Monday, November 19, 2012

Plaster vs. Joint Compound

I'm afraid our decision to use a professional to skimcoat the walls of our hallway has opened up a can of worms. Now that we know someone else will be doing the dirty work, we've elected to replace the ceilings in both the upper and lower hallway as well as the ceiling in our living room. They are wavy and cracked in their current condition ("character" we would have lived with if we did the work ourselves). So you know what that means...cha-ching, cha-ching.

I do think it will be worth it though. Ceilings that don't threaten to fall down are an important feature in a home.

But that explains why our living room is all cleared out. Note the bay window. Perfect spot for a Christmas tree, right? Hopefully this will all be done in time to put up our tree this year.

Anyhoo...way back when I posted that we skimcoated the plaster walls of our family room, a commenter asked about our decision to use joint compound instead of plaster. She was concerned that the joint compound wouldn't adhere to plaster. Truth is, I'd never thought about it. Seemed to work just fine in this house and our in previous house.

Recently we had 3 contractors in to bid on our hallway/living room job. Two call themselves plasterers but they really work with drywall and joint compound. The third guy is a bonafide old school plasterer. Guess what they all told us? Joint compound will adhere better to plaster walls. Plaster over plaster doesn't hold up well over time.
I appreciate the honesty, but guy number 3 talked himself right out of the job!

He left us with an interesting thought though. He commented that people actually seek out the historic look of a bare plaster wall and suggested that we skip the skimcoat step and apply paint directly to the walls as they are.
The effect would look something like this wall in our butler's pantry:

A bit like painted cinderblock.
I don't know...I don't think I'm one of those people. I like a more refined look.
Which kind of person are you? Bumpy or smooth?

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