We are repairing/remodeling an 1870 farmhouse back to the original design intent for the time. To do this, we are removing the multiple layers of wallpaper, repairing the plaster and starting over. In one room, we uncovered a blue colored primer material that was on the plaster. It will either sand or wash off, but we don’t know what it is. It would mix with the paint that we plan to use and be sealed into the first coat, but we would prefer to get rid of it.
Does anyone know what this material is, the history of it, and what precautions are wise when removing it? Based upon the house history, we estimate that this material was used around 1900 or so when the room was added to the house. It is not found on the older, original walls.
Is there a pattern on it? Is it a "wallpaper"?
My house isn't as old as yours(darn) but I just removed some non-vinyl wallpaper border using 2 mixes. One was extremely HOT water with fabric softener & the 2nd mix (after the first about asphixiated me! HIGHLY recommend NON-SCENTED fabric softener) was extremely HOT water with distilled white vinegar.
I soaked a portion of the border with the mix & then used a spatula/putty knife to scrape it off. Seemed to take off a layer of paint (probably no primer under the paint) but didn't damage my type of plaster.
Soon-to-be-dead Kitty has eaten underwear & pantyhose, books, slippers/shoes & the downstairs phone cord, my boss's job has been "eliminated", dentist(crown-eek) tomorrow & the Winter switch has been turned to high. sigh At least there will be a few more dead gypsy moths & the Dog Class for People will be at the end of the month. If I can hold out that long.
The paper is all off. This seems to be some type of pretreatment that was put onto the plaster and is not sizing. We have removed paper from several old houses over the years and this is the first time that we have seen this material. The concern is based upon the suspicion that it might be a mold or insect control and have a significant toxic content. Since it will wash off, it will also mix into latex paint which would seal it, but I have to remove it to repair cracks, nail holes, and other problems before we can paint. If we knew what it was, choosing the correct removal technique will be easy.
Is it powdery/chalky?
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Found blue sizing or adhesive under wallpaper we stripped in our master - probably installed in early 80s. The original wallpaper installation was one of the best we've seen - all matched well, cut around trim well, etc. Maybe they only used it when they did things right?
I gave it a very quick light sand over the whole wall and then skim coated the entire room, followed by primer to keep it from bleeding (it was a latex primer - may have been Valspar's). A fair bit of work, but a lot less work than any stripping methods we tried (steamer, gel, liquid, elbow grease). The original drywall plaster job was substandard anyway since they were planning on wallpaper.
I've since gotten one of the magic trowels reviewed in FHB (http://www.taunton.com/finehomebuilding/toolguide/product-finder/texmaster-tools-magic-drywall-trowel.aspx). Sure wish I had it when I had done the skim coating - it's really slick. It was a Christmas present, but I believe it came from a Sherwin Williams. Roll thin mud on the wall with a paint roller and go over it once with the squeegee-like trowel. You may need to touch up a bit in corners.
Calcimine? I've seen it in some older homes around here. Sort of a combo thick paint/skim coat for plaster walls. It can be adhered fairly well, but I've also seen it pretty crumbly. Probably depends on the farmer who mixed it. Best to remove it to avoid future problems with paint. Takes some perserverance, especially if on the ceilings as well.
Here's a good description http://www.plasterlord.com/notebook/fcalcimine.htm
Edited 1/20/2008 9:19 pm ET by RedfordHenry