Home > Decorating & Improving > Internal Walls And Ceilings

Internal Walls And Ceilings

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 15 May 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Property Renovation Renovate Extension

If you want to give your renovation project a quality look and feel then good preparation of the surfaces before decorating will be your best chance of achieving that.

If you project has been comprehensive enough to mean that your walls and ceilings have been rebuilt and re-plastered, then all you should need to do is wait until the plaster is properly dry, lightly rub it down and paint or paper over it. But if the walls are still in place and just a bit jaded, then you’ll need to make good the damage before you start decorating.

Updating Tired Walls

Making good holes and damaged or crumbling plaster is a case of removing the bad and replacing it with the good. In the housing boom of the Eighties, textured wallpaper, such as woodchip paper and anaglypta, and textured surface coverings such as artex became very popular. This is because they covered up a whole host of sins underneath them, and were a lot cheaper and faster than properly repairing and smoothing over the wall surface.

Today’s buyers are more knowledgeable and would see these as anachronistic aberrations, so it’s worth spending the time making good. First remove all the bad plaster around the hole or other damage and keep chipping away until you reach plaster that’s solid and in good condition. Then remove all the loose particles with a hoover attachment and then a fine brush, and if you’ve exposed bricks, dampen them.

Then prepare filler or plaster according to the manufacturers instructions, and apply it to the area. Use a filling knife or plasterer’s trowel to put the mix onto the wall and smooth it over, working it well into the edges. If it’s a deep area, build the filler up in layers, allowing each layer to stiffen, but not completely dry, before applying the next.Once it’s dry, smooth down with fine sandpaper and if necessary apply a thin layer of skim plaster or fine filler. Then sand down again and apply your choice of paint or paper.

This method will work on both ceilings and walls, although in older properties you may encounter lath and plaster walls, where a layer of small thin battens (known as laths) is laid horizontally across timber uprights (or joists in the case of a ceiling) and a layer of plaster, often strengthened with horsehair, applied on top.

If the laths are broken, they will have to be patched, but if it’s a small hole, say no more than about 75cms across, the gap can be bridged with a piece of wire mesh wrapped around good laths. Then apply plaster or filler in the same way.

Corners

One problem area that’s trickier to fix is at the external corners of walls, which of course are often damaged as they are more prone to knocks. The initial steps are the same, removing damaged plaster until you reach the good stuff, then you will have to build some sort of mould to hold the new plaster at the corner.

Do this by nailing a wide batten to one edge of the corner, using a known straight edge to line it up with the good plaster on the adjacent wall. Fill the gap between the wall and the batten with filler or plaster in the usual way, up to the batten. Then when it has completely dried, carefully remove the batten and fix it to the other side of the corner, to act as a guide for that side. Fill once more and remove the batten when the mix has dried.

If there is a large area on a corner to be repaired, it might be easier to use a length of expanded metal (mesh) angle beading. This is profiled with a 90 degree angle with a bead running down the corner and can be cut to the appropriate length. Once fixed to the wall, usually with dabs of plaster, this will provide a solid guide against which to plaster rather than having to use battens.

However bad your walls and ceilings, remember that time spent on decent preparation will pay dividends in making it possible to achieve a quality finish to show off all your hard renovation work.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Mitch
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    @Vicky - you won't get a grant for this sort of revovation. No one is going to pay you to renovate your own home, sorry. Not these…
    17 September 2018
  • Dan
    Re: Adding A Porch
    Hi I’m thinking of building a porch on the front of my house and I was wondering if I can join it to my next door neighbors house because I’m in a…
    16 September 2018
  • Vicky
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    Hi I am looking for funding to reinstate a farm house that is over 100 years old and has been derelict for 30years. Do you know who I…
    15 September 2018
  • woody56
    Re: Adding A Porch
    I am looking at building a porch within the 3 metres guidelines so not needing planning permission. It will have approx 750mm brick base with…
    8 August 2018
  • Ingrid
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    Hi. I'm making an enquiry on behalf of my elderly parents who live in a house in Scotland, built circa 1894. They are both on state…
    3 July 2018
  • Roget
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    @Aims - I don't think you can get grants for this sort of home improvements. Grants are much more scarce these days. A can of white…
    12 June 2018
  • Aims
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    Hi I am a lone parent to 2 children and have always worked long hours as a nurse in the NHS, I simply can't afford to redecorate my…
    12 June 2018
  • Seiyune
    Re: Adding A Porch
    I need a side shelter/porch, partly for storage, partly for shelter and partly to protect a lobby that's freezing in winter and boiling in summer.…
    21 May 2018
  • buddie
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    i am in the process of having my late mothers house left to me...its about a hundred old house but in need of a lot of work as not…
    25 April 2018
  • Matt
    Re: Adding A Porch
    We have a very small open porch. It has a small tiled roof with full length brick walls on either side leading to original front door. It also has…
    5 April 2018
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the RenovationExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.