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Wall Repairs: How To Fix Cracks In Plaster

Many people choose plaster to finish their interior walls instead of drywall because it is known for its durability. However, this doesn't mean it can't also be repaired if it gets cracks. There are ways to repair cracks in the plaster instead of having to rip off the plaster and start fresh. Here are some tips for repairing those cracks and improving the appearance of your interior walls.

Open the Cracks

It might seem like a waste of time and that it would make the repair job more difficult, but you actually need to make the cracks a little wider before fixing them. Use a utility knife or putty knife to widen the cracks. Insert the knife into the crack and apply pressure in order to open up the edges of the cracks slightly. By increasing the area you are working with, you have more for the compound to stick to. Once you are satisfied with the opened cracks, brush off crumbs of plaster.

Prepare the Joint Compound

To repair cracks in plaster, you are going to use a joint compound. If you get the ready-mix variety, it will already come ready to use. If you get dry compound, you need to mix it with water according to the package's directions. Once the compound is ready to go, add a thin layer of compound over one of the cracks on the plaster, smoothing it out with a wide-taping knife. This is the same type of knife used for drywall repairs. Continue doing this over all the cracks.

Apply Drywall Tape

Next, you want to add some ordinary drywall tape into the wet area of the compound you just added. Get a piece of tape and apply it into the crack, allowing it to go inside the length of the crack. Let the compound dry with the tape along the length of the crack, then add more joint compound over the area that is taped. This will let the compound mixture go a couple inches past the area that is currently taped.

Finish the Patching Job

Let your compound dry once more and use sandpaper to sand it lightly and gently. This gets rid of any bumps that formed during the application and drying process. Make sure the sandpaper doesn't go into the tape. You will now add a second layer of compound and let it extend a little farther on the plaster wall than you did previously. Let it dry and sand it once more. Add one more layer of joint compound, once again extend it further along the wall. Let it dry and sand it until smooth.

For more information, or if you would like professional assistance, contact Old World Plastering or a similar company.