Dear Angie: How important is it to repair plaster before repainting? Our ceilings have peeling paint that we’re pretty sure was caused by past water damage. Since the water problem is no longer an issue, can we simply repaint the ceilings or should we first repair any underlying plaster damage? – Sara S., Elgin, Illinois
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Local Articles in Washington DC
For larger projects, especially those that may involve more than three different service providers, a general contractor to oversee your project may be required.
Just as consumers don’t like it when they call for help and don’t get a return call, companies don’t like it when they invest a lot of time to provide an estimate and never hear that their bid hasn’t been accepted.
Don't tackle a DIY home repair without asking yourself these three questions.
I've used wall liner (it applies like wallpaper only thicker) to cover a multitude of "wall sins" over the years. In my opinion it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. It doesn't look cheap or tacky, it's inexpensive, non-labor intensive and not messy to install.
I used it for the first time about 15 years ago to cover a faux brick tile on my lower kitchen walls that couldn't be removed. It was either tear the wall down or take a chance on $40 worth of wall liner. It did the job beautifully and lasted. Since then I've used it to cover paneling, a badly gouged wall after a kitchen remodel and a wall that looked like a pegboard after floor to ceiling shelving was removed.
Friends and family (and realtors!) have been amazed by the transformation after applying this simple inexpensive product.
Remember, you not only have to remove the popcorn texture, but also redo the ceiling in some other texture.
Price will depend on several factors:
1) how much the contractor you choose hates removing popcorn or textured ceilings - some charge $1 or so/SF extra just because they hate it. There are even some who bid total drywall replacement cheaper than removing the popcorn, so you have to first find contractors who are happy to do that work, or your prices will be out of the realistic range
2) if the popcorn predates about 1990, then it could likely have asbestos in it, which doubles or triples the price, and in many cases uncapsulating it with a spray coating and then removing the drywall entirely is actually cheaper than all the protective measures necessary if it is scraped off.
3) whether the popcorn is primarily gypsum and vermiculite (comes off REAL easy) or was the plaster of paris variety, which takes a fair amount of soaking to soften it enough to scrape off
4) what type of finish you are replacing it with - if a textured ceiling, slapcoat, knockdown finish or paneling, not real problem. If you want to go with a perfectly smooth ceiling (generally a bad idea as any variations in the drywall on a ceiling surface really shows up dramatically), then it will demand a lot of care in preparing the scraped surface, and a complete surface drywall compound skim coat to smooth out the scrapes and gouges from the removal process.
5) what underlying conditions are - if there is a lot of furniture to move around (should go to adjacent rooms) or cover and work around, high-quality rug or hardwood floor to super-protect or such, will drive cost up.
I have seen costs run from as low as $0.60/SF to $1.25/SF (for removal only). Generally, remove and recoat with a surface texture of some kind (anything but smooth) and paint will run you about $2.50-3.50/SF.
Now the bad news - if asbestos containing, can run from $5-10/SF. Many homeowners in that situation go the other legal route - have it encapsulated with an asbestos-rated sealant by an asbestos contractor, then paint it and leave it for the next homeowner to decide what to do about it. Some contractors encapsulate it and then put a 1/4" thick drywall layer over it - this usually looks like a disaster unless it has a VERY rough textured finish on it, because putting drywall sheet over a rough surface like popcorn invariably means a wavy surface commonly looks like a gently rolling ocean surface.
Plastering reviews in Washington DC
The work was well done and quick. I have no issues with the work at all.
There were some issues related to communication, primarily driven by language
differences. As a result, I was not fully prepared with the supplies
the workers needed when they arrived that morning...luckily I was able
to scramble a bit and pick up those supplies at a local hardware store
before they were done prepping the area and thus not slowing them down.
The worker spent two days on the project and moved very quickly. Good effort was taken to
and tidy as he came in and out of the house and with the room. All in
all, was very pleased. The owner came personally at the beginning to get the project started and spoke with me by phone before the worker left on the last day to make sure I was satisfied.
Having stared at the water damaged areas for years, it is wonderful to have the room looking good again and refreshed with a fresh paint job after 20 years.”
Given the age of historic houses and DC homes such as mine built in 1918, these guys know their stuff and the structure of old homes in DC well. Many contractors can perform drywall services, but few are skillful and experts in plaster. I would consider Cook & Sons, ”
with my neighbors who were having them complete a major basement renovation.
They were pleased at the time with their work and their friendliness. At this
point I had interviewed more than 10 contractors and it went something like
this: take the time to meet with contractor, they say they can do the work, and
never call back, price is way too high, or they argue with you about your
design and say it is not going to work. I was pretty set on my design concept
after 8 months of planning so I didn’t want to compromise that much. Mr.
met with me, said his guys could do the work no problem, and within 2 weeks, and
was responsive and helpful to my questions and concerns. Pretty much from day 2
was when the problems started. His on-site guy, Mr.
willing to accommodate. However, specific plans, contract specifications and
communication among the team were all major problems. Mr.
not have all the information regarding what to demo, what special materials
were in the contract, and, it would appear did not obtain this information the
way I would expect him to from his partner. I must have gone through the
complete specs, desires, and materials at least three times, and more to his
time I questioned a practice or said that something he was not doing was in the
contract. In the end my bathroom was functional, after 6 weeks (3x longer than
what was said by Mr.
supposed to be laid with underlayment instead of cement board, is now a full
inch and 1/8 higher than my hallway floor, my expensive mosaic tile was
installed upside down, my marble tile is scratched from where they dragged my
clawfoot tub across it, the beadboard is 42” and was supposed to be 48”, and I
am now having to buy more mosaic tile to run the full length of the wall (as
this was the only way to not make it look weird), and, I had to hire another
electrician to come in and fix a connection that their electrician hooked up
incorrectly. They were hired to take down all four walls and the ceiling. They
took down one wall and covered up two with more drywall-causing me to loose
even more space in a small bathroom. And, a special installation of a wood
ceiling that I switched out for more electrical work is now being completed by
another who is having to spend a lot of time on it because none of the walls
are square and the ceiling is not plum (because they didn’t take it down as was
stipulated in the contract). During the entire 6 weeks they made little effort to organize their equipment or attempt to clean up consistently. They had tools in my basement, kitchen, guest room, bathroom, dining room, and on my porch. The team ended up mistaking many of my tools for theirs and took them for which Mr.
include any finishing materials) project to try and recoup some of the cost of
their mistakes. In the end I will likely spend over $3K completing the work and
trying to improvise the design after it was changed by them.
While they may have done a decent job on my neighbor’s
project, my experience has proven them to be very inconsistent. It was a costly
mistake on my part.
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