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Need some answers lime/horse hair plaster repair


I have a 270+ year old Federal Colonial, and the wall above the fireplace in the living room is badly cracked, and sections of the plaster have fallen.

Now this particular area, the plaster is adhered directly to the chimney structure. There are no wooden laths.

I know this must be horse hair reinforced lime plaster, its crumbly to the touch with a coarse consistency. Almost like sand. There is some other plaster work to be repaired such as cracked/loose ceiling in another room and some more wall areas that are cracked and loose.

My parents bought this house in the early 1970's, and did a restoration throughout their time living there but have since moved off to Maine and I am taking over the home.

I have attempted to consult some people on this repair but no one seems to actually understand the material the wall is made out of. One guy tried to know what he was talking about and told me to square up and cut out the area and put 3/8" sheet rock in and use some material that wasn't wall joint compound, but you had to mix it with water like plaster of paris.

Any ways, I am really hoping someone actually knows what to do. Maybe This Old House wants to come do a show on this repair!?!?



I have pictures but not enough posts to link them.

Re: Need some answers lime/horse hair plaster repair

You can start by getting a copy of Preservation Brief # 21October 1998.
For the repairs make sure that a CORRECT repair material is used.
DO NOT use any joint COMPOUNDS or sheet rock repair materials.
The plaster you describe sounds like a Quick Lime and sand plaster.
Depending on the area you are in it may contain Oyster shell remains.For repair materials check with Virginia Lime Works or U.s. Heritage Group also research HISTORIC SCOTLAND.
For plasters call your local or nearest Historical Society ask if they know of plasters or if they have other contacts.
Also ask Viginia Lime and U.S. Hrritage if they ship to plaster around your area?
Also check with your local suppliers of these products IVORY LIME,U S G Moulding Plaster USG Gauging Plaster or any Veneer plaster products find out who is using these they may have the name and number.

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