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

Is this unfinished plaster on closet wall?

Posted by greyhounds_n_gardens (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 29, 11 at 17:30

I have a 1927 bungalow with lath and plaster walls. I'm working on a project to install shelves and double hanging rods in the master bedroom closet. I plan to repaint the closet before installing the new rods and shelves.

The fittings (is that the word I want?) in the closet consisted of a 1x3" wood strip around the perimeter with about a dozen wire hooks and a clothes rod mounted on the strip. The strip itself had been nailed into the wall at the joists although it's possible that holes had been drilled first--hard to tell. We removed the wire hooks and rod and then carefully pried the wood strips off the wall. We were able to remove the mounting strip without damaging the wall. I have two questions about the wall surface at this point. First, the plaster that was under the wood strip looks--unfinished? It is grayish white and somewhat sandy or gritty. I am wondering what steps I should take to prepare that area for painting. I had been planning to prime everything and then paint.

Second, there are a couple of spots on one wall where the paint had cracked a bit. I broke off the pieces that I could and under it the wall is a light brownish color. The paint broke off in small brittle bits, so I'm wearing a mask and not doing any sanding at this point Do I wet sand the edges? How should I prime this area?

I took pictures and will try to attach a link to them. Thanks very much.

Here is a link that might be useful: pictures of closet

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Is this unfinished plaster on closet wall?

Hi, & I'll "start" - more knowledgeable people will correct me (let's hope!), lol.
I am no expert - but just based on your pics, and my house, I'd guess that the closet was roughed-in, wood strips installed, then skim (pretty) coat applied around them? I suspect that to be the case, for 2 reasons... the rough plaster texture exposed where you removed the wood, & the exposed edges above & below the naked strip look thicker to me than just a bunch of paint layers.

If I may ask - without trying to sound rude - is there a reason you can't work with the strips, or around them?

Nice, BIG closet, btw! Don't I wish... :-)

RE: Is this unfinished plaster on closet wall?

Me next--from my own experience, the brownish areas are finished plaster, looks like with old wallpaper paste residue; the 'grainy' areas I'd say are the undercoat of plaster--just skim over those areas with 'joint compound', or plaster if you feel up to a challenge. :)

I second the question--what was wrong with using the old strips to mount new hardware? My next question: what did you do with the wire hooks, and can you send me some!? My closets have just enough depth to hold a coat hanger, with a shelf running above the mounting hooks, and two smaller shelves in the end to the right of the opening. My biggest closet (you can actually walk into it, since it's about 3x6, is in the smallest bedroom.

Anyone else out there got spare closet hooks?

RE: Is this unfinished plaster on closet wall?

The newly-exposed area under the trim reveals that you have plaster applied with a sand/float finish. Not unusual for the age of the place. The browner areas appear to be where the browncoat (no relation) was exposed by some damage; removal or degradation of the white coat.

RE: Is this unfinished plaster on closet wall?

Columbusguy, I think I can "hook you up", blatant pun intended! (How often do ya get a chance like that? I had to use it, lol).

If you email me an image of what you're looking for, precisely, I'll see what I can do. (I don't "sell" to friends - & you've been one - so don't offer me anything!). I have a tin container full of closet/coat hooks & (once I locate it), I'll see if I have a few like what you're wanting. (Yes, they are old). :-) I have more of them than I'll ever get around to utilizing, so get an email to me. :-)

RE: Is this unfinished plaster on closet wall?

I agree with Casey that the surface under the wood is plaster with a sand finish.

RE: Is this unfinished plaster on closet wall?

ks, that would be great--I hang on your every post! :)

Here is a link with a pic of the kind I have--they are just dark metal, not brass or anything fancy. I think mine are the size pictured, but I can measure one tomorrow to double-check.

Here is a link that might be useful: Coat Hook

RE: Is this unfinished plaster on closet wall?

I appreciate all the quick responses! To answer columbusguy1 and ks_toolgirl, none of the new shelves and rods would be hung at the height of the original strips, so I thought it would be better to remove them (silly me). I probably could have worked around them, though, and in retrospect, that might have been a better choice. This is the largest bedroom closet in the house, and it's 3 by 5 1/2 feet. I know what you mean about small closets, though--I once rented a flat with a tiny triangular closet in one bedroom. It held about three hangers. It must have worked better when it had hooks. Speaking of hooks, ks_ toolgirl, I'm glad you can offer some to columbusguy1--mine are being reused in other areas of the house.

Casey and palimpsest, thanks for the ID of the sand-float finish in the area under the mounting strips. How do I prepare it for painting? I don't think it needs to be smooth. The painted areas of the closet walls are not completely smooth--they have a "sandy" quality that I had attributed to a sand additive in a previous coat of paint. In fact, most of the walls in the house have a slightly bumpy finish to them. I see that columbusguy1 suggested doing a skim coat of joint compound or plaster. If I don't need to match smooth walls, do I skip that coat? Do I prime it, and if so, with what sort of primer? I saw that someone had mentioned a Farrow & Ball product on another thread, but I do not have access to Farrow & Ball, so other brands would be preferable.

Thanks again for your assistance.


 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.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • 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