Why is original plaster difficult to paint?

saintpflaNovember 16, 2008

I'm hoping some of you have this answer. After removing many layers of painted wallpaper, I've finally hit the original plastered walls.

The original plaster in my kitchen is a very, very smooth substance. Modern paint won't adhere. The 'original' paint shows through, but I've had to skim coat it so I can prime and then paint.

I'm sure I've violated some historic plaster commandment....'thou shalt not skim coat original plaster walls...'. But, I don't know what else to do.

It's too late now as it's done, but this is only one room and I can mend my ways for the next room.

Picture is below to help clarify.

The chunks are wallpaper remains on the blue paint

(probably from 1974)...the green guessing 1940?...the yellow original 1920 and in the center the 'beige' is the original plaster.

Thanks for any help!

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There may be calcamine on the wall.

Plaster is usually very easy to paint, even with latex.

Even if you try to skim coat a bonding agent may not stick either (they are just thin glue).

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 1:00PM
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Thanks for the reply, Brickeyee!!

What is calcamine? I've never heard of that. What was the original purpose of it used for? How would you 'fix' it to ready it to paint?

You may be correct, because in some areas, even the plaster didn't stick. I had to sand it, then replaster and then finally prime.

Thanks again!!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 3:04PM
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I've not used it, but I have had surfaces finished in Calcimine. I only had adherence problems in one room. But, it can be a bugger. I found this when I googled. Hope it works and waiting if Brickeye has suggestions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Calcimine coater

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 2:00AM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

You will need to sand it all , clean,apply Gardz,skim,sand,clean apply primer,( can be Gardz again)paint

Here is a link that might be useful: calcimine

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 5:55AM
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"You will need to sand it all..."

Not a good idea unless there is no other option.
Sanding plaster permanently damages the surface, and you should have the multiple layer checked for lead before even considering sanding them off.

While most lead is lead acetate used as a drier and gloss improver, it may be present in very old houses as lead oxide pigment.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 7:45PM
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Thanks for the information. I really appreciate it! :)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 10:55PM
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