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How do I get rid of this horrible wall texture?

Posted by weedyacres (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 21, 13 at 18:47

We'll shortly be closing on a modest fixer built in 1920 that has this horrid moonscape texture on the living area walls. It's lathe and plaster, didn't see any walls that look like they've redone in gypsum. Here's a close-up where a curtain rod holder was ripped out of the wall, and you can see the lathe.
 photo 101_2200_zps3ddc3c9c.jpg

Unfortunately, there are rounded corners where they meet door way trim.
 photo 101_2202_zpsf802d138.jpg

How best to make our walls smooth? Can we skim coat with mud over painted plaster or is that a losing proposition to get the full face of the wall smooth? I don't think we can just add 1/4" gypsum over it, due to the rounded corners. Do we need to just rip it all out and drywall it properly?

I should add that we're fully DIY on this, with decent skills.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How do I get rid of this horrible wall texture?

you have come up with the answers already, there are no other ways as far as I know.
I would skim it out personally.


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RE: How do I get rid of this horrible wall texture?

You will lower the value if you rip out the lath and plaster. Skim coat it with plaster or setting compound, NOT drywall mud.


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RE: How do I get rid of this horrible wall texture?

My first home was a little 1920s Tudor and it had those walls. That's one of the things I loved about the house. If you're trying to keep the original charm of the house, you might consider keeping the texture. It's period appropriate and shouldn't be lumped in with something like a glittered popcorn ceiling.


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RE: How do I get rid of this horrible wall texture?

it isn't bad looking.
is it all throughout the house?

wouldn't be so great in kitchen where
grease particles could make it nasty
over time.

could you live with it for a while & then
if you don't like it take small room to
try skimcoating it with appropriate coating?

you might regret covering it later.

I kinda like it personally.
but not popcorn ceilings ..glitter or no!

also, glad to see you spelled it lathe, been
a lot of postings about folks droppin the e.

best of luck.


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RE: How do I get rid of this horrible wall texture?

My jaw is dropping right now. A couple of you are saying keep this? Yikes! Is it April Fools Day? How in the world do you incorporate this texture into a charming feature?

For the record, this house isn't a charmer. It's an old house in an old neighborhood in a small town. Fixed up it'll be worth $60K max. If the texture is off-putting to me, it'd likely be off-putting to a future buyer.

But I'm game for an experiment. I've got some employees that are in the income range that they'd be potential buyers. I'll give them a pre-renovation tour and gauge their reactions.

It's only this texture in the living/dining room and the little hallway connecting the bedrooms and bath. I think it's got to come down in the hallway, because the door jambs are damaged and appear to be embedded in the plaster. So to replace them, we'd need to pry them out to put in new pre-hungs, and that would ruin the moonscape plaster.


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RE: How do I get rid of this horrible wall texture?

"For the record, this house isn't a charmer. It's an old house in an old neighborhood in a small town. Fixed up it'll be worth $60K max. If the texture is off-putting to me, it'd likely be off-putting to a future buyer."

Don't be so sure that the texture is off-putting.

Old house lovers love old houses in old neighborhoods. We have no interest in living in subdivisions with no character and no trees!


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RE: How do I get rid of this horrible wall texture?

The wall color is no picnic, either.

Maybe a better choice of paint color will subdue the rustic texture.

$60K for a fully rennovated home, is not in the price range of folks who really care about the texture of walls. Put your skills and money into small things that will have greater return on investment. A nice driveway, garage door, front door, figure out what that old backflow preventer in the front yard is doing, etc.

For what you're paying for this house, I'd be happy to take it and live in there "as is" It sounds like a real bargain!


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RE: How do I get rid of this horrible wall texture?

It's not bad, but I'm from the land of stucco.

It'll be fine in a sensible color. Honest. It looks well done. But what the heck is going on with the floor molding? That makes me think it's not original texture because nobody would have built a house without a plan for the baseboards. Okay, that's not true. People make mistakes like that often enough. But I'd cut a few extra pieces to get the baseboards around that corner.

But the texture is okay. And sorry to make fun of the trim.


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RE: How do I get rid of this horrible wall texture?

Similar texture in historic home in my area:

Here is a link that might be useful: 1930s Spanish


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RE: How do I get rid of this horrible wall texture?

It was a very common "upgraded" wall finish in the tudorish and storybook style houses built before and after WWII in the town I grew up in. Usually restricted to the Living room and Dining room and main hallways. I think it looks better with a more matte paint finish.


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RE: How do I get rid of this horrible wall texture?

"to put in new pre-hungs"

That says a lot.


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RE: How do I get rid of this horrible wall texture?

I'm not liking the texture as is, but you don't have to get it totally smooth, either. I wonder what it would look like with half the indentation depth. There's got to be a product that would do that.


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RE: How do I get rid of this horrible wall texture?

I'm voting to keep the texture, too, wherever you can -- but as pal said, make it a matte finish. We had a 1930s bungalow with a texture similar to this in the living room and dining room. It's very age-appropriate!


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RE: How do I get rid of this horrible wall texture?

OK, you guys and some folks over in the Old House forum have talked me down off the ledge. We've put the sledgehammers down and are going to get lots of GW advice and attempt to make this little house period-appropriate, within the confines of our budget and my needs for comfort and beauty. The texture stays for now.

I'm going to be posting over in Old House to vet our design choices and figure out how to work with a plaster house, since this is our first one. Feel free to join me over there and offer your opinions and advice. And thanks in advance. :-)


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RE: How do I get rid of this horrible wall texture?

I think it might look better with a less glossy finish, try a light color (maybe warm white) with an eggshell or even matte finish. The current paint shines on the texture and emphasizes it...


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