How to repair flaked plaster surface


Expert advice and detailed instructions on repairing the most common plaster wall and ceiling problems, including cracks, holes, and sagging

©Don Vandervort, HomeTips

Earthquakes are unkind to plaster walls, as evidenced by this deep crack.

Plaster applied to wood lath is held in place by the “keys” that form when it squishes through the lath. (For more about how plaster walls are built, see Plaster Wall Construction.) Over time, these keys can disintegrate, causing the plaster to crack, crumble, and fall away from the lath. Settling of a house or the occasional earthquake can speed this process.

Some plaster is of poor quality, and this may cause the plaster to crack and crumble. In addition, water damage from roof or plumbing leaks can discolor plaster and cause peeling or efflorescence, the leaching of salts and minerals to the surface.

Plaster can also be damaged from the normal stresses and strains of people living in a house: holes from...

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Apply the mixture with the 10" wallboard knife and spread a 1/4"-inch layer over the hole. Cross-scratch the first coat as it begins to set to allow the second coat to adhere well.

If needed, apply drywall/plaster tape to the wall to fill in larger, bumpy areas. First, apply a thin layer of plaster or joint compound and then apply the tape. Apply more plaster or joint compound mixture over the tape and use the drywall knife to smooth the surface until it's even with the wall, pressing to remove pockets of air and plaster/drywall mud from beneath the tape.

Once the first layer has dried, apply a second layer. Apply another 3/8"- to 1/4"-inch layer and cross-scratch as you did the first time. Allow it to dry thoroughly before you...

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How to Use Fiberglass Mesh to Repair Plaster Walls

Fiberglass tape strengthens the joint compound’s bond.

Related Articles

Plaster-and-lath walls are common in older homes. The plaster can deteriorate with old age, leaving unsightly cracks, chips and splits in the wall. This is not only ugly, but the flaking chips and dust can be inhalation and choking hazards for children.

Fortunately, plaster walls can be repaired in the same manner as modern drywall — with fiberglass mesh tape and some joint compound. In fact, you can even match the swirled or dimpled texture of the existing plaster wall — as is common in many older homes — with just a few tools.

Items you will need

Plastic sheathing

Masking tape

Dust mask

6-inch drywall knife

Damp sponge


Fiberglass tape

Utility knife

Joint compound

Drywall sanding block

12-inch drywall knife


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When life cracks up, we fall for de-stress sessions and when the plaster on our walls cracks, we fall in the web of distress! Wall plasters, unlike the drywall, tend to chip, crack and fall, adding agony to a homeowner's woes. Flaking plaster can get you screaming for help and your attempts to fix one crack can lead to a never-ending struggle with your plasters. No matter how much you try and what you do, wall plasters are difficult to stop from cracking. Only timely intervention can stop the plaster from raking off your walls. While some cracks are merely eyesore and need no repair, others can cause irreparable damages to your wall. Look out for the tell-tale signs of chipping and then take preventive measures to stop the plaster from falling off. Remember, you cannot stop plaster from peeling off, but what you can do is fix them properly to maintain the aesthetic look of your house. Here are some simple quick fixes to your withered plaster. Read on to know ways on how to repair...

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Your average homeowner looks at the walls of their home as a decorative surface--for painting, texturing, and hanging family photos. Beneath the surface, however, is a system--a wall system. By today’s standards, this wall system is likely constructed of drywall, now the Kleenex of wallboard products.

In a drywall wall system, panels of paper-wrapped, packed gypsum are affixed (nailed, screwed, or glued) to the framing system below. The edges, or joints, between hung panels are then taped and are ultimately coated with additional layers of gypsum paste. This applied compound itself then hardens to create a homogeneous surface, rigid and sound.

While the first iterations of wallboard (ironically called plasterboard) appeared in the early parts of the 20th century, it is generally accepted that it didn’t gain wide popularity until around the time of World War II.

It was into the 50s before drywall wall systems unseated its primary predecessor, the plaster and...

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One of the easiest mistakes to make when renovating a historic home is to tear down the old plaster walls and replace them with modern drywall and joint compound. This not only destroys the historic architecture and features that make a historic home great, but it also adds to the overall costs of the project exponentially. Lime plaster has been in use for thousands of years from Japan to Egypt and has been employed in many historic structures around the globe. Lime plaster is a far superior product than today’s modern wall coverings. With its crystalline structure, it repels moisture well while allowing for contraction and expansion that often occurs in older homes during changing weather conditions. In fact, as the plasters structure calcifies (ages), it increases in durability and strength!

A Little History First

Traditional lime plaster was used for wall coverings until WWII. It was applied in a 3 coat process over thin wood furring strips called lath...

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Before beginning repairs to walls or ceilings that have been damaged by water, locate and stop the source of the leak or you will be repairing the same damage over and over again. Also be sure the plaster has time to dry out completely before attempting to start repairs.

About Plaster Water Damage

When three-coat plaster gets wet the surface will usually show some visual signs. A brown stain may appear in ceilings or walls, or with a heavy soaking, the surface may begin to bubble from the chemical reaction of the lime. As the surface dries, it may harden and the surrounding paint will flack off. Water damage effects may be minor, isolated to the surface layer of the wall, or it may penetrate the whole 3-coat structure, causing crumbling brown and scratch coats that fall off the lath. In some cases, the lath may also be damaged, showing rotted wood or rusted metal under the plaster coats.

Plaster that has gotten wet is best repaired using setting-type joint...

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When an older home begins to settle, small cracks and lines often appear in the plaster walls. Plaster walls can also sustain damage if struck by pieces of furniture or doors. Fortunately, you can repair cracks, holes, and corners of plaster walls. It is best to make any repairs before painting, since all such repairs are visible afterwards unless covered by paint. If you need to make repairs on plaster walls in your home, get to know the tools and techniques you need before beginning a project.

Supplies You Need

Before attempting to repair a plaster wall, familiarize yourself with the tools you need to make the repair.

Once you understand which tools you need and how they work, you are ready to begin your repair.

Repairing Holes in Plaster

Very carefully, use a putty knife or spackling tool to carve out some space underneath the area of plaster in need of repair. This allows the new plaster patch to seep underneath the existing plaster for a...

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Repair plaster or damaged walls. Nu-Wal® is a quick and efficient system for repairing damaged plaster substrates of walls and ceilings. The Nu-Wal® system covers and reinforces the entire surface with a fine textured fiberglass mat embedded in an elastomeric adhesive.

The non-woven fiberglass mat and the acrylic binder create a surface that resists impacts and abrasions.

Cracks in exterior or interior surfaces do not come back as they do with patching compounds.

Repairing plaster with Nu-Wal® conforms to all the requirements of ASTM E-1795 and ASTM E-1797 of liquid coatings for leaded paint in buildings. Although extremely durable (35+ year old applications show no defects), Nu-Wal® is applied as simply as wallpaper. Restoration is quick, affordable and long-lasting when you repair plaster walls with Nu-Wal.

Restored surfaces are ideal for either painting or wallpapering. No mixing is required and clean-up is with water.

While Nu-Wal repairs...

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How to Repair Plaster Walls & Ceilings

Expert advice and detailed instructions on repairing the most common plaster wall and ceiling problems, including cracks, holes, and sagging

Earthquakes are unkind to plaster walls, as evidenced by this deep crack.

Plaster applied to wood lath is held in place by the “keys” that form when it squishes through the lath. (For more about how plaster walls are built, see Plaster Wall Construction .) Over time, these keys can disintegrate, causing the plaster to crack, crumble, and fall away from the lath. Settling of a house or the occasional earthquake can speed this process.

Some plaster is of poor quality, and this may cause the plaster to crack and crumble. In addition, water damage from roof or plumbing leaks can discolor plaster and cause peeling or efflorescence, the leaching of salts and minerals to the surface.

Plaster can also be damaged from the normal stresses and strains of people living in a house: holes...

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Plaster walls are some of the most misunderstood parts of an old home. And many homeowners are quick to tear them down and put up drywall. But replacing plaster walls.

Repairing Historic Flat Plaster Walls and Ceilings. Mary Lee MacDonald. Historical Background; Common Plaster Problems; Repairing Historic Plaster; When Damaged.

You can repair cracks which damage plaster surfaces, ceilings and the whole structure. To ensure safety of the building and maintain its good looks, let’s know.

Repair Fine Cracks Plaster Walls Bubbling

Home Guides » Real Estate Advice » Fill Out a Quitclaim Deed » How to Repair Interior Plaster Over Masonry Walls; How to Repair Interior Plaster Over Masonry Walls.

How to Repair Plaster Walls & Ceilings

How to Repair Horsehair Plaster. Homes that are 100 years old or more are apt to have horsehair plaster and lath instead of drywall or plasterboard; it wasn't until.

Repair Fine Cracks Plaster Walls...

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Plaster walls can be one of the joys, but also one of the trials, of owning an older home. Plastering is comparable to an art form, and each plasterer has his own recipes and techniques that require years of apprenticeship to perfect. Inconsistencies in the plaster mix, poor technique and age are just a few factors that can cause a wavy finished wall. Although this is a common issue with old plaster, you can likely remedy waves without hiring a professional.

Determine the Cause

To understand the repairs, you should first understand how plaster walls are made. Plastering is a multi-step process. The first layer is called the brown coat, which is a coarse mixture applied over lath. Lath are thin wood strips fastened horizontally to the wall studs. As the brown coat is spread over the lath, it is partially forced into the spaces between the strips, where it sinks down behind the lath and hardens into lumps known as keys. Keys are what hold the plaster on the wall, but...

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Q: The electrician who put in new light switches left gaping holes in our lath-and-plaster walls. How should we fix them?
- Daniel and Lauren herlocker, Brattleboro, VT.

A: Retrofit work by clueless electricians is the number one cause of damaged plasterwork these days. But it's easy to make the damage disappear for good if you use good techniques and the right materials.

What's the wrong material? So-called patching plaster sold at home centers. It's much harder than the wall's original plaster, and it sets in the blink of an eye. A softer, slower-setting lime-based plaster, like the one I developed for Big Wally's line of plaster-repair products, takes about an hour to set, isn't prone to cracking or delaminating, and needs no sanding, which keeps dust to a minimum. Just follow the steps on the next page, and your electrician's less-than-handiwork will be history.

Pictured: Rory Brennan uses a damp sponge to smooth the final coat on a plaster...

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By John Shearer Painting Contractor 206-431-3606

June 15, 2003

After a big paint job, blisters and bubbles are the last things you want to see; but it happens all the time. Latex and acrylic paint are especially prone to blistering and bubbling, but these problems can occur with any kind of fresh paint finish. They can happen on interior or exterior surfaces, and they’re more likely to arise when preventive measures haven’t been taken. You might ask several experienced painters and you might get as many answers why paint bubbles and blisters; likewise from paint dealers and manufacturer reps. I have been a painting contractor since 1990 and I will will share my experience with old homes.

Where Do Blisters and Bubbles Come From?

Blistering is what happens when the top coat of paint parts ways with the coats beneath it. Sometimes the top coat can take away multiple coats of paint with it.. almost like a piant stripper!!...

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1GL - BEAUTIFUL ANTIQUE PLATTER OF THE WHITE HOUSE AND PRESIDENTS This is a quite wonderful platter, with a few of our Presidents and some states, with all the flags and state symbols. The states shown are Pennsylvania, New York, California, Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Texas. The Presidents are Lincoln, Washington, Grant, Jefferson, Jackson, Monroe, McKinley, perhaps Garfield, perhaps Cleveland, and the other two I'm not really sure of. There are beautiful crossed American flags, with swords and pistols, and laurel wreaths around each president. In the middle of the platter is a fantastic scene of the White House, with flag flying high and colorful landscaping and a fountain. In the back you can see what looks like a large conservatory. Since I believe McKinley is the latest president shown, this platter dates around turn-of-the-century. 13 3/4 x 10 3/4". I see only a very tiny few scratches...

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You can apply this shed & fence stain from the Ronseal One coat fence life range to new or previously stained rough sawn wood, using a brush, to colour and provide protection against weathering. It takes 1-2 hours to dry and will cover up to...

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This contract emulsion paint has been specially designed to give a stunning finish to your walls & ceilings. Simply apply each coat with a brush or roller and leave for 2-4 hours to dry. Covers up to 13...

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The oscillating tool or "multitool", is a concept that was originally made popular by the German manufacturer Fein with their Multimaster range of tools. In recent years, a number of similar tools based on the multimaster concept have become available. This article serves not only as a FAQ for this particular class of tool, it also documents the level of interoperability between the blades and accessories for the various makes.

What is it?

Its a small versatile tool designed to perform a wide range of tasks. They can be used for cutting, sanding, rasping, polishing, scraping and a number of other tasks. They make very effective tools for performing awkward cutting operations that are almost impossible with any other tool.

Most tools on the market are mains-operated but Bosch also make a cordless (Li-Ion powered) model.

How does it work?

An oscillating tool, looks a little reminiscent of a detail sander, and in...

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Two years ago, we waterproofed over 1000 square feet of cinder block wall in our mostly-underground basement. We applied Super Thoroseal to 500 sq. ft., and SunnyDry Foundation Waterproofer to the other 500 sq. ft.

[See also: SunnyDry Foundation Waterproofer Review]

When we ran that initial review, we promised a follow-on article with a review of Super Thoroseal’s performance, but like so many things, it fell off the plate. So here’s that review, two years later.

What is Super Thoroseal?

To bring you back up to speed, Super Thoroseal is a portland-cement based waterproofer that is sold in 35 lb., five gallon buckets at a variety of stores–most notably Home Depot, where we purchased it. Super Thoroseal is suitable for a variety of waterproofing applications, including above and below grade concrete and masonry waterproofing. It cannot be applied to painted surfaces.

[See also: Super Thoroseal’s Official Site]

Super Thoroseal claims...

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A popular search that often comes up is, “Can I paint over lining paper?” Many people are not sure what lining paper is meant for or how to use it. This post will hopefully answer any of your questions about lining paper and its uses.

What is lining paper meant for

Lining paper has always primarily been used to give a smooth base in which to wallpaper over, however, a few years back wallpaper wasn’t fashionable and plain emulsioned walls, were all the rage but people soon realised that their walls were not that perfect, hence why they had the woodchip or embossed anaglypta or highly pattered wallpaper they had on the walls. So, the answer was to line the walls before painting them with emulsion. So yes, you can paint over lining paper.

About ten years ago it was rare to hang wallpaper but very common to remove wallpaper and line the walls and emulsion them. Even though plain emulsioned walls are still very common today there has been a return to...

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Concrete is resistant to wind, hurricanes, floods, and fire. Concrete, as a structural material and as the building exterior skin, has the ability to withstand nature’s normal deteriorating mechanisms as well as natural disasters. Properly designed, reinforced concrete is resistant to earthquakes and provides blast protection for occupants. Concrete safe rooms help provide protection from earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, and other disasters.

Fire Resistance

Concrete offers noncombustible construction that helps contain a fire within boundaries.

As a separation wall, concrete helps to prevent a fire from spreading throughout a building.

As an exterior wall or roof, concrete helps to prevent a fire from jumping from building to building.

During wild fires, concrete walls and roofs help provide protection to human life and the occupants’ possessions within a building.

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