How-To Guide for Repairing Holes and Cracks on Plaster Walls

You know what? I don’t think I even want to know why there is a gaping hole in your wall or ceiling. However, the fact remains that it is there in plain sight and you are now faced with the daunting task having it repaired. While you are at it, you might as well take care of those tiny holes and cracked plaster walls that have been plaguing your home for years. Smaller holes and cracked walls are usually a result of the house settling over time, faulty construction, excessive vibration, or less than ideal interior climate conditions. This article will describe the steps involved in fixing your large plaster holes, tiny holes, and cracked plaster walls to make the interior of your house look like new!

Easiest things first! For this project, you will need a putty knife, spackling compound, joint compound, a bucket, wire mesh, a spray bottle, drywall-reinforcing tape, and fine-grit sandpaper.

Let’s Plaster Those Holes!

Simply applying a spackling compound, sanding the patch job when completely dried, and painting over it can easily repair any tiny holes in plaster. However, larger holes require a slightly more complicated procedure.

Your first step will be to remove any additional loose plaster that is still attached to the hole. If the hole is particularly large, you will need a support behind the wall to hold the plaster filler. Options for this anchor can include metal lathe or wire mesh. Make sure that this support is larger than the hole. Thread some wire through it and insert the mesh or lathe into the hole. Pull on the wire to keep the mesh or lathe close to the wall and twist the wire around a piece of wood to keep it in place.

Mix up your joint compound in a bucket of water. Before applying the compound, it is recommended that the perimeter of the hole be thoroughly moistened. This procedure will ensure that there is a solid bond between the plaster and the filler. Next, apply the first coat of compound by forcing the compound entirely through the mesh. This helps to ensure a solid patch job. Continue until the mesh is entirely covered and the edges of the hole have been covered. Once this first coat is dry you can untwist the wire from the piece of wood and remove both. Apply a second coat of compound that completely fills the hole and then smooth it out. When this second coat is dry, take a piece of very fine grit sandpaper and smooth the patch down so that it is flush with the wall or ceiling. The patch job is now ready to be painted!

Let’s Plaster Those Cracks!

Hairline cracks are very simple to repair! Simply apply a thin layer of joint compound along the crack, place drywall-reinforcing tape along its length, smooth, dry, and reapply compound again if necessary.

Major cracks require a slightly more complicated procedure. Your first step will be to remove any excess plaster that may be caught within the crack. You will then need to mix up the joint compound for immediate use. After thoroughly dampening the entire surface area of the crack, apply the first coat of compound using a flexible putty knife and making sure that you get the compound into the depth of the crack as much as possible. After allowing this first coat to dry, you will then perform a second application and smooth the surface out. Shrinkage often occurs during the drying process so you may need to apply several coats to entirely fill the crack. Once the crack has been repaired to your satisfaction, level out the patch job with the wall or ceiling by using fine-grit sandpaper. The patch is now ready to be painted!

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