Textured Paint over Plaster

paperkiteSeptember 4, 2012

My husband and I are considering buying a 1926 tudor-style home in a fantastic neighborhood with great schools. The house is a little bit expensive for the area and it doesn't appear at first glance to have been updated in a while. Of course, we will know more when we ask the realtor for specific information and when the inspector gives us a report.

However, I did notice something right away that is making me pause. The walls on the entire first floor, staircase and upstairs hallway of the house are textured with paint (see photo of ceiling in upstairs hallway). When I asked the realtor about this, she said she thought it was textured paint over the original plaster. Immediately, I'm wondering what is under that textured paint and what will happen if I want to someday remove that texture.

I have been reading lately about lead paint as I am pregnant at the moment. It's scary literature! I think the traditional method of removing textured paint is to sand down the texture, skim coat, sand again. But with lead paint probably under that texture, sanding is out of the question for a DIY-er. Also, I read it costs around $7K per room to have professionals remove paint from leaded walls. We do not have the budget for this.

As we consider whether we want to make an offer on this house or not, does anyone have some insight as to how to deal with the removal of texture paint in leaded plaster walls? Also, what might this paint be hiding?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm going to take a wild guess here and say there are probably cracks in the plaster and the textured paint was used to hide them.
don't see a photo so can't tell what type of texture but if it's very raised you could knock it down and then do a skimcoat over it.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 12:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm not sure why the photo isn't posting. I'll try again with this post. If it doesn't work the photo is also located here:

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 12:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't think this texture is trying to hide anything. It is very common in Tudor and Spanish style housing. I would think that your only alternative to scraping is to use a paint remover product which will encapsulate the lead. Seems like a lot of work to me. I don't think that the texture is necessarily just paint; it may be that the plaster was textured this way as per the style of the house. First floors often had more details added than the upper floors.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 2:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Are you certain it's textured paint? and not textured plaster? We just bought a 1950's house, and all the interior walls are some sort of concrete wallboard (you can't drill through it unless you use a masonry bit) then they have been plastered over with a layer of textured plaster. It's lovely, and looks fantastic--we've painted some of the rooms. One room I wall-papered over the texture and the result is really nice. Other rooms, I've put up wallpaper boarders and they look fine, also.

I think you need do more research before assuming it's paint, and not actual plaster. Secondly--you need to sit down with the sellers and ASK questions. They may be able to tell you when they painted--which will give you a good idea whether lead is an issue or not. Don't assume the walls of the house were painted in the 20's. The house we sold was a 1926 house, and back in those days, wallpaper was the preferred wall treatment. We bought it in 1973 and didn't have ANY painted plaster--we had layers and layers of wallpaper on all our walls, but no old paint. But you should talk to your sellers, and find out everything you can about the house, what they've done, how old various things are, if they have any touch-up paint they can leave you, etc. We had a great relationship with both the people we bought from, and the ones who purchased our house from us. I still see them all, and we socialize.

One last question--did you request a lead paint test from your inspector? It's usually an extra, and costs more--unless you specifically ask that it be done, the report probably won't include that info. If you're really concerned, might be worth the cost to you.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 4:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the replies. :) I'm pretty sure it's paint. There is a place in the stairwell where the paint has chipped off in a large spot and you can see that it's smooth underneath. Also, the house in the link below has plaster texture and when you compare that texture to mine, mine looks more like paint.

Good to know that there *might* not be a layer or two of lead paint. I'm going to get it tested if we do make an offer. There are more than two layers of paint on the walls, though, and if one of them is before 1978... well. I could repaint over everything with lead encapsulating paint once all the current chipping places are cleaned up. But I'm not sure how I feel about this faux texture...

Here is a link that might be useful: Textured plaster walls

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 6:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have a little cottage that also has a texture on the ceiling, looks like a brush was taken pushed in plaster, smooshed down and then up. The all over effect is sorta like flowers.I really like it. Our 1910 home has smooth ceilings with the exception of the kitchen and one bath, they put up that horrible rubbly texture, now THAT has to come off. I like the texture on your ceiling, after seeing it I agree it could be original.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 3:12PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Just closed on an older home and homeowners policy was cancelled
Six days ago, we closed on the house of our dreams,...
1850s exterior door hardware?
I have an 1857 Italianate-ish home that is missing...
Dry Rot - Your Opinions, Please
Hello, Everyone... My husband and I are in the process...
1940 house (colonial) need period lighting advice
Hi! I'm really trying to stick with lighting that would...
Anyone know what this is?????
Does anyone on the forum know what this is? Found it...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™