You can improve the overall look of your home fairly easily with just the quick application of some diy plaster. If your walls are starting to look a little bit worse for the wear, you should still not worry too much. With a little bit of work, it is easy to make your home and walls look as good as new. A little bit of diy plaster advice is all that you need to get your home back into shape.
When most people look at a wall that is cracked, the first thing that they will think is that it needs new paint. While that is undoubtedly also the case, a fresh coat of paint will not last very long. Instead, you will need to make sure that you fix the underlying problems and fill the cracks before you start doing tiny fix-ups to just cover things up. Diy plaster is a good way to fix the actual problems with your wall.
Make Sure House is Sound Before Fixing Cracks
First, before you start with any diy plaster, you should take a good look at the type of wall damage you are looking at. There are two major causes of plaster problems. The first one that you should consider is just the chance that the previously used plaster was not very good to begin with. If this is the case, then the plaster will look as if it is crumbling apart.
The other problem that you might have is just that the plaster is beginning to crack due to stress from the environment. This can be caused by stress from people hanging things on the walls, or from any earthquakes that may have occurred since the building was built.
If you think that the damage was caused by earthquakes or other structural issues, then you should have the building checked out before you start with any diy plaster. This way, you can make sure that the new plaster will stick.
The two most used interior wall materials are gypsum wallboard (or drywall), and plaster. Plaster was used over brick, stone or frame construction, and whitewashed, painted or wallpapered. If you own an older home, built pre-1950s, it probably has plaster walls and ceilings. Plaster is made of a mixture of Portland cement, sand and water applied in layers to a wood or plasterboard base.
Over a period of time, settling or shrinking of walls produces fine stress-cracks. Professional plasterers have the materials, plaster tools, and skills needed to repair these cracks, but do it yourselfers can also tackle the smaller jobs.
Small, thin cracks can be filled in with patching plaster or high grade, lightweight non-shrinking spackling compounds. The steps to follow go like this:
First, remove all the loose plaster with a thin screwdriver or knife, cleaning the crack so it is wider at the bottom than on the surface. This enables better adhesion for the new plaster.
With a damp cloth or brush, remove loose plaster dust. If you are using water-based patching plaster, dampen the crack.
Using a criss-cross motion to work it in, fill the crack in with patching plaster or spackling compound.
Next, feather the edges of the patched area so it will be less visible. Go about 2″ on each side of the crack, using a 6 inch wide flexible putty knife. Smaller putty knives have a nasty habit of leaving gouges.
When the patch is dry, lightly sand and then paint over it. On more humid days, you can use the low temperature setting on a hairdryer to speed up the plaster drying, but watch out. If you apply too much heat you’ll end up with more cracks.
photo courtesy of Nate Vack