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Old Plaster/Cracks/Ridges in Plaster Look Like Anthills

Old Plaster/Cracks/Ridges in Plaster Look Like Anthills

Old 11-28-05, 05:28 PM
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Old Plaster/Cracks/Ridges in Plaster Look Like Anthills

I've got a situation with 50+-year old plaster walls that in some particular places are exhibiting some strange cracks. In most cases, the cracks are appearing directly over the old-style wall registers (which somewhat inefficiently mostly just push the air up toward the wall and not into the room.) The cracks have created a growing spider-web pattern, and the plaster itself has either started to brown a little or turned grayish in color. The plaster itself is very very dry - and brittle. The odd thing is another feature of the cracks, which is hard to describe. The cracks have formed small ridges and openings that are exuding some of the plaster dust. Imagine an anthill but coming out of the plaster. (Sorry, it's very hard to describe.)

For the most part, I've blocked off any access to these spaces with furniture, but at some point it will need some resolution.

The only things I can imagine that are causing the cracks are: it's a very very dry house (and the whole house humidifier caused a world of other problems) and has been this dry for a long time; it seems obvious there's no insulation in these spaces where the cracks and plaster 'ridges' are appearing; they are directly above and next to wall registers, so they are exposed to cold air all summer and hot air all winter; the plaster is very old and has not been treated well (not paint, no primer, etc.)

Remedies? Do I remove the sections of plaster and replace somehow? Do I scrape it clean, seal it up somehow and cover it with new plaster?

Old 11-29-05, 05:43 AM
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watch out, you might have a termite problem. Check for that first.

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