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How to Repair Plaster Walls

Repairing plaster walls can be a bit like an archaeological dig. Peeling back the layers reveals times long forgotten. You don’t want to demolish your plaster walls, but you do need to fix them when they show signs of ageing. Here’s a guide to repairing old plaster walls.

Determine the Problem

Image via Flickr by Jessica Doyle

Image via Flickr by Jessica Doyle

There are several ways plaster can fall into disrepair. The most likely culprit is a cracked or uneven wall, but peeling is also a possibility. Chipping represents an even larger problem. Some might erode to the point that they crumble to the touch. You’ll have to identify precisely what is wrong with your plaster before you can select the right steps to repair it. If you discover structural issues, you’ll need to call a professional.

Fixing Uneven Walls

This is one of the easiest fixes. A wall becomes uneven when the plaster no longer rests against the wallboard correctly. All you must do is restore the balance to even the wall. You can do this by spackling the shorter parts to make them even. Alternately, apply new coating to the entire surface, using more in the areas that have gaps. Click this link to view a detailed description of the steps.

Addressing Cracked Walls

This is again an easy problem to solve for weekend DIYers, but it requires some elbow grease. The best way to fix a cracked wall is by painting or wallpapering the entire surface. A fresh coat of paint or new wallpaper will refresh the entire room’s appearance. These are the tried-and-true methods to handle cracked walls, but remember that you’re adding to the issue and not fixing it permanently. Eventually, some owner will have to attack the deeper problem of a many-layered wall with cracks.

Fill in the Holes

Patching holes in the wall requires a bit more ingenuity than the other steps listed here. Small holes are often the most challenging to fill. There’s little actual work required, but the small work space can be difficult to address.

First, you’ll need to add a layer of fresh coating. There are multiple options from there. You can buy a repair kit with a section you can place in the gap. Alternately, you can buy a kit that includes patching plaster to slather into the problem area.

Attack the Wall Instead

For DIY fanatics, there’s a better way to handle a cracked or uneven wall. That is to scrape the surface until you reach the initial coat. It’s time-consuming and a lot of hard work, but it’s the best choice for people seeking to save their wall’s history. You could also tear down the wall and rebuild it. You would destroy your little piece of history in the process, though. It’s better to scrape your way to the core and then start the plaster wall life cycle anew.

By using this guide, you should have no problem restoring your plaster walls. In the process, you’ve saved your own part of history. Well done!

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