Cracking Good Plaster, Eh?
Something I failed to detail previously about painting the ceiling was the way we chose to resolve the cracks in the plaster. I once mentioned that the foundation has "issues", including a foolish resolution of it's failures by butressing. This does little to help anything, and merely "looks" beefy. The sloping of the house is evident from the dining room through to the back of the kitchen. In the dining room, it seems to drop ~2-3" out of level. I will soon provide a picture that captures this. Now, how we decide to fix this is still on the table, whether we lift the house and pour a new foundation or merely level the house on the foundation as it is now.
Either way, that type of deflection had given birth to a number of cracks throughout the plaster, and lifting/leveling the house will only do moreso. So to fix these micro-fissures, I took to them with a small hammer & chistle, aggressively knocking loose the areas about. I wanted to make sure that if it was going to stay, it had to want to stay. Well, sadly, a significant ammount of plaster near the cracks was too blasé to stay.
So I had to fill these chasms with something that would be forgiving to future movement & jiggle. Rather than common spackle that would crack and chip, we opted for an elastomeric compound. There are a number of products out there that qualify, and this is not a review. We chose one (knife-quality) and it worked, but it was not so easy to apply but adhered admirably afterwards. Still, it shrank significantly and needed several coats to level out(~3-4 applications), but took 12-24 hours to dry before it could be re-applied. Sanding high spots down was kinda like arguing with a pre-teen; it yeilded, but begrudgingly. So because of this, it was best to get the desired finish without sanding. Tool marks/scrapes in the compound usually soften out when it drys, to your advantage. Just think of this stuff like the medium between regular spackle and silicone caulk. I'll include pictures next time, both prior and post painting. Starting tomorrow, we resume our flooring of the living/dining room and foyer.