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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sacramento
    Posts
    8

    Default Plaster walls tooled to look like subway tile?

    I have a 1913 bungalow with what I believe is the original plaster in the bathroom, tooled to look like subway tile. Has anyone ever seen this or know what this technique is called? It also surrounds the clawfoot bathtub (floor to ceiling). I'm contemplating tiling that area over because of overspray from the shower, but am torn between preserving this unusual effect and having something easier to maintain. Would appreciate any thoughts on this, thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Omaha, Neb.
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Plaster walls tooled to look like subway tile?

    My 1910 American foursquare has this from the floor to about four feet up on the walls in the bathroom.

    I have had two plasterers out to look at restoring it (mine was under layers of plastic tile, paint and wallpaper), and neither of them had a name for it. I couldn't find anything ******, either.

    I have come across only two other people who had seen similar plaster work when I was looking for advice.

    In my opinion, if it's unusual enough that people aren't very familiar with it, I'd try to keep it. Maybe there's another way to address the shower spray.

    But perhaps that's because I'm the fool who tried to restore mine decades after other people decided to cover it up.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by littleitalygem; 01-14-2008 at 08:37 AM. Reason: clarity

  3. #3

    Default Re: Plaster walls tooled to look like subway tile?

    Anything that makes your house unique is worth saving. There any number of decorative plaster treatments used over this country, all of them expressing the flair of the original owners and craftspeople that worked to create your present home.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sacramento
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Plaster walls tooled to look like subway tile?

    Thanks both of you for your input - I'll definitely preserve it then. I'm thinking I'll clean up the lines with a Dremel or such, and smooth it out and repaint it with a semigloss (instead of the flat that's on it), that should help with the moisture.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Omaha, Neb.
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Plaster walls tooled to look like subway tile?

    My plaster was scored with a double line (as if a bobbypin was used to draw the lines), and I worried about destroying the detail if I got carried away with a Dremel.

    What worked at my house:

    I held a level against the line while running an orange stick back and forth to clean out the line, using the level to guide the stick. An orange stick, in case you don't know, is a small wooden stick with tapered ends usually used for manicures (which makes it really odd that I had any).

    You might want to ask someone with paint expertise about kitchen and bath enamel as a possible paint option. It's designed for humid areas, so maybe that would work for a damp area??

    Good luck!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    S.E. Michigan
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Plaster walls tooled to look like subway tile?

    I have seen this type of plastering in houses biult around 1900 up to the 1920's. the plasterers use to also do stone work out of plaster, I have repaired walls that had water damage and I had to make it look like block walls in a main staircase. I have some pictures of repairs I've done at www.frankawitz.net if you would like to take a look.

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