Plaster repair in a home built in 1905-HELP!

shasha120November 4, 2009

Well everyone, after noticing the paint peeling away from the windows, like a peeling sunburn I starting picking away. 24 hours later, I found that a liner paper had been placed over the original plaster walls (1905 home)and painted by the previous owner. What is left are gray plaster walls that leave a residue on my hands when wiped. What is this? What is the next step now that I created a monster!

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manhattan42

Your best approach may be to have 1/4 to 3/8" drywall hung and finished over the existing plaster.

This will encapsulate any lead paint you are sure to have exposed and to provide a stable wall covering surface which can then be painted or otherwise finished.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 11:41PM
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brickeyee

"This will encapsulate any lead paint you are sure to have exposed and to provide a stable wall covering surface which can then be painted or otherwise finished."

The lead paint is far more likely to be on woodwork than walls.

Lead acetate (AKA 'sugar of lead') was used as a drier and gloss improver in gloss paint, not flat wall paint.

Lead pigment went away long before the lead acetate.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2009 at 2:17PM
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karinl

Or was it newer paint applied over old wallpaper? Then there's no lead paint issue unless on the trim. And even if there is a lead paint issue, that can be overcome with careful removal, especially if the room can be cleared and sealed off from the rest of the house.

So the next step is either cover it up, or remove it. It is likely plaster applied over lath. The plaster alone, or both that and the lath, can be removed. Messy job!

If the plaster is solid, barring the surface (not sure why it would be doing that powdering thing), then you might even be able to just paper over it. Drywalling over it means you have to space out the trim, or bury it with the new drywall.

KarinL

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 12:54AM
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manhattan42

"The lead paint is far more likely to be on woodwork than walls.

Lead acetate (AKA 'sugar of lead') was used as a drier and gloss improver in gloss paint, not flat wall paint.

Lead pigment went away long before the lead acetate."

Not exactly true.

Lead is common in ALL paints installed prior to 1978.

Lead paint in areas subject to wear and tear are the most likley sources of contamination and ingestion.

These areas include window sills, banisters and handrails, porch and deck floors.

Because these 'trim' areas are more likley the cause of lead contaminants in most homes should not be confused that lead in wall paints cannot or are not also a likely source of lead contamination.

They are.

Flaking wall paint or dusts razed from the demolition of walls coated with lead paint can be just as or more hazardous than lead in trim paints.

Encapsulating all lead paints can be the most effective means to mitigate the problem.

And no one should be mislead that wall paint is safe in homes painted prioer to 1978.

It isn't.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 10:00PM
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brickeyee

"Lead is common in ALL paints installed prior to 1978."

Nonsense.

Lead pigments (lead oxide for white) stopped being used around WWII when titanium oxides came into use.

Lead acetate (AKA 'sugar of lead') was a drier and hardener in high end gloss paints, not flat paints. It actually does taste sweet, and this is part of the attraction.

Lead driers are not required for flat paints, and only remained in use in expensive paints past the 1960s.
It was common in exterior gloss paint, and remains available for special uses.

The incidence of lead poisoning has continued to fall, and exactly tracks the removal of lead tetra ethyl from gasoline.

Sounds like you have been reading the EPA publications that still do not even acknowledge what lead compound was present in the paint.

It would be too complicated for the common people.
Like explaining to them that not all asbestos is dangerous, just certain specific types.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 8:35AM
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maryland_irisman

Lead was used in all sorts of paint. Although more commonly found in exterior and interior glossy and semi gloss trim, it was used in the pigmentation of the higher end paints used for interior walls.

You can buy a lead test kit at any hardware or big box store. To satisfy your concern, why not test it first. Also be aware that plasters and spackling compounds of the past had asbestos in them. In many localities, this was one reason an inspector would require the walls be painted before issuing an occupancy permit.

Manhatten42 offers the best worry free approach to the repair by encapsulating any possible lead and not having to be concerned about asbestos dust. Many locations are becoming very strict concerning the "possibility" of lead and asbestos presence. Anyone trying to sell an older home especially via HUD or FHA knows the frustration. Home inspectors also include it on their inspections. If you decide no to go this route, be careful when sanding since you may (or may not) be exposed to lead and asbestos dust.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 10:16AM
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manhattan42

Thanks for the confirmation Maryland Irishman.

And just as a reminder, the US Environmental Protection Agency will soon require (beginning in April 2010) that all remodeling contractors be certified in lead abatement after that date:

Here is a link that might be useful: EPA Lead Abatement Certification

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 11:07PM
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windslam

Oh brother, when you see plastic being hung,drop cloths being laid, guys with suits and hoods, big trucks with vacuums, EPA certification and so on and so on....paying someone to come in and abate a small piece of molding is going to cost a fortune!!!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 8:09AM
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brickeyee

"Lead was used in all sorts of paint. Although more commonly found in exterior and interior glossy and semi gloss trim, it was used in the pigmentation of the higher end paints used for interior walls."

Lead white pigment stopped being used to any great degree after titanium dioxide was invented to replace it.

Lead yellow was also quickly replaced as soon as a stable pigment was developed.

Neither of the pigments are as serious a hazard as lead acetate. Lead acetate is easily and readily absorbed.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 9:08AM
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maryland_irisman

"Lead white pigment stopped being used to any great degree after titanium dioxide was invented to replace it."

brickeyee,
You are absolutely correct in your statement however know that it was not completely removed from all paints. I agree, we shouldn't be flying around like a balloon without a string but then again, we should not dismiss the fact that it still did exist in some paints used by consumers on interior walls. Knowing that, some form of precaution should be taken before arbitrarily sanding or other methods, for removing paint in older structures. This is a 1905 home. You can bet there is lead paint in there. I'd be concerned even about how many lead water pipes are in there. Much of the colored wall paper, especially those with a metallic print, contained lead. It's still used today to some extent in the coloring of newsprint, magazines, etc.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 10:07AM
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rjd59

I f the house is well insulated, carefully stip the plaster from the lath using respirators, clean up any nails and cover with Gypsum board. If the hous e is not well insulated and is poorly wired, perhaps it is time to strip the walls and rewire and insulate. The dust indicated to me that the plaster is possibly breaking down due to humidity or just age and various chemicals used over the years to "clean" and strip the walls.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 3:13AM
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