Oh, the Horror.

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So… Oh, before I get started. Didn’t finish NaNoWriMo. A mere 22190 words, sadly.

Annnyhow. I spent some of today and much of the last few days off working on Kathryn’s office. With my mum coming to visit soon, the pressure’s on to get the walls prepped and painted in there, so we can move the stuff from Kathryn’s office back in to Kathryn’s office. No doubt, she’d also like her office back anyway.

The problem is these are probably the worst walls in the house.


Every other room had some form of heating, but this one never has (until we install the central heating, but even that’s been disconnected while we’re decorating). I suspect that’s part of the reason the paint and plaster are in such poor condition, they’ve just been endlessly damp for the last 80 years. When we started stripping the paper in there I was foolishly relieved to see paint.

Unfortunately, the walls are covered in a hideous agglomeration of paint, some sort of water-resistant wall-paper adhesive and loose, crumbly plaster.

Really, in reality, what we should have done is bitten the bullet and had the whole room at the very least reskimmed, but ideally taken back to brick and replastered. Horrific though it would have been, it is, at least, a small room, and it’d’ve produced a nice finish.

Instead I’ve been trying somewhat desperately to come up with some kind of plan that resolves with the room actually having some sort of reasonable finish. The first prong of this attack was the first layer of filler over the artex. That needs more filler, but I wanted to ‘stabilise’ the walls a bit before I tried to fill them because I’d had no joy at all removing the paint. Whilst some of it flakes off so easily that you just have to look at it and it falls away, some of it seems welded to the wall. Scraping doesn’t pull it off, oh no. The only thing that seems to fairly effectively remove paint is… painting over it.

We tried steaming it off, steaming and scraping, scraping, sanding, caustic ‘sugar soap’. It’s not coming off, and nor, quite frankly, is some of the stuff that I suspect is mould/water resistant wall paper paste. Eventually I resorted to plan B, or possibly, C. Anyway, whatever plan it was, it’s my current one, which runs:

1) Fill the very worst bits (and run caulk around the edges)
2) Paint walls with plaster sealant
3) Paint over sealant with Basecoat
4) Fill the now, hopefully, less crumbly, less flaky walls.
5) Repaint with basecoat until it looks acceptable.
6) Topcoat.

Steps 1 & 2 went about as well as I expected. Step 3, also went surprisingly well. Plaster sealant is, essentially, PVA glue diluted anyway, but I hoped that would provide enough of a surface that the basecoat would stick.

Which it did, although in quite a few areas it yanked the loose paint off the wall.

It’s never going to be a great finish, and I’m terrified it’s going to do the cracky-thing that the paint did in our old office; but it looks fine at the moment.

So, fingers crossed for success…



Kate is lord and mistress of all she surveys at pyoor.org...