Before I can move in and really get to work on the house, I have to button a couple things up.
Some number of years back, apparently, the roof was in pretty rough shape and leaked considerably. The roof got replaced, but the water damage inside the house didn't get cleaned up. Fortunately, there's only a couple spots where the wall plaster disintegrated, and only a couple spots where the ceiling plaster delaminated. Those are easily fixed, at least in a quick and dirty fashion for the sake of an occupancy permit.
The ceiling water damage is limited to the areas around the chandeliers, although most of it is just a water mark; the plaster is still 95% solid in those areas. And the wall spots, one in the foyer and one on the wall in the chandeliers room, they aren't too bad. A little scraping and a little plaster, they'll look OK for the time being.
I thought that was the bulk of the repair work needed, at least to make the place tolerable to live in. And as is usually the case, I was incorrect.
Those are the bedroom windows. Obviously, there are some issues to be dealt with, but my assumptions (hopes, really) were that the peeling paint was a result of a little previous moisture mixed with poor millwork prep before applying the paint, and that the plaster was in decent shaped, aside from the couple little bubbles there by the baseboard.
I had about an hour to kill this afternoon before calling it a day, so I figured I'd go scrape paint and patch the bad plaster spot in the bedroom. I grabbed my trusty 5-in-1, poked it into the wall, and about 0 seconds later...
...that happened. And the truth of it is, I could have kept going and probably removed material from the entire wall. Want to know why? Because there's a 1/2" of drywall on top of the plaster. And it's rotten.
I sort of figured that was the case, as this part of the house had been redone at some point and a lot of drywall was added. And while the windows and casing are original, I don't think the baseboard is, and some of the reveals are wonky which led me to believe the exterior wall with the windows had been messed with. I kinda figured the plaster wall had been drywalled.
Here's the thing: sticking a layer of drywall directly on top of a plaster wall, especially a plaster wall with some sort of issue, is dumb. Really, really dumb.
If the goal is to hide bad plaster, why not just fix the plaster? It's pretty much the same process as finishing drywall, just with slightly different material.
If the goal is to hide bad plaster and circumvent having to fix it, putting drywall on top doesn't resolve the underlying issue, which is whatever caused the plaster to crack in the first place. And if that isn't resolved, guess what happens to the drywall, eventually? It goes bad too.
If the goal is aesthetics, that's fine...but there's lots of original plaster in the house that isn't covered, so why cover this wall and create work?
Anyhow...there is or was some moisture issue with the wall, and regular ol' drywall is a pretty bad product to use in areas with high degrees of moisture. As such...what I thought was going to be a quick little patch the size of my fist is now a 1/2" deep crater covering about 8 sq. ft. I got a first coat of plaster on it today, but there will be many more coats in the very near future.
Bigger picture, I think the house is letting me know where I need to direct my attention once I officially start the rehab (right now I'm just trying to get the yard under control, patch the bad spots in the house, and make the place not smell like 6-10 dogs used it as a restroom, which 100% was the case). I don't believe there to be any significant water infiltration issues with the house at this point, but I need to go over the exterior with a fine-toothed comb.
And a bucket of elastomeric goo, and caulk, and mortar, and luck.