What is this on my wall?

Was stripping the wallpaper in our living room, and found this strange thing? It seems to be under the first layer of paper, but over a second layer, somehow? Partner said this extra layer of metal mesh & plaster(?) was on top but came away with the paper.

Can anyone identify what it is, and what we should do about it? Plans are to strip off the paper and then paint this room, but can’t paint over whatever this is! Could anyone tell me how we can make it suitable for painting? Thanks!


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  • FreeBearFreeBear Forumite
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    I would suggest that the mesh has been put over a damaged section of plaster and the poorly finished. You'll probably find a paint scraper under one corner will lift the whole lot off.
    Looks like an internal wall, so highly unlikely to be an old vent..
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  • fiwen30fiwen30 Forumite
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    FreeBear said:
    I would suggest that the mesh has been put over a damaged section of plaster and the poorly finished. You'll probably find a paint scraper under one corner will lift the whole lot off.
    Looks like an internal wall, so highly unlikely to be an old vent..
    Sorry, yes it is an internal wall.

    As for making it good to paint over, would you be able to suggest anything? As I said, the actual layer(?) of mesh came away with the paper that had been over the top, leaving behind raised plaster(?) in the shape of the mesh holes, and what looks to be maybe the metal coating(?) of the mesh underneath.

    I’d though maybe sand down the raised plaster left behind, and then hang a sheet of lining paper over that section of wall, but wasn’t sure how effective or aesthetic a finish that might give. Don’t really want to go picking and poking at it, incase there is a big chunk of wall missing underneath it!
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  • stuart45stuart45 Forumite
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    If it's plasterboard it could be covering a hole in the board. If it was mine I'd whip it off and repair the board rather then papering over it if the wall is to be painted.
  • A_LertA_Lert Forumite
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    The mesh is what's called scrim. It's used to reinforce plaster.
    I'm not sure what the metal is, but I would guess something used to repair previous damage. Do you know if the wall is brick/block or a timber framed partition?
  • fiwen30fiwen30 Forumite
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    A_Lert said:
    The mesh is what's called scrim. It's used to reinforce plaster.
    I'm not sure what the metal is, but I would guess something used to repair previous damage. Do you know if the wall is brick/block or a timber framed partition?
    All the walls are timber-framed - they all sound hollow when you knock on them.

    We’re both very novice DIYers, with a tight budget, so can’t really afford to be getting people in if we bodge something!
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  • ApodemusApodemus Forumite
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    Given the position of the light switch, I wonder if a previous switch was where the "damaged" section is and that a new switch was installed, at a later rewiring, lower down the wall to conform with revised regulations?  If you are going to remove the metal mesh and make a better repair, proceed with suitable caution in case there is wiring behind that section.
  • pramsay13pramsay13 Forumite
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    I think you should leave it in place and then add a picture frame around it.
    Make up a suitable story to tell people when they see it.
  • stuart45stuart45 Forumite
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    You can buy plasterboard patches for DIY  15cm X 15cm Plasterboard and Drywall Repair Wall Patch => Perfect for Fixing Holes and Cracks in Walls Repairs Damaged Walls & Ceilings (1, 15cm X 15cm / 6" X 6"): Amazon.co.uk: DIY & Tools
    Or you can cut out some board back to the studs, replace and make good.
    Or scrim over the existing and make good.
  • fiwen30fiwen30 Forumite
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    Apodemus said:
    Given the position of the light switch, I wonder if a previous switch was where the "damaged" section is and that a new switch was installed, at a later rewiring, lower down the wall to conform with revised regulations?  If you are going to remove the metal mesh and make a better repair, proceed with suitable caution in case there is wiring behind that section.
    Oh that’s a possibility. The light switch is currently in a very ‘normal’, ‘old’ position (around head-height at my 5’3, not as low as the new waist-height switches of new houses) it would feel like you were stretching to flick the switch if it was where the metal plate is. The house was built around 1985, if that’s any use, and all the light switches are the same height through the house, with no other weird metal patches found (yet).

    Will take a better look today, but will bear in mind re. electrics!
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  • fiwen30fiwen30 Forumite
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    pramsay13 said:
    I think you should leave it in place and then add a picture frame around it.
    Make up a suitable story to tell people when they see it.
    Spaceship control panel 😂
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