Return to the Old House Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Black walls under paper?

Posted by geoduck (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 5, 10 at 19:22

Hi,

My husband and I are restoring our 1931 bungalow. Our interior walls are plaster and have visible seams, which I always assumed were due to painted over wallpaper. However, on closer inspection, the paper isn't traditional wallpaper-- it's a rough, brown, almost paper-bag texture, and the walls behind it are black. Does anyone know what this is? I skimmed through Jane Powell's _Bungalow Details- Interiors_ and couldn't find any references to it. I did find an old post about a similar situation (link below), but nobody answered the wall question. If you do know what it is, what should I do with it? Can I just paint over it, or should I strip the paper off? I have to admit, I don't love the look of the seams, but I could live with it.

Sorry, I don't have any pictures, but there is a picture in the linked-to thread.

Thanks in advance for any assistance!

Here is a link that might be useful: Previous black wall thread


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Black walls under paper?

Is it tar paper, the kind that roofs are covered with before shingles are applied?


 o
RE: Black walls under paper?

What do you mean by "the walls behind it are black". What part of it is black and what is the nature of the wall material? This might be wood fiber board often called beaver or buffalo board. It would be dark brown but it sometimes had an asphalt saturated face when used on the exterior of a building.


 o
RE: Black walls under paper?

Thanks for the replies! I did a google image search on Beaverboard, and it's definitely not that or tar paper.

The walls are plaster over wood lath. The black stuff is some kind of coating on the plaster. The black layer is then covered with this weird rough paper and painted. My husband thinks the black stuff is some kind of adhesive for the paper, but it's not like any adhesive I've ever seen. If you touch it, your finger comes away dirty (although, in this house, it might just BE dirt :) ).

It seems like it's original-- I can't detect any paint layers under the black stuff, all the paint appears to be on top of the paper. It's in every room except the kitchen, utility porch and bath, which have normal painted plaster and beadboard.

I'll try to post a picture at some point-- I'm apparently the last person on earth who doesn't own a digital camera...


 o
RE: Black walls under paper?

They used to use black mastic to mount things like mirrors or Vitrolite, and it was also used for linoleum glue, but never thought they'd use it for wallpaper paste. It will have to be scraped off. Maybe the brown paper was put on the keep it from bleeding through. It's really hard to stain block asphalt mastic. If it does bleed on you, try a PVA primer.
Casey


 o
RE: Black walls under paper?

Thanks, Casey. I appreciate the info. Sure was hoping to avoid more scraping, though...


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Old House Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here