Fixing holes in plaster.


Old 10-09-06, 02:02 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2
Fixing holes in plaster.

I have never done DIY in my life, so I have no idea what I'm doing - hence why I'm going to sound totally ignorant with this question.

Anyway, I've been clearing out the spare bedroom, and in the process, removed an old temporary wardrobe that was there. Underneath it was about five layers of old wallpaper, which I removed, but to my horror, some of the plaster has come away where all the sheets have been taken off.

There are about four patches - one is probably around 30cm by 10, 2 are about 20cm by 10, and one is about 10cm by 10. The depth isn't that deep - probably only about 2mm, but there is more of a hole where the corner of the wardrobe used to be.

I have no idea how to sort this out. I know you can buy plaster filler stuff, so is it just a case of painting the paste into the holes? If so, how do you make sure it is smooth, and in line with the rest of the plaster? The plaster around the holes seems quite fragile - will the filler stuff stop them crumbling once I've applied it? Also, I plan to paint over the area once I've sorted out this problem. Is it ok just to put the paint on direct over the plaster? Or do I need to do something else once the filler stuff has been applied? There is more old wall paper where the wardrobe used to be - a light flowery pattern that previous owners used. Would a good quality paint cover up the design? I don't want to remove it, and find more plaster comes off as well.

Thanks for any help you can give me - remember I'm a totally newbie at this, so if I come across as stupid, don't be surprised.
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Old 10-09-06, 02:25 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
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Joint compound is easier to work with than plaster. Use thin coats until you build up to the right thickness. If you get it too thick, you can sand it down to where you want it. You'll need to prime before you paint.
Old 10-09-06, 02:40 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2
Thanks for your help.
Old 10-09-06, 06:11 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 226
This is not difficult stuff, but you need a lot more basic instruction than you can get on a message board. Isn't there anyone you know who has done this who can demonstrate for you? If not, there are tutorials and instructions all over the web.

BTW, is this your house, or a rental?

If this is your house, you do NOT want to patch to loose plaster; a large patch is not more work than a small one, and is often less.

Press gently on the wall to find the limits of the loose plaster, and determine the entire area you need to patch. Loose plaster will 'give' slightly when you press against the wall.

If there is no give, just brush off the crumbling plaster, apply a screen patch, and spread joint compound over it. Apply it as smoothly as possible, because sanding is messy and unpleasant. Use several light coats rather than trying a single heavy coat, because a heavy coat will crack as it dries.

If there is give:
You will want to do a wallboard patch. This is relatively easy.
[Well, it is easy to do an adequate job, and true artistry to do a perfect job.]

You need a utility knife and a screw driver or drill. You will need to buy some little metal screen-like circles with a hole in the center [unfortunately I can never remember their name], some wallboard screws, joint tape, and some wallboard. Some store have smaller pieces of it [from damaged full sheets]; ask if the store has 'patching pieces'. You probably want the thinnest board available.

Find the studs. Fix the plaster to the laths with the 'buttons' about two inches from the studs, then cut back all the loose plaster to the stud with the utility knife. Cut out an even rectangle.

Cut the wallboard to fit the opening with the utility knife; attach it to the studs with the wallboard screws. Tape the joints. Cover the entire patch with several light coats of joint compound, 'feathering out' for a smooth surface.

This is not astrophysics; anyone with two hands and patience can do an adequate job. [Only retired professionals who are doing the nursery for their first grandchild will do a perfect job.]

And there are several professionals on this board who will warn you if I have given bad instructions.
Old 10-09-06, 08:59 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: California
Posts: 1,722
You have not given us enough information to know for sure if only the smooth finish is loose from the brown coat or if the brown coat is loose also. I have posted here countless times on how to patch plaster. Do a search and I think you will find the proceedure. Sometime I will learn how to save it so I don't have to type it new every time. It is a simple process and if you can butter bread you can do it.
If it is the finish only you can do a good enough job for a closet with joint compound. If you want to do it faster use a setting type joint compound because it lets you put on the next coat as soon as the previous coat is hard which can be as little as 5 minutes to as long as 90 minutes depending on what compound you buy.

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