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?













12 comments:

My Crafty Home Life said...

Our first home had plastered walls. I must admit, I don't miss them. It is a good choice to replace the ceiling. I know it is not a fun way to spend money, but you should only need to do it once. I agree with you, I like smooth walls. You may want to have a plan B for the tree.

Ashley said...

Like the previous reader stated, going with a professional (and opting to spend that money) hopefully means that you won't have to have the ceiling or walls re-done down the line. I hope for your sake that the work goes quickly and your tree can occupy that lovely bay window!

DecorandtheDog said...

My OCD only allows for smooth walls.

Maury @ Life on Mars said...

I'm a smooth wall kinda gal, I'm all for character, but not that way.

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

I'm a smooth kind of girl too; I can't even bear to look at our rough plastered ceilings. Interesting topic - I didn't know the difference!

Naomi Jackson said...

Smooooth! Unless it's a ceiling. Then I don't really care about the texture.

Sharon @ Laurelhurst Craftsman said...

We have a 1912 Craftsman and we have both finishes in our house. Our contractor hired someone to come out and apply joint compound over cracked plaster. It was very smooth and looked nice until we moved into the room, but the joint compound is VERY soft. If any furniture touches the wall, it pushes right through the paint, exposing the white layer beneath. I am constantly touching up the paint in that room.

We hired someone to smooth coat bedrooms with a plaster finish. The walls are hard and smooth. I much prefer the plaster finish and I think they'll be more durable and won't need quite so much touch-up.

aptpupil said...

with a coat of plasterweld, the plaster should stick to plaster just fine.

Ashley@AttemptsAtDomestication said...

I'd say smooth for sure, but I don't know anything about plaster.

I do agree that that window would be the perfect spot for a Christmas tree though!

Carol@TheDesignPages said...

In our previous home (you know, the identical twin to your house) we had to remove wallpaper from the entire main floor which meant tons of cashola having the walls patched and repaired. I left the plaster in the living room and painted over it and loved the way it looked so authentic with the home.

Ada (new york) said...

Interesting notes on plaster (I have to remember that!!). I def prefer a smoooooth finish/look to the walls in my home :) The window is a great spot to showcase (illuminate) your xmas tree.

Lisa @ Cozy Condo Living said...

Since I live with horrible orange peel bumpy walls right now, I'm partial to smooth walls. Good to hear that you won't have plaster coming down on your heads as you watch TV.

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