Saturday, February 23, 2008

Covering water stains

The upstairs plaster had some nightmarish water stains from leaks before the roof was repaired years ago.

This spot was in the guest room between the door to the hall and the door to the closet. It comes as no surprise that this is next to the chimney, a common spot for leaks.

Yes, that's masking tape covering a section of missing plaster (See Roll the Tape for more charming uses in this house).

UPDATE -- 2/25/08 -- I discovered masking tape under the toilet rim! Ding,ding, ding! We have a winner for Craziest Tape Location in the Flip.

Scraped and sanded, this is what I had.

I use MH Ready Patch as a base on deeply damaged plaster, then joint compound for top layers (it sands easier).

Sometimes I put a coat of primer on discolored plaster during repairs because the coloration distracts me from where the repair work needs to be done. Sometimes I miss spots, other times the plaster looks so ugly I can't tell I'm nearly finished.

This is what it looked like after patching, a coat of regular latex primer and a coat of high-hiding latex primer I had from a previous project. (See guide to primer selection)

An oil-based primer did the trick in one coat. I used H2Oil-Base Primer, which I'm using on the porch columns and railings. It claims to clean up with detergent and water, but I found a few things that make it go faster.

Cleaning H2Oil-Base Primer:

  • Put dishwashing liquid directly on paint brush. Rub soap into bristles with your fingers and a paint comb. Keep rubbing. Wash under warm running water.
  • Use Goof-Off Hand Cleaner (available in Menards paint department) to remove paint from skin. (Works waaay better than soap on this primer.)

Plaster resources:

When you want to hang a picture, never use nails! Pounding a nail into the wooden furring lathe can loosen the keys of the plaster and cause sagging or bowing of the wall. Always use screws in plaster walls, predrilling each hole. A piece of cellophane tape over the spot you want to drill can keep the surface of the plaster from spalling.

The Park Service has a ton of great material on historic repairs.

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