drill through the plaster on both sides of the crack
Photo: Chris Wolfe
Using a 3/8-inch masonry bit, drill through the plaster on both sides of the crack. Stop drilling when you hit the wood lath.
Like death and taxes, there's a certain inevitability about the cracks that happen in plaster walls and ceilings. When a plaster wall or ceiling breaks loose from its wood lath, it has a simple way of letting you know: it cracks. That's why simply filling a crack with spackle joint compound is pointless; it just comes back. The only sure fix is to reunite plaster with its lath. For years, homeowners have done just that by screwing plaster washers into the lath and covering the cracks with mesh tape. But the washers and tape stick out from the wall and the process of covered them with layers of joint compound requires a fair amount of skill and patience.

Now there's a new product that reattaches plaster without leaving behind difficult-to-disguise bumps. Big Wally's Plaster Magic repair kit uses a two-part adhesive to glue the lath and plaster back together, so a spackle is all it takes to make the repair disappear. Rory Brennan, a Vermont-based plaster restoration expert, developed this homeowner-friendly system after years of using drums of similar adhesives on large-scale plaster-repair projects.
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