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Best sander for plaster walls - advice please?

Discussion in 'off topic' started by Pinky, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. roman

    roman pfm Member

    I have the impression its about smoothing some rough patches/ patches of filler rather than hard sanding the entire surface area.
  2. Pinky

    Pinky In suspense, not compressed

    Just to clarify something here as the term 'flattening off' made me think.

    There is some of that where a bit of filler has been used but what I am primarily having to sand off is dried on wall paper paste which coats the whole wall. Unfortunately this is the same with the ceiling which had paper on it :(
  3. Simonms

    Simonms Registered user

    It will take forever with a sander, have you tried wetting it with warm water?
    I have a sprayer, wet it once with a fine mist, leave it for 20 mins wet again...follow process until a large,sharp scraper takes it away.

    Depends on what was used as glue but worth a try. You just need to flatten it and key it for paint.
  4. roman

    roman pfm Member

    In that case it depends on how good the finish needs to be. The pole sander will be fine to use as described. You don't need to get all the paste off if you use something like gardz. Just get it as flat as even as it needs to be. I wouldn't paint onto paste with emulsion. Where you have filler and if you want a fine finish I'd still go with the methods/machines I mentioned.
  5. Colin Barron

    Colin Barron pfm Member

    A wallpaper steamer and cloths will remove the remaining bits of wall paper and glue. Then get it all reskimed. Job done and looks perfect.
  6. Gaius

    Gaius Trade: Stiletto by Tangerine

    That of course is the proper way to do things. :)

    Don't forget to either mist coat the new plaster or paint with new plaster paint before painting the emulsion.
  7. Rob400

    Rob400 pfm Member

    When the plaster surface isn't good enough to emulsion and you don't want to paper re skim is the best move. That's easy for me to say I suppose being in the trade and having a good plasterer who is there should I need him. But sanding plaster is incredibly dust inhibiting (don't know a tradesman that would do it) and as some of the guys on here have said won't produce a polished finish. A nice lined wallpaper might be your least worst option.
  8. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    I had a wall with imperfections, little dings and where wall papering/stripping had removed the original emulsion in some places but not others and where paste build up was causing a sticky mess when I tried washing down.

    This is what PhilEos recommended for me, though it was for one wall only. (28' x 8') He's a decorator and they do tend to know the easiest/best way round problems.

    Remove paper by soaking/stripping and allow to dry thoroughly.

    Sand over roughly to get rid of any paper 'nibs' etc.

    Coat entire wall with a thin skim of Polyfilla or similar, using an Artexing/Caulking board.


    This is not the same a plaster skimming because you are not working with the peculiar characteristics of plaster and you don't need the finish to be perfect as you are going to be sanding much of it off again.

    OTOH, this does need to be a THIN coat, or you'll be sanding for weeks.

    Basic idea is to fill imperfections and leave a little layer proud. Also, don't use any of the pre-mixed fillers which dry like granite.

    When dry rub down all over to a smooth finish with fine 'open' sand paper and a wood block. I found this messy, but easy. It took about half an hour for the entire wall, in big sweeping strokes.

    This does produce a lot of dust. My approach was to cover the few bits of furniture which couldn't be moved out and then just go for it while everyone else was out.

    I wore a dust mask and shorts. Once finished I hoovered up and then jumped in the shower.

    The resulting wall finish was nearly perfect and an ideal base for emulsion paint, though you might want to use some sort of primer if you're 'picky'.

    Phil's recommendation is for a single thin coat of emulsion after sanding/brushing down, which shows up any remaining imperfections which can be dealt with before final painting.

  9. roman

    roman pfm Member

    The last three or four posts nail it really in a holistic sense. I looked less at the overall job and more at the sander advice.

    Wallpaper steamer and sharp scraper will work well at removing paste. Newly skimmed wall best of all. If you've never done it then don't even think of doing it yourself, call someone in.

    It can be fun to have a go if you have the time and can stand the mess, otherwise it's a world of pain unless you have someone beside you to guide and correct mistakes, and you really will need a belt sander!
  10. Pinky

    Pinky In suspense, not compressed

    Some great advice there guys - thanks to you all.

    Re skimming was my first thought but as I don't envisage staying here indefinitely I'm happy to look for a compromise solution.

    As was suggested, I've just tried washing a patch with warm water then using a gentle scraper and was surprised at the difference it made. I suppose that after removing the wallpaper I'd assumed as much dried on paste that would come away would have done so then - wrong!

    When I have the chance I'll spend more time washing a patch and see how the surface is then. It may be that only a light sanding after that will suffice and I can then move on to thinking about which method of final prep to go for prior to painting.

    Luckily all furniture is out of the room and time is not an issue. Therefore I will have a go at doing it myself and if I fail miserably will call in a tradesman!
  11. Colin Barron

    Colin Barron pfm Member

    A steamer is worth its weight in gold, and as cheap as chips. Much better than hot water.
  12. Simonms

    Simonms Registered user

    Hot water is very similar to steam:)I've never liked using steamers especially on things like wood chip and good ones are expensive, a spray diffuser, 3 coats of warm/hot water with 20 min gap between sprays is what I find works best. My sprayer is somewhat bigger and quicker but it won't take long, each to there own i guess but this works quickest for me with a 30cm scrapper on a pole for removing from the wall, don't know what the professional term for one of those is.
    Try interior Toupret (filler) and flatten that into the cracks or irregularities, light sand, coat of white (mist coat) and have a good look at anything that's been missed and on with the painting.
  13. trancera

    trancera pfm Member

    If you have an old fan and a window you can open fully you can knock up a simple positive extraction using a piece of ply board cut to fit snug with a hole for the fan.

    Regarding masks,don't wear a basic dust mask for this when a top notch mask can be had for under £20 (and re used) ... and they are good for painting as well.
  14. martin clark

    martin clark pinko bodger

    Final ingredient here no one has mentioned is the paint. You can buy cheap paint in big buckets at the big bucket warehouses, or the sort of paint used in the trade - which looks expensive at first glance; Johnstones and the like.

    The better (more expensive) stuff contains a lot more pigment and the pigment is ground finer, which means (1) it covers a lot better with less effort (2) it withstands judicious thinning much, much better - 50% clean water for a 'mist' coat, up to 10% or so for easy application on finish coats.

    Don't put such effort into the prep and then skimp on the paint.
  15. cooky1257

    cooky1257 pfm Member

    This is a very interesting thread for someone who tends toward a rough plaster painted finish . I may be missing something here but it looks like more work and more mess than getting the whole place skimmed...
  16. roman

    roman pfm Member

    It sure is!

    especially if you do your own sanding but hire someone to do the skimming
  17. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    The point being that true skimming, with plaster, is a skilled job which should leave a surface which doesn't need any further smoothing, but which costs money.

    OTOH, the method I used on the recommendation of a skilled decorator does not need a lot of skill. It is cheap and effective though admittedly a bit dusty.

    Even if I was awash with cash I don't think I'd have paid a plasterer to do the job.

  18. Simonms

    Simonms Registered user

    Yes, exactly! Well said.
  19. KC Cantiaci

    KC Cantiaci pfm Member

    My advice would be pick the smallest wall and try and sand it, fill it and paint it by whatever means you decide and see how it looks and how much work/mess is involved before you commit yourself to the whole room. Sometimes, you can sand a wall down but once painted, it doesn't always look that great.

    If it's a case of filling and sanding small sections, that's one thing. But to basically plaster a wall with a filler and sand the whole wall to get a decent flat finish is a lot of work and a lot of mess and you may as well get a plasterer in. I've been there and didn't enjoy it. A plasterer should be able to do a regular sized room in a day depending on the amount of preparation involved. I'd guess circa £200ish.....maybe a little more.
  20. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    I give up.

    But God help you if your plasterer is in a union! :D

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