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How to Smooth Rough Interior Walls?

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  1. #1
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    Default How to Smooth Rough Interior Walls?

    My interior walls have a very rough finish, it is quite an old house (built in 1960). The previous owner has painted the walls with a sickly brown but I can still see a very rough surface. How can I create a smooth wall surface for my walls? Would I coat it with plaster or something and then sand it down? It is sort of like rough sandpaper but not gritty. It seems to be a board like hardboard or something?

    Here are some pictures to show the roughness, it's even rougher than it looks in these pics (click the links to see full size pics and see closer up of roughness etc):
    Close up:

    full size pic here: http://homedeals.info/blog/wp-conten...oseup-wall.jpg

    same but with different lighting:

    full size pic here: http://homedeals.info/blog/wp-conten...seup-wall2.jpg

    I would also like to do something with the horrible wall diverders (I'm not sure of the proper name, maybe skirting?) . But I was thinking maybe I could just place board in between these dividers so I could make all the wals flat and smooth. Here is some pics to show you how ugly it looks:
    Pic of walls near front door:

    full size pic here: http://homedeals.info/blog/wp-conten...-dividers1.jpg

    Wider angle:

    full size pic here: http://homedeals.info/blog/wp-conten...-dividers2.jpg

    Here is a quick mock up in photoshop on how I would like the wall to look (without dividers)

    full size pic here: http://homedeals.info/blog/wp-conten...t-dividers.jpg

  2. #2
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    It looks like it may be canite or something similar.

    If so you won't be able to skim coat it to get it smooth, it would require re-lining with plasterboard.

    It is very hard to tell what the product is from a photo.

    Cheer Rod
    GREAT PLASTERING TIPS AT


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    By the rough surface, I tend to agree with Rod that it could be canite. Then again, it could be masonite hardboard, or it could be asbestos with some sort of rough painting job. That external corner cover mould looks like it's asbestos, but the quad moulds are probably timber. Get a sharp knife and dig it in a few millimetres. If it's soft, and light brownish, then it's probably canite. It's a good insulation material, so I'd just put plasterboard over the top of it with long screws into the studs. If it's masonite then it will be reasonably hard and dark brown. Ditto with plasterboard over the top. If it's asbestos, it will be hard and grey like cement, but it doesn't move like masonite so you can tape and set the joints, and put external angles over the corners and plaster them smooth, as well as skim coating the whole wall. When you're sanding, wear a good respirator and don't sand into the asbestos. Once it's painted there's no risk, but it won't be as easy to get a good a finish as if you put new plasterboard over the top of the lot. Of course then you should remove all your skirtings and architraves, pack your door jambs the thickness of the plaster, and nail them all back when you're done, patching up any places where they are short.

    edit; After a closer look at photo #4, it looks like there could be a vertical joint running up the wall. It could be a wallpaper joint, which would explain the rough texture. Someone may have painted over all the wallpaper.
    Cheers, John

    Short Stack (my son's band)


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    thanks everyone for the feedback!

    John, your feedback is very helpful. I have been also talking to some local people on an aussie forum here about my issue and most people seem to think it could be asbestos too.

    I'm going to get a builder around to inspect it and tell me exactly what it is. Once I know what it is I will then decide what to do with it but I think I will put new plasterboard over the top of the lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by pawnhead View Post
    By the rough surface, I tend to agree with Rod that it could be canite. Then again, it could be masonite hardboard, or it could be asbestos with some sort of rough painting job. That external corner cover mould looks like it's asbestos, but the quad moulds are probably timber. Get a sharp knife and dig it in a few millimetres. If it's soft, and light brownish, then it's probably canite. It's a good insulation material, so I'd just put plasterboard over the top of it with long screws into the studs. If it's masonite then it will be reasonably hard and dark brown. Ditto with plasterboard over the top. If it's asbestos, it will be hard and grey like cement, but it doesn't move like masonite so you can tape and set the joints, and put external angles over the corners and plaster them smooth, as well as skim coating the whole wall. When you're sanding, wear a good respirator and don't sand into the asbestos. Once it's painted there's no risk, but it won't be as easy to get a good a finish as if you put new plasterboard over the top of the lot. Of course then you should remove all your skirtings and architraves, pack your door jambs the thickness of the plaster, and nail them all back when you're done, patching up any places where they are short.

    edit; After a closer look at photo #4, it looks like there could be a vertical joint running up the wall. It could be a wallpaper joint, which would explain the rough texture. Someone may have painted over all the wallpaper.

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    Now I'm intrigued.
    Get a pointy knife and a chair. Stand on the chair in front of a doorway, and dig the knife into the wall down against the top of the door architrave. Twist it around a bit until you've exposed about a 5mm round piece. Take a clear close up photo of the hole and the dust that came out, and post it here, then put some chewing gum in the hole and smooth it over. No one will see it unless they step so far back from the door that it becomes unnoticeable anyway.

    I might be able to tell you exactly what it is.
    Cheers, John

    Short Stack (my son's band)


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    this isnt related to your question but I noticed you said this at the other forum

    'They never even checked the garage either and when I moved in I found it is full of black fluffy caterpillars and I have to cut down a couple of trees to get rid of them'

    It sounds like you may have cape lilac trees? before you cut down the trees get some dipel (it's an organic powder) you should be able to find it at bunnings or a nursery, mix it up and spray them with it. It contains a bacteria that kills caterpillars but wont affect birds etc and it is very effective against these and if the trees are still in sound condition then you wont need to remove them which should save you some big $$$ and hassle.

    you may notice that during the day they'll form a big blanket on the tree trunks and that's the best time to spray them when they're all together, if they are up higher in the tree then wait until dusk as that's usually the time they come down out of the trees and get them then. If you have one of those pump up garden sprayers with the dipel mixed up ready to go it'll make quick work of it and it's very safe to use

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    Quote Originally Posted by pawnhead View Post
    Now I'm intrigued.
    Get a pointy knife and a chair. Stand on the chair in front of a doorway, and dig the knife into the wall down against the top of the door architrave. Twist it around a bit until you've exposed about a 5mm round piece. Take a clear close up photo of the hole and the dust that came out, and post it here, then put some chewing gum in the hole and smooth it over. No one will see it unless they step so far back from the door that it becomes unnoticeable anyway.

    I might be able to tell you exactly what it is.
    ok I will try to do that as soon as I can and will post the photo, thanks!

    It sounds like you may have cape lilac trees? before you cut down the trees get some dipel (it's an organic powder) you should be able to find it at bunnings or a nursery, mix it up and spray them with it. It contains a bacteria that kills caterpillars but wont affect birds etc and it is very effective against these and if the trees are still in sound condition then you wont need to remove them which should save you some big $$$ and hassle.

    you may notice that during the day they'll form a big blanket on the tree trunks and that's the best time to spray them when they're all together, if they are up higher in the tree then wait until dusk as that's usually the time they come down out of the trees and get them then. If you have one of those pump up garden sprayers with the dipel mixed up ready to go it'll make quick work of it and it's very safe to use
    Ok this sounds interesting & thanks for providing the info but I probably will get the tree chopped down anyway as I have to get some other trees chopped down & pruned as they are destroying the fence and garage. I will be replanting a lot more trees and I'm very environment conscious but these trees are out of control. I would rather take this tree out with the caterpillars in case they come back again in the future plus it is also wrecking the garage and it blocks the morning sun.

    Do you think it would be worth me spraying the caterpillars before I take the tree out?

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    I would spray first if there are large numbers of them in case they decide to scatter when the tree gets cut down but if there isnt a huge number yet then you could just leave them but you may need the dipel anyway to get any stragglers. Im not squeamish about bugs and I hate killing anything but unfortunately the cape lilac ones are a real pest when you have them. nothing seems to eat them either so the numbers can just get huge

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    If it is solid plaster then speak to a Dulux rep about Acrapatch.
    https://www.instagram.com/perth_bricklayer_wa

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    Quote Originally Posted by piscean View Post
    I would spray first if there are large numbers of them in case they decide to scatter when the tree gets cut down but if there isnt a huge number yet then you could just leave them but you may need the dipel anyway to get any stragglers. Im not squeamish about bugs and I hate killing anything but unfortunately the cape lilac ones are a real pest when you have them. nothing seems to eat them either so the numbers can just get huge
    ok I think I'm going to get this spray soon. next time I'm at Bunnings which will be in a week or two and I have a load of things to get there for my house, making a huge list. Your feedback has been very valuable, thanks again!

    If it is solid plaster then speak to a Dulux rep about Acrapatch.
    ok, that sounds like a good tip and I will check it out.

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    I found out that the lounge & rooms don't have asbestos, just the laundry and kitchen. So thats good as it would have made it difficult to renovate these rooms. As for the laudry and kitchen, there is only painting to be done in these rooms so its ok.
    I'm still keen to work out how I can get a smooth finish on the walls, should I just sand and plaster really rough parts and put a load of undercoat on to get the rough finish on the walls smooth?

    I'm also thinking of pulling out the old dividers/skirting and replacing it with some thinner & flatter ones.

    As for that tree, I will post a new topic on that in the garden section now as I found out something interesting about that...

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    Quote Originally Posted by monsoon View Post
    I'm still keen to work out how I can get a smooth finish on the walls, should I just sand and plaster really rough parts and put a load of undercoat on to get the rough finish on the walls smooth?
    It depends on what they're made of.
    Since you say it's not asbestos (which you can plaster), then it is most likely either masonite or caneite which you can't plaster. That's why they put cover strips on in the first place. It will crack and fall off with expansion and contraction between seasons.

    Plasterboard is cheap. Just leave the old stuff on, locate the studs, and fix it over the top.
    Cheers, John

    Short Stack (my son's band)


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    Quote Originally Posted by pawnhead View Post
    It depends on what they're made of.
    Since you say it's not asbestos (which you can plaster), then it is most likely either masonite or caneite which you can't plaster. That's why they put cover strips on in the first place. It will crack and fall off with expansion and contraction between seasons.

    Plasterboard is cheap. Just leave the old stuff on, locate the studs, and fix it over the top.
    ok thanks for the great tips. So I guess I should look into getting some plasterboard to go over all the walls in the lounge & rooms. If it's not that expensive then that's good. I guess it will just be a bit time consuming as I have never done this before but I have plenty of time and I guess it will be good expeirence. So I guess I can just paint over the plasterboard when that's done with a good undercoat and then top finish.

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    Go to Rod's website and do some reading first;
    Quote Originally Posted by rod@plasterbrok
    ________________
    Great plastering tips at<br>
    <a href="http://www.how2plaster.com/" target="_blank">www.how2plaster.com</a>
    Cheers, John

    Short Stack (my son's band)


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    Quote Originally Posted by pawnhead View Post
    Go to Rod's website and do some reading first;
    ok that's a great link and I have been reading that.

    My rooms have some air vents, about 10x8 inches with a grill like cover that sit on the top of the walls in some spots. I guess I would cut the plasterboard around these to leave them there?

    I measured out the walls and I will need around 30 2400x1200 boards so at around $10 each it will cost around $300 which seems ok. My walls are 2550 & 2600 high so I guess I will have to put a piece running around the top as the boards are only 2400 high.

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    Air vents are mainly for older houses with fireplaces, or kero heaters that sap the air of oxygen. Nowadays most people block them up so they don't lose heat from the room in winter.

    Sheets come in 1350mm widths, so two of them will reach a 9 foot ceiling. One 1350 plus a 1200 will give you 2550 height. you can get standard 55mm or 90mm cove type cornice that will cover the difference. If you're re-installing a skirting board, then you may be able to lift the sheets up a bit from the floor, and put packers in so the skirting doesn't twist in at the bottom when you nail it back on.

    Sheets also come in lengths of 3.0m, 3.6m, 4.2m and 4.8m long from a specialist plaster supply company. If you can do a wall in a single sheet, then it saves you plaster setting a butt joint where there's no recess in the sheet.
    Cheers, John

    Short Stack (my son's band)


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    Quote Originally Posted by pawnhead View Post
    Air vents are mainly for older houses with fireplaces, or kero heaters that sap the air of oxygen. Nowadays most people block them up so they don't lose heat from the room in winter.

    Sheets come in 1350mm widths, so two of them will reach a 9 foot ceiling. One 1350 plus a 1200 will give you 2550 height. you can get standard 55mm or 90mm cove type cornice that will cover the difference. If you're re-installing a skirting board, then you may be able to lift the sheets up a bit from the floor, and put packers in so the skirting doesn't twist in at the bottom when you nail it back on.

    Sheets also come in lengths of 3.0m, 3.6m, 4.2m and 4.8m long from a specialist plaster supply company. If you can do a wall in a single sheet, then it saves you plaster setting a butt joint where there's no recess in the sheet.
    Ok I'm understanding this better now and I rang my local store today and they also explained about the height thing.

    I have this page bookmarked and I plan to come back to all this great info when I get started on this which I guess will be early next week...

    thanks a lot!

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    Hi,
    I wanted to start this by taking off the dividers but I just had a go on small one in a room and it was very hard. I put the hammer claw into it and tried to rip it out but the wall started to dent. I then tried hammering it off and it won't budge. Is there an easier way to take these off?

  19. #19
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    The cover strips would have a solid noggin behind them, but it's probably the same width as the strip so your hammer would punch a hole in the wall if you lever it away from the noggin.
    Just drive a chisel in between, or slide the claw of the hammer in between with some force, then instead of lifting the handle up to lever it off, push the handle towards the wall. If you slide it down the wall with enough force then it should come off pretty easily.
    Cheers, John

    Short Stack (my son's band)


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    Quote Originally Posted by pawnhead View Post
    The cover strips would have a solid noggin behind them, but it's probably the same width as the strip so your hammer would punch a hole in the wall if you lever it away from the noggin.
    Just drive a chisel in between, or slide the claw of the hammer in between with some force, then instead of lifting the handle up to lever it off, push the handle towards the wall. If you slide it down the wall with enough force then it should come off pretty easily.
    ok thanks, i will give this a go later today...


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