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Punching above his weight
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This painter I work with once said that Structolite sounds very biblical and he would refer to the King of the Structolites. I haven't been able to shake that image and whenever I'm working I laugh to myself while picturing the King.

Anyways... I had a little issue with it today in parts of a job that I was hoping I could get some clarity on.
I was doing plaster/drywall patching in the third floor of a late 19th century place. Typical for the area, a dozen or more other guys had all taken a turn on this stairwell. This is never apparent until you start knifing at the cracks, then you can peel back the layers of contractors. You can date them by the tape they use. I found 3 kinds. Standard paper tape, paper with the holes in it, and newer mesh tape. That means I'm now the 4th sucker to get roped into fixing this stupid ceiling.
Anyways... I pick the bad away and I'm left with some exposed lathe(wood), some exposed base coat, and some plaster that the paint had lifted off of.
I busted out the Structo and went to town on the exposed lathe and went over the base coat.
In some parts, seemingly at random, the Structo started drying up like the Mojave desert. That's an actual descriptor, not hyperbole. It looked like the cracked flat ground of the salt flats. Then, much to my horror, some parts on the ceiling started actually drying up and falling off.
What gives? Did I not scrape/wet the surface of the base coat enough before I applied? Should you not be applying Structo to an existing base coat?

Any help would be appreciated. I solved my issues with some Easy 5, but I'd like to know for the future, especially since I've got about 45 pounds of the stuff leftover.
 

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Yea I have seen that too, USG told me not to worry about it so long as it was thoroughly dry before top coating.
I now apply a 50 / 50 elmers glue/ water mix to the exposed lath and let that dry before applying the structolite, seems to help.

I was told the lath is sucking the moisture out of the structolite.
 

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Punching above his weight
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This was my first time seeing it and it was extremely discouraging. Especially because I was working away at the other stuff and when I went back to the ceiling to put a second coat on I found the first coat on the floor. Total bummer.
Nice trick on the lathe butter.
 

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Just to clarify, when repairing old plaster I remove any remaining basecoat plaster down to the lath. I then make sure to clean out between the lath boards. I pretreat the lath with the elmers / water mix and let dry.
When applying the structolite basecoat I make sure to press it good into the lath so it makes new keys to hold it, just like original plaster, I apply enough to fill in one application, I don't apply a second coat of basecoat. Finish with topcoat.

I think if you apply it over existing basecoat that appears tight you are asking for failure. ( I didn't pick up in the first post that was what you were doing, the repair area sounds like bit of a mess if you are the 4 attempt) I think I would remove all questionable plaster, especially if there is previous attempts to fix plaster with drywall tape. Get all that junk out of there and expose the lath in the whole area to be repaired.

Good luck.
 

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Punching above his weight
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11,511 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the further clarification.
We worked it out. It's always very warm in third floor stairwells which made for a very satisfying day of mudding. 5, 20, and 45 all dried as I wanted them to. Got a nice finish coat on everything. Should be good to lightly sand and paint tomorrow.

Thanks again.
 
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