Repairing plaster walls/ceilings in 100-year-old house

by Com7197555
Plaster is starting to crack - in some places this looks like there is wallpaper all over the plaster, but I think I heard on the "Rehab addict" that this isn't really wallpaper. - Can walls and ceilings like that be fixed, or do we need to knock everything off and put up drywall?

  3 answers
  • Ken Ken on Jan 23, 2018

    Yeah, this stuff is called oil cloth. My mother put this up in our house in 1959 because the plaster was starting to break loose from the wood lath.

    It may be that the keying of the plaster is starting to give-way. In that case the ceiling will start falling down in chunks after you remove the oil cloth.

    Removing everything and installing a new ceiling is an ugly job, but if you need to do other work like wiring and plumbing, this may be the time.

    If not there are several sources available that will tell you how to hold that ceiling together and make it look like new again. Here's one:

    • Com7197555 Com7197555 on Jan 23, 2018

      Thank you Ken, I'm going to bookmark this and get to it next 'slow time' with work.

  • Gail Gail on Jan 23, 2018

    If it's just a crack that hasn't yet started shelling out, it's pretty easy to fix. We did so by tape & bedding as in drywall. On other walls, we put half inch drywall over the plaster. After taking out the lathe & plaster on our 1st wall, well.... That was enough we determined capping the plaster with drywall was by far the easier & better way to go.

    If the paper on the plaster has a pattern on it, then it's wallpaper. If it does not have a printed pattern, then it isn't wallpaper but rather the outside paper of the plaster.