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Plaster Walls

Hi everyone .I've received a nice house that belonged to my grandmother ,  the walls are plaster and most have cracks under the wall paper. Working on one room at a time I'm getting rid of the paper and I'm  going to fill the cracks and get ready for paint. Most of the cracks are minor with some a little bigger. Anyway My question is that I've been told to use a good joint compound or spackling . Also to start by putting one layer of the compound on the cracks not filling them all the way  and then use Fiberglass or mesh self sticking tape to put over the cracks while the first layer is still wet,. let this cure and then add a second layer of the compound over the tape and then let it cure. Then sand it down with a sanding block and some fine Grit sandpaper or sanding screen. Does this sound right ? Also is there some kind of sealer I should put on the compound before I paint , or will the primer I'm going to use before painting do the trick? Thanks Rob

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Posted 2011-04-07T12:56:15+0000  by AshburnCreek AshburnCreek

Hey there AshburnCreek,


Congratulatons on the new house!


You can indeed get a good start on your project usng the tips you've gotten. The repair process for plaster is similar to how drywall is done now. You can do the same process using Plaster of Paris, but it's a lot more difficult to work with and really tough to sand.


You can repair the cracks using Joint Compound, similar to this:

The version above is pre-mixed and will be easier to work with for those unfamiliar with patching and sanding. It will also dry hard, so when you sand it down it will be a solid surface. They also do make a lightweight version of this that helps make it easier to sand down if you find it difficult, but I would only recommend that for a top-coating.


Like you'd mentioned, I would go over the crack with a putty knife or flat trowel and spread the compound over the cracked area. Then apply the mesh tape over it while it's wet, and go over it onnce more with the spread. Have this spread go about 2-3 inches past the tape on each side so that it gets a good grip. Let that dry till it's solid, and then lightly sand it down so that it's flat, but be careful not to go so far that you sand to the tape. Make a a second coat of the same compound, but go about 4 inches further than before and sand that down when dry. Depending on how the previous two layers have dried and flattened, you may or may not need a third coat. This third coat is where you can use that lightweight compound I was talking about earlier.


As far as the sealer, your primer should do the trick. A product like KILZ 2 or Behr Drywall Primer & Sealer will do the job, and then you can paint directly over that.


Hope that helps you out. Let us know if you have any other questions on it, or with other projects you find down the road!~

Posted 2011-04-07T15:25:29+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI

Hi , thanks for the info. Atleast I know I'm going in the right direction. The only question I have left for now is how does a repair like this not show up when you paint ? it seems like "to me" lol , but I'm new at this stuff, that  the taped over crack area, being a little thicker than the rest fo the wall would show after painting. Anyway , Thanks Again !

Posted 2011-04-07T16:29:50+0000  by AshburnCreek

Oh no, I completely understand. I'm one of the pickiest people I know and I spot stuff like that from a mile away =D


The whole reason that you expand further from the actual effected area is so that you can more gradually plane the wall to be more even. Every wall in a house that has been drywalled has had this treatment done to it in the joints, but when done properly you shouldn't be able to see anything through the coat of primer and paint. Those layers also help build it up a bit (albeit very slightly), so it's really all a trick of the eye. The key is in the sanding, which you really want to make sure is 100% before you toss that paint on, because that's when you'd notice.

Posted 2011-04-07T17:31:42+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI

Ah , I see.  So whats Your suggestion to make sure the sanding is right before the Paint ? Thanks again for all the Info !

Posted 2011-04-07T19:41:28+0000  by AshburnCreek

You're most welcome ^^


Your eyes should be judge enough to help you on this one. What I've found easiest is to get a small lamp or something with a bright enough light that I can shine at a low angle onto my sanding work. This helps show me any small imperfections that I might have missed or not seen. You really just want to do a light sand on it, and not scrub so much you go right back into the plaster. And don't try bringing out a level like I did one time, you'll drive yourself batty. Just make sure that it looks plane to the eye, and you'll be just fine ^^


Remember also that the sheen of the paint also helps cover this as well. Going with something either Flat or close to it will help hide any imperfections that may appear later on. An Eggshell finish goes nicely :) You can read more about the differences in sheens in my blog entry, A Sheen Can Make It Or Break It!

Posted 2011-04-07T20:02:22+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI

Cool Thanks. You've been a Big help . When I get to other areas to start working on, like patching a couple of big holes from the movers in the hallways, or building a wider staircase to the basement, I'll come here for advise. I've also got front Porch boards to replace. Have a good weekend . Time for some patching lol ! First I have to hit the Depot tomorrow for supplies:smileyhappy:

Posted 2011-04-08T13:21:12+0000  by AshburnCreek

Not a problem :)


Let us know how it turns out with the walls! Put up some pictures of the finished product if you can, I'd love to see how it turns out.


Posted 2011-04-08T14:38:43+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI

Hi Jay,


My first time.  I am wanting to change my daughters room a bit...


I found the wood planks at HD and would like to use these as paneling about 4 feet tall then put a chair rail on top of it.  She also woud like (for lack of knowing the proper term) a lattice type pattern on the wall above the paneling.  She saw this at Bailey's Restuarant in town.  It looks like they used some kind of molding diagonally going across the wall both ways making a diamond pattern on the wall.  I hope I'm not confusing you, it is hard to explain.

Posted 2011-04-21T13:58:53+0000  by villa8050

Hey there villa8050,


I think I understand you on this one. I can't say I've really seen lattice on the walls, aside from in a gardening sense. Once had a person place some up on his wall and then use it as a large trellis for some silk vines to hang from to give it that outdoors look.


I made up a quick sketch so to speak of what I think you're getting at.





Granted the colors may be a bit different, but that's what I make of it.


Are you planning on having that lattice continue up the entire wall, or just use it as a small siderail section?


We do have sheets of lattice material in the stores. You can find them in sheets of 4' x 8' that you can cut down as needed or place directly on the wall. While I have a wood style in the picture, I think the vinyl would actually look a bit nicer. (depending on the decor of the room)


Individual pieces of moudling would also work, albeit expensively though. And that would be much more time consuming making all the cuts on miters you'd need.


Have you thought about maybe doing paint in the lattice design? You could section off the areas and design with painters tape and then just roll over the area. It would make quick work of it and you can give it a bit of texture by adding a bit of sand to the the tray to give it that kind of "wood sandblast" feel. Might actually turn out looking real nice =)


Hopefully I'm on the right track with what you were asking. Let me know if I'm way off though and we can start over again. Or if you have pictures of the look you're going for, feel free to post those too!~

Posted 2011-04-21T14:41:02+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI

Yep your on the right track but yes I will need to use the molding strips she wants bigger diamonds than what the lattice provides.  My main concern is how do I attached the planks on the wall.  I don't want to use liquid nails, so if she gets tired of it and wants it gone it won't tear up the wall.

Posted 2011-04-21T19:19:47+0000  by villa8050
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