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Kevin’s Photo Album | Restoring the Plaster

Classic techniques meet new technology in an effort to restore the beautiful details of the plaster molding throughout the Polks’ home. Follow along in Kevin’s sixth photo album from Detroit to see how it was done.

Restoring the Plaster Molding

Photo by Kevin O'Connor

The plaster around the archway of the living room door is salvageable, but isn’t in great shape. The damage to the plaster is most noticeable at the top right, next to the peak. Tom Silva will use a combination of techniques to restore the intricate designs in the molding.

Tom Silva Makes Repairs

Photo by Kevin O'Connor

Here, Tom is focused on the black strip over the top right section of damaged plaster. “It stands out now but when he’s finished with it you’ll never know a repair was made,” Kevin says.

Perfecting the Profile

Photo by Kevin O'Connor

You can see the black strip – the resin-like product of a 3-D printer – in more detail here. With this kind of damage, there aren’t many options for restoration beyond finding someone who makes this profile in plaster, Kevin says. So, the TOH TV crew had a replica made with a process that uses a digital camera and a 3-D printer.

Repurposing a Putty Knife

Photo by Kevin O'Connor

Repairing the crown molding requires more old-school techniques. “It has a specific profile,” Kevin says, “which would have been formed on-site by the original plasterer.” Tom altered a putty knife to get the job done.

Making a Custom Tool

Photo by Kevin O'Connor

“Tom made the tool specific to the crown molding profile by using tin snips and a file,” Kevin says. The new knife can scrape back and forth over the crown molding plaster, as shown here.

Professionals Assist with Repairs

Photo by Kevin O'Connor

Some professionals will come in to assist with more meticulous work for other plaster profiles.

A Golden Finishing Touch

Photo by Kevin O'Connor

The restorations on the plasterwork will be true labors of love. Between the 3-D-printed fix for the top right portion of the archway and the custom-tool repairs to the crown molding is the gold-leaf-like detail. The Polks’ son, Christian, hand-painted the surface of this plaster pattern.

Tune in to see the continued progress on TOH TV’s Detroit house! Learn more about the plaster by watching episode 21. Check your local listings to catch the rest of the season!

Don't forget to check in weekly for new photo galleries from TOH TV host Kevin O'Connor! In the meantime, check him out at @kevinoconnorTOH on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more photography.