So we'd like to get our walls looking as though they were plastered 120 years ago, with a certain sandy bumpiness thing going on. I'm not skilled enough to use actual plaster, and the local plasters charge an arm and a leg (plus several toes) to re-do a room. We aren't looking for a totally smooth effect, but one with a certain amount of texture and hand-application marks.
Right now the walls are all sheet-rocked (previous owner...don't ask). This stuff ( http://www.unearthedpaints.com/collections/plasters/products/clay-r...) is good, but expensive and you need a lot to really cover a wall completely. The room we're workign on is pretty durn big, so it would be expensive to use the product in question.
I've a vague recollection that I'd read somewhere about the notion of mixing joint compound with a standard latex paint and applying that via roller to create a textured surface on an otherwise flat sheet-rocked wall. Has anyone tried this? How did it work? And what compound did you use? Of the top of my head, I'd think a durabond 90 would be the best bet, but all advice/info is appreciated.
You can get textured paint at Home Depot, Lowes etc. I have used it before. Its more like a thick latex. You can do a lot with it. I have used the standard roller, a sort of plastic wire mesh thingy, and then knocked it down with trowel. This gave a stucco look. Stuff hides a lot of errors in the sheetrock and taping process.
You can also use a sponge and swirl it. I am sure there are other methods to get a different look. Then you paint it. Not sure of the cost, but it could not have been too bad as I used it in one large room on sealed drywall and then throughout the rest of the house over a sandy finish to keep the stucco pattern going.
I actually have done this various ways myself. Yes, you can mix the paint into the durabond but you have to use a drill mixer to do it. I think the hassle and mess is not worth saving a few $$. My favorite product is Sherwin Williams Faux Impressions Dimensional Basecoat (I used it almost everywhere in my current home over old cracked plaster because I wanted a troweled look) It is really fun to use and easy to work with and makes a great base for color washes and glazes. I've even applied it thru stencils for a raised design. You can trowel it on thinly like a skim coat and a little goes a long way. Not cheap but lots less than the Earth plaster. Wait for the 40% off sale at SW store! I've experimented with it extensively and can share expertise if you are interested. I'll try to upload a pic but it will probably be huge, sorry! Better with paint than computers :-) Thought I had better pix of other rooms but can't find now-
Actually you are supposed to roll it on with the sea sponge roller. wait a bit then knock it down with a trowel. It's very thick and awkward (for me anyways) to pick up with a roller so I usually just apply it with a wide spatula and fool with it on the wall until it has marks I like. When it's dry I usually sand lightly with a drywall sponge to get rid of any nibs or rough places. I'm always going for an old worn look. You can add more layers if you want more dimension, or use it thinly and smooth it for a subtle texture. It just makes a beautiful surface to paint. I think the earth plasters have the color mixed in it already and I would rather use my own palette than theirs. I like to do aged finishes; slightly tea/smoke stained or ragging and it's a great base for that. S Williams has some brochures that show different effects. You could experiment in a small room at first for a small investment before you do the big room. You can do it! It's very forgiving and workable. It probably IS just paint mixed into drywall compound :-D
Jill Here's a pix of living room you can see it's really subtle
I realized that I had one more question, and that's about the texture of the finished base coat. What's it like? Sandpaper? smooth plaster? Something else? What I'm hoping to do is end up with a texture that's a bit between sandpaper and smooth, with some roughness to the touch, but without obvious dents or 'gullies' in the surface.
Check with your local paint store. There are different applications. The thicker stuff provides a plastered, stucco like look. What you may want is a thinner paint that you add a grit to to give you the expected outcome. You go with a fine sand to a popcorn like texture.
The walls in my previous 1970's house had that sandy finish. I hated it because if you happen to just bounce your hand off it walking down the hall, it took the skin off a knuckle or two. I used the heavier paint and lightly rolled it on and knocked down the peaks with the trowel. Looked great.
I thought we'd see pix of your finished rooms by now, what's the hold up? lol only kidding!
The finished base coat (with the SW Faux Impressions) is smooth and buttery. Not rough or gritty. There is a certain grainy texture to it you can see close up. If you want to add more texture you can then roll paint with SW Cashmere...this has a really lovely period nubbiness that I adore. (I mostly use SW paints at home and also professionally...like the predictability) I will say that unless you intend to glaze or do some other ageing effect like ragging or color wash the dimensional basecoat might not be worth the expense/bother.
There are other brands maybe Ralph Lauren? make a paint with grainy texture. I forget what they call it.... You can roll that and get a good look.
I've finally got the room almost ready to paint. Kids, life, other projects, more unpleasant surprises in the walls, all of these have slowed me down. But I bought a bunch of that SW dimensional basecoat and am experimenting with it. One more question for you, though: after you put it on the wall, how long do you wait before you knock it down with a trowel? It's pretty damp, and seems to me that one would need to let it set up for a while before pushing it around with a trowel. what's your experience been?
The wait time totally depends on the humidity in the room on that day! If you applied it with the sponge roller as per the directions, you can experiment in an unobtrusive area to see if it knocks down to a pleasing texture. (I could never roll it on; instead I used to trowel it on, roll over it a bit with the sponge roller so it makes some frosting-like peaks, then flatten it when it starts to set up.) I bought the SW metal trowel which was too thick and cumbersome for me so now I use a cheap plastic wide putty knife that I can control better. I'm using it for my master bath project as we speak. Let us know how it goes!
Thanks for all the advice so far. I've done the walls with the dimensional basecoat and it looks great. Turned out I had the best luck with troweling it on, then stippling with a cheap sea sponge roller, and then after some drying time back-troweling it. Now the only problem is that it looks so good as is (I had the SW store lightly tint it, so the basecoat has a snazzy broken color effect all by itself), that I'm tempted to leave it as is, with no more paint or glazing or anything. Have you ever tried that, or known anyone who has? I have a nasty suspicion that it won't last as-is, but needs some kind of covering coat to protect the surface. But any sealer I would use would probably put a sheen of some kind on top, and one of the things I like about the basecoat is that it's absolutely flat, with no sheen whatsoever.
Hi Richard,I'm so glad your project is working out. If you really think it needs to be sealed, you could apply an acrylic matte glaze/varnish over it; I was in the art supply store last week and there are some good brands to choose from. Artists use it to seal art work. If you need to cover a large area it might be pricey though.
I never thought of having it tinted that's a really good idea. You could work from two or three cans at once and get a really old world effect.
Can't wait for pictures!
I would get SW to match the base coat tint for whatever is best to cover it. We have had great luck with SW matching other company's colors etc.