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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    New Carrollton, MD
    Posts
    5

    Question My wall problems...Interesting Pictures! Anyone know what causes this?

    Earlier this month, through an auction, we have purchased a SFH in New Carrollton, MD that was built in 1959. The original owner died and we have no way of asking them about this problem. The house had been closed and "winterized" for 7-8 months prior to the auction.

    We have a problem with the walls and ceilings in all of the rooms except for the Kitchen and the Bathroom. In some rooms this "phenomenon" is much more pronounced, in others, it is not as noticable. It is affecting all walls to some degree. The surface of the walls have a rectangular checker-board effect (that is visible and can be felt) of wide raised "peaks" and narrow "valleys". The rectangles are 16" high and 4' wide and create an interlocking "brick-like" pattern.

    We have cut a hole in the wall of a closet to look through at the inside/back of one of the walls where it is most noticeable. The walls seem to consist of 4' wide by 16" high sections of wallboard/sheetrock/plasterboard/drywall. (I don't know the difference between these terms...are they all descriptions for the same thing?) They appear from the back to be finished on the edges. Over these strips is a fairly thick coating of plaster/spackle to cover the seams and the entire wall. These are the original walls, only the original owner before we bought it.

    I am attaching pictures here to help show the problem with some "photoshop" lines added to emphasize the rectangles.

    Does anyone know what causes this? Suggestions on what to do to get rid of the problem?

    Thank you in advance!
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    980

    Default Re: My wall problems...Interesting Pictures! Anyone know what causes this?

    first yes all those terms basically are inter changeable sheetrock and wallboard are actually brand names and plaster board would primarily be blue board over which they put a vaneer plaster. as far as what is causing it, I would sure love to see it in person drywall was invented shortly after the turn of the century, but didn't really gain popularity till after world war 2 so what you have would probally be one of the early types. some of the early types had holes in them about the size of a quarter and this was the type that they plastered over which we see quite commonly in older renovations around this part of the country. To be honest with you I haven't seen what you are describing when you look inside the wall. I personally would really appreciate it if you were able to get a picture from the inside if it would turn out. I'm thinking it probally is in the finishing process that they did. but since you can actually see them as in the pictures even with out your white highlights I would be tempted to just skim over the wall to make it flat and smooth.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: My wall problems...Interesting Pictures! Anyone know what causes this?

    Yep .... around here in the early fifties till about the beginning of the sixties builders were still doing plaster finish coats. They were using a drywall backer which the brown and finish coat of plaster was applied to.

    Basically the wood lath was replaced with the gypsum board. Also the plaster guys were reluctanct to let go of the plaster and didn't believe in this new fangled wall board as a finish material.

    There had been some homes I've seen that were using 2 x 5 foot sheets of this gypsum backer board .... which almost fits the dimensions here.

    It's curious why the seams would be showing after all these years.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    246

    Default Re: My wall problems...Interesting Pictures! Anyone know what causes this?

    I think it is pretty cool.

    I would paint the outline and paint each block in alternate color....sorta like brick / cinder block wall..........









    nah...I must be off my rocker.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    New Carrollton, MD
    Posts
    5

    Question Re: My wall problems...Interesting Pictures! Anyone know what causes this?

    Thank you, canuk and havanagranite, for your history and information!

    A follow up photo and some info:

    In the photo you can see the cross section of the hole that was cut and it is very clear that just like canuk said..."They were using a drywall backer which the brown and finish coat of plaster was applied to." The brown and finish coat are clearly visible in the cross section. You can also see the seam in the top center rightside of the photo and how the edges of the back of the panels are actually finished that way.

    Regarding the dimensions of the boards: since the studs are 16" apart vertically, 16" x 3 studs = 4'. Since the ceilings are 8' 6 x 16" = 8'. 5' long panels wouldn't quite fit over studs that were 16" apart.

    Some contractors have said skim the walls (as havanagranite suggested) others have suggested putting 1/2" thick drywall over the existing walls. If we are to put up all new drywall then I'd feel better if we just took down all the walls and ceilings and put the new drywall directly on to the studs. We could insulate and redo the electrical at the same time. We could do the demolition ourselves and hire professionals to do the drywall and the finish work.

    Any thoughts on one over the other as a solution? Could problems be caused with drywall over the plaster? Would the air pockets, created where the valleys are, cause any harm?

    Thank you all in advance for any other suggestions...
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,557

    Default Re: My wall problems...Interesting Pictures! Anyone know what causes this?

    4 X 16 sounds like rock lath. Maybe they applied rock lath and did a poor jog of palstering over it.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: My wall problems...Interesting Pictures! Anyone know what causes this?

    Regarding the dimensions of the boards: since the studs are 16" apart vertically, 16" x 3 studs = 4'.
    They called them 5 footers but around64 inches long which spans 4 studs.

    If you apply 1/2 inch drywall over top of the existing walls you need to redo the trim around all the doors and windows with extensions to accomodate the extra thickness. The electrical boxes will require extensions as well.


    Hope this helps.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

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