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thick plaster swirls on sheetrock

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kentannenbaum

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We're closing on a small house soon that the current owner built. He smeared thick compound in swirls over nearly all the sheetrock and embedded fake brick face into the lather. If there's a way to scrape off the 1/2" of crud off the surfaces I'll do the work rather than replacing all the sheetrock with new. I haven't been able to experiment with various tools since we don't own the house yet. Any thoughts? Thanks very much.
 

oldognewtrick

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When I bought my house, the previous owner had this ugly river rock stone applied to the fireplace wall. I tried to get it of with out disturbing the sheet rock with out success. I ended up taking it all down to the studs. Your situation may be different. Only way to tell is get in there and start to work on it.
 

Snoonyb

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We're closing on a small house soon that the current owner built. He smeared thick compound in swirls over nearly all the sheetrock and embedded fake brick face into the lather. If there's a way to scrape off the 1/2" of crud off the surfaces I'll do the work rather than replacing all the sheetrock with new. I haven't been able to experiment with various tools since we don't own the house yet. Any thoughts? Thanks very much.
Attempting to remove the "architectural element" to the board surface will result in significant damage, especially if it has been painted.

I would use a wide floor scrapper to remove the high areas and then apply joint compound to establish a new surface.
 

slownsteady

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You may be shy of putting up new drywall, especially if it's your first house. But in this case it will probably be easier than scraping the wall, and you'll end up doing a lot of mud work (spackling) anyway. So learn a new craft, get some practice and it will look good when you're done. it also gives you a chance to see how well your house is insulated and if the wiring is all looking good.
 

bud16415

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SNS makes great points. If the walls are somewhat flat I might even add an extra layer over what was there many home theaters are built with a double layer and the second layer is glued up with a product called green glue. It would make your house very quiet. If the house needs insulation then take it down. If you add a second layer there are electric box extenders you can get and just take off all the trim and much of it could be put back up and trimmed if required. There is no way to get it off. Would be 100 times more work than putting up new.
 

kentannenbaum

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Thanks ALL for the replies. I was afraid this is what I'd hear, that I'll need to re-rock the place. It's built in 1980 with attention to structure, 2x6 studs, etc and I have little doubt the wiring is fine. Only the walls are really ugly now. Too bad. It's a very inexpensive weekend place with two bedrooms plus the rest of the house so it's a ton of additional serious work I'll probably do myself. Either way, "100 times more work" sounds awful. Thanks again.
 

bud16415

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I bought a circa 1870 house that was up for short sale a couple years ago and really neglected. The old guy I was working with suggested we gut the walls taking down all the lath and horse hair plaster thru the whole house. It had a dozen layers of wall paper and crumbling plaster under that. It was a case of no easy way. The ceilings were equally as bad. I talked the girls into starting in on the wall paper removal and they refused to do the almost 10' ceilings and they were in bad shape. The plan became cover the ceilings with new half inch drywall and repair all the damaged walls with plaster. The reason was the 100 plus trim in the house was never painted and beautiful and just needed some refinishing and I wanted to leave it in place. The ceilings went fast going over the plaster and with extra-long screws into the joists. Only one wall was stripped to the bones in the kitchen as I need to do structural work inside. It was an unbelievable mess I couldn’t think of a whole house, but people do it every day.

The way I see it in your house you have three ways to go, remove the old drywall and put up new, add another layer of drywall over what you have, or skim the walls you have like a plaster would putting a finish coat over a scratch coat. That might be the most practical and the least DIY friendly if you haven’t done much plastering. It could be done with compound and sanding but I would get a price from a plaster before I took on that much skim coating. I believe they have a product that can be painted on to give a finish coat something to bond to. You would have to talk to a pro. We have a few members here that know a lot about those processes maybe they will offer some advice.

I don’t realistically think the 4th option of scraping it smooth is one that will work. You really won’t know until you try it there is always the chance the homeowner before you did this mess over painted walls that may have had a glossy finish and he got a very bad bond and it would come off. It would be worth testing an area to find out. if not then I stick with my 100 times comment.
 

kentannenbaum

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The owner built the place from scratch so the plaster is stuck on unpainted paper. Again, the closing's soon and only then I'll see if the thickness will be enough to crack it off. In some of the space my plan is to panel over the rock, so even of the paper's marred or torn, I'll be able to smooth it enough to accomplish that. In places where I expect to paint, I'll have to take it to the studs. Your 1870 spot sounds great. My current place is a farm house from 1890. Wish it had the great moulding yours does but on the other hand, years before I bought it a previous owner replaced small windows in the living room with single pane six footers and it makes the place quite special. I've done major work here...moving the kitchen from one room to the other, etc, so this work is a joy for me. Serendipity stepped into my life and this other house I've been talking about is on 5 acres that adjoins our 2.5 acres. Thanks for your response.
 

bud16415

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Keep us posted once you get in. we love to see pictures of before and after and of big messy projects. Good luck on the new house.

The old guy grandpa that came over every night to watch and give advice used to say “it has to get worse to get better” And another I liked was “every little bit helps” that was normally after I spent an hour messing around with one sheet of drywall.
 

kentannenbaum

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Thanks for the well wishes. Best I can do for photos at the moment is here's a shot of the faux brick sticking out of nearly every wall. Tough to see how thick the plaster is but take my word for it, don't get close.

DSC01408.jpg
 

bud16415

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Looks like a nice place. Someone spent a lot of time going for a look there that doesn’t quite work for me also.

Good luck and I like the stairs.
 

oldognewtrick

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I think I'd have to try knocking each brick off with a mallet and chisel, then do a skim coat over the wall with a stucco material. I thought the whole wall was brick. I'd be worth a try.
 

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