The walls of my house, like many in this area, are pretty bad. Apparently a higher than normal amount of sand was used in the bricks and the mortar, and the plaster is very old and weak. Even putting in a nail to hang a picture on risks taking a large chunk out.

To make matters worse the previous owner covered the walls with woodchip/anaglyptic wallpaper which has been painted over half a dozen times. Woodchip is messy and difficult to remove at the best of times and I'm sure half the wall would come with it.

The obvious solution is to have the walls re-plastered, or have frames and plasterboard fitted. As much as I would love to do that (and get the place re-wired too) it's both expensive and extremely messy.

What other options are there? I'd like to end up with smooth walls suitable for painting and ideally some extra wiring for power and network. The skirting boards and ceiling coving really want replacing too but are less important.

  • 2
    Cheap, fast, good. Pick any two. :) You already have your options laid out.
    – isherwood
    Jun 25, 2020 at 15:17
  • Put enough nails in the walls in an attempt to hang things that you're left with no option but to rip it all out and start fresh?
    – FreeMan
    Jun 25, 2020 at 15:43
  • Magic wands being difficult to come by, you're into mess and expense unless you want to try sell this and buy another, which is its own sort of mess and expense. Owning a house can be messy, and expensive.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 25, 2020 at 16:20
  • What was used as the lath under the plaster coats? Wood slats? Gypsum lathboard? Expanded metal? Jun 26, 2020 at 11:45

1 Answer 1


You could overlay with 1/4" gypsum, and finish as you would any other gypsum board wall. Still messy, but you would permanently fix the problem. 1/4" gypsum can even be applied with adhesives, and improves the sound transmission of the wall.

  • If the plaster is coming off I wouldn't want to stick anything to it. I suppose the adhesive might bridge the sections that are loose and distribute the load to sound plaster but it doesn't seem very safe.
    – Carl
    Jun 26, 2020 at 9:13
  • Imagine a 6"x6"x1/4" piece adhered to the wall. Would that stay? It's extremely light weight. The loading is exactly identical to that if the adhesive is well distributed. Additionally, you can score and remove the weakest pieces before installing if it's falling off every time someone sneezes. Jun 26, 2020 at 15:58
  • So you are saying stick plasterboard over it? Could be an issue for the coving and skirting I think but it might work.
    – user
    Jun 26, 2020 at 16:46
  • All trim would have to be removed and reapplied to be done right. Jun 26, 2020 at 17:19

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