I don't get the staples either. I am hoping to find the batteries to my camera today so you can see what I am seeing. Thanks for the replies!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 8:42AM
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brickeyee

I remember working in a house from the late 1920s removing painted over wallpaper from a large living and dining room.

The paint was even alkyd (oil) and a very dark green.

By the time we razor scraped the walls then went about steaming off the last layer of the paper the ceiling paper was falling in entire strips across the length of the rooms (over 20 feet).

Good luck figuring out what is up there.

It often takes some detective work to discover what has been done to old ceilings and walls over the life of an older house.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 9:03AM
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palimpsest

My upstairs ceiling has a layer of sanded spackle or plaster over a layer of 19th c. ceiling paper on an 1840 plaster ceiling.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 9:41AM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

By the time we razor scraped the walls then went about steaming off the last layer of the paper the ceiling paper was falling in entire strips across the length of the rooms (over 20 feet).

That happens more often than not.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 5:24AM
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karinl

I'm guessing the glue let go, perhaps due to a leak, and someone stapled the wallpaper back up.

KarinL

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 12:02PM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

I'm guessing the glue let go, perhaps due to a leak, and someone stapled the wallpaper back up.
KarinL

Tht's probably exactly it. I still don't get how the staples stuck in the plaster though.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 5:58PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

If the staples follow a grid pattern 1 foot square or 1x2 feet, it would be ceiling tiles. Long staples could have been enough to just hit the lath; if it was lime plaster it may have been soft enough to get a staple through.
Casey

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 6:26PM
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