Patching old plaster walls and ceilings

Old 07-04-05, 09:20 PM
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Patching old plaster walls and ceilings

Hello I hjave an older home with plaster walls & ceilings what I need is to know is how to repair cracks & dropped sections of the ceiling
Old 07-27-05, 11:56 AM
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Hi Jackie,

You can use drywall patching compound and tape to fill small cracks and holes. You will want to widen cracks slightly with a knife to ensure a good bonding surface. Use scraps of drywall slightly thinner than the plaster to fill larger holes then finish with drywall tpae and mud. There are many threads on this board and elsewhere on the internet on doing this kind of repair. For sagging sections there are three possible ways to repair. One involves removing all of the sagging plaster and repairing as above. In some cases you will have removed so much plaster that you might as well remove all of it and replace with full sheets of drywal. The second involves gluing the saging plaster. There is a web page somewhere on the internet describing this in detail (try a google search on sagging plaster), but basically it involves drilling lots of small holes (about one inch spacing) through the plaster but not through the lathe (small strips of wood to which the plaster is supposed to be attached). You then inject glue such as Liquid Nails into the holes and prop the plaster up until the glue dries. Plaster sags when the keys (plaster pushed through the gaps between strips of lathe) detach from the plaster surface. The glue is simply taking the place of the missing keys. I have tried this option on walls with great success (and a lot of sarcastic comments from my wife, until I demonstrated that it could work). The third option and probably the easiest, but one I have never tried, is to use a product called a plaster washer (or several of them) to reattach the surface plaster to the lathe. Basically a drywall screw with a coved washer which provides a better support for the plaster than a screw head would. I have found old plaster can crack quite easily, so you might want to make small pilot holes for the screws using a drill. Plaster Washers are available through the internet (just do a Google search) and are supposed to work well. Please note that many people will suggest you simply tear out all of the plaster and lathe and replace with drywall. This is indeed a quick and dirty solution, and does provide you with new walls, but there is also some value to keeping the plaster (i.e. superior noise reduction, warm appearance, correct fit to old moldings, the messiness of removing plaster and the headaches of putting up drywall on inconsistently sized older studs) which should be considered. There is a reason that many high-end drywal jobs involve immitating a plaster finish by skimcoating blueboard.

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