Plaster repair and skim coating questions ...
I have a Michigan Greek Revival, circa 1840. I have just finished steaming several layers of wall paper from the master bedroom walls. I have uncovered nice smooth plaster in reasonably good condition, other than hairline cracks and this pink flaky stuff that I assume is adhesive from the original wall paper. The parts of the wall that are free of pink flaky stuff are a natural creamy color. I assume that either the walls were never painted or it has been discolored over the years. I can post pictures if it will help. I still have to remove the wallpaper from the ceiling :(
Should I skim coat the plaster or is there are really great primer like product out there that would fill in the hairline cracks and make for a nice painting surface? If I should skim coat the plaster, what type of material and technique should I use?
I've been reading and it seems that Durabond and Easysand are common recommendations and that premixed drywall mud is evil. I know nothing about plaster, I wouldn't mind trying it, but I have no clue where to start. I am very much a beginner. I'm going for smooth walls but imperfections aren't a big deal (a few streaks here and there isn't going to bother me). I'm leaning towards plaster or Durabond, something that you put on in one coat and don't have to sand (I'll sand if you tell me that I really have to). I do not want to use a drywall compound that shrinks and end up with tons of little cracks. I do want something that will adhere well to the existing plaster (or a bonding agent) and paint easily. I don't mind waiting for something to cure, it will allow me to procrastinate a bit longer on picking a paint color. Suggestions?
My second problem is that one very small wall that was built in an alcove to create a closet (prob mid 20th century) appears to be drywall. The steamer made it very nasty, soft when steamed and impossible to scrape. I did not get all the wallpaper off, but where I managed to get through, I exposed brown fiber stuff, I suspect that I removed the paper surface of the drywall along with the wallpaper. Now it's just a patchy mess. I'm wondering if I should skim coat that wall? Maybe I should seal it with something first to prep the surface?