Asked on Jul 17, 2014

How to prepare and paint 1930's cement/plaster walls?

I stripped the paper off the walls and came up with grey, cracked and in some places deteorating walls. I want to know what to do with them.
Christmas time last year. You can see wall in with the 'pink' DAP. are only 3 walls and a large open archway and 3 windows in LR. Lots of light and dropped ceiling in very good shape--large 2 ft squares. Good beige carpet.
  9 answers
  • Marsha Schwarz Marsha Schwarz on Jul 17, 2014
    Depending on the style of the house, how about some wainscoting ¾ way up and then beautiful color to accent. That would be to hide crack issues besides I love the look of that stuff and easy to ‘glue’up. If not that, some sort of spray on it to texture and hide cracks?
  • C C on Jul 17, 2014
    I had horrible walls to deal with in our mobile home. I have been using lots of beadboard! It is fast & easy to install.... and is very universal for interior design style ;) {{it fits well with farmhouse, beach, retro, modern}} This picture was taken before the renovation was complete, but you can see the basic idea. I determined the height I wanted for the beadboard, then, hand textured & painted the wall above that height before attaching the beadboard :) I was amazed at how easy the texturing was too!! Oh, and I have different heights of beadboard in different rooms
    • See 3 previous
    • Melody Drinkwater Wagner Melody Drinkwater Wagner on Jul 19, 2014
      @C Love the colors.
  • Plaster walls can create a challenge. New skim coatings can be done but that takes experience to get the job done quickly. Doing a knock down texture finish where plaster is sprayed onto the wall surface and a large flat trowel is used to remove the high spots leaving a pattern in the wall. But again that takes special tools and some bit of work to get all the walls to look the same. The best think you can do is to patch any holes with plaster, not spackle that comes out of the bucket. They make a spackle that is in powder form that dries pretty fast. This works well. In any case you need to fix the larger holes, If you find areas that are loose, they need to be removed carefully and re-plastered level. It does not need to be perfect. Once everything is dry, you can purchase a wall paper called Sizing Paper. This material is designed to hide poor walls, to reinforce older plaster and its designed to be painted. It comes in rolls just like wall paper. Normally a bit wider. It also can be had with embossing on the surface giving you a pattern that helps hide those walls that are really in poor shape. It goes on just like wall paper and once dry you paint it any color you choose. They also make a special product that works just like the sizing paper. It looks a lot like a window screen only thinner. Its applied using a roller with s special adhesive. You roll the glue on the wall, place the screening on the wall and then roll the same adhesive over it again. Once dry the wall is hard and will resist additional cracking. Simply paint and your done. You can find that product at the better paint and decorating stores.
    • Melody Drinkwater Wagner Melody Drinkwater Wagner on Jul 19, 2014
      @Woodbridge Environmental Thank You, I have plaster walls and needed help on what to do. Thanks for posting this.
  • Pamela Dikeman Pamela Dikeman on Jul 17, 2014
    They now make beautiful padded wall paper for damaged or uneven walls in many great textures!
  • Darla Darla on Jul 18, 2014
    You can texture over the walls using tissue paper and diluted white glue or matte medium.
  • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on Jul 18, 2014
    Thanks for all you're suggestions. They all sound doable. I will just have to find someone to help me with whatever I choose to do. I'll keep you posted.
  • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on Aug 30, 2014
    I purchased the Martha Stewart wallpaper on the Home Depot site and bought the glue also. Now I have to figure out if I have to prime the walls before using the wallpaper on the raw plaster. Anyone know what comes next?
    • Anny Palanzi Anny Palanzi on Aug 30, 2014
      @Shirley Kalinosky Wallpaper primer is what you need and it will probably work on your walls, as well. But I was thinking, instead of wallpaper, you might try your hand at using joint compound on the walls, using a trowel, and smearing and swirling it all over the wall(s). I did that for the first time on my bathroom walls and it was easy-shmeazy, and even a bit therapeutic. Then I painted the dried walls a couple of days later. Loved, loved, loved the look. Oh, and did I mention it was soooo easy, and that was my first attempt. It also solves two problems. You get texture, and it covers imperfections on the wall. Then you can paint it whatever color you like. If you're interested in knowing more, just email me at
  • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on Nov 12, 2015
    I bought rolls of wallpaper from Home Depot and it is embossed and very thick. The cracks don't show through and it's white now, but is paintable if I want to change it later on.
  • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on Nov 12, 2015
    Here are the updated photos.