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Repairing plaster walls

My house was built in 1927 with plaster walls. For years the bedroom was covered in ugly paneling. My husband and I just removed the paneling and the four layers of wallpaper under the paneling. By the way, thanks for the tip about removing wallpaper! Most of the plaster is looking good but with little holes. The outside wall near the chimney has had water damage and the top layer of the plaster has come off in a few spots (1 1/2 feet in diameter) and is discolored in that area. The layer underneath seems fine. How can we repair the surface layer of plaster? I only see videos on how to repair it when it's down to the lath.

Re: Repairing plaster walls

If it were me i would use Master of Plaster to skim all the walls smooth.
This product is the most user friendly.
Also it is all lime based.
Other productys that could be used are as follows.
Variance Alto smooth this is an Acrylic finish plaster.
American Clay has a plaster that is ok but watch were you use it due to moisture.
Also you copuld use USG Diamond finish or **** Bond Kal coat finish.
from all, of the above Master of Plaster is the only one that would be easy for a DIY job.

Re: Repairing plaster walls

For minor patching of plaster, I just use "hot mud" such as Durabond Easy Sand. This is a quick setting drywall compound that is easily sandable. It bonds well and does not schrink and crack. It does not need a bonding agent to feather it to the existing plaster. If down to the scratch coat, I like to slightly dampen the old scratch plaster before applying the DuraBond.

Fortunately, I had access to a talented plasterer for more elaborate patching. They are getting harder and harder to find in this day of drywall.

Re: Repairing plaster walls

Not to hijack the thread, but I've got similar questions about this and I appreciate the input. Also, after years of painting and painting and painting plaster, it turns into a very brittle slick surface that isn't at all pleasant. Has anyone had success in sanding it smooth, or is there no way to sand through paint without damaging the finish plaster?

Re: Repairing plaster walls

Check some of the Acrylic veneer plaster.
Like Variance and others these will go over existing painted surfaces.
So all that you would to do is reskim the existing surface.
Also check on Master of Plaster it will work and is very user friendly.
American Clay has some very good products that will work as a skim coat.

Re: Repairing plaster walls


It sounds like your complaint is not the plaster itself, but the texture imparted by years of less than great paint jobs? If you are trying to get back to a really smooth surface, you can run a sander lightly over the walls to knock down high spots and then skim coat drywall mud over the entire surface. Sand the mud with a sanding block with 120 grit sanding screen attached and then prime with a good acrylic primer.

Re: Repairing plaster walls

My recommendations for repairing PLASTER are based on the last 34 years of doing only Historical plaster and conventional stucco repairs and replacemant also to include historical brick mortar joint repointing.
Now as to proper materials used to repair OLD PLASTER only products that have the same coefficienty as gypsum plaster.
Other materials will work for repairs and will look very nice BUT will fail over an extended period of time.
Depending on the tempture and humidity as how long it will take to fail.
I have restored no less than 65 structures starting with the oldest dated one 1701 thru 1861 all of these buildings had orginial plaster in place which had been repaired with SHEET ROCK compounds all had failures where the drywall products were used FAILED.
I am not telling anyone not to use drywall or sheet rock products, you can use any number of products most look very good.
Also all products that fail over existing plaster keeps my profits very well in the upper 5 to 6 didgets.
Some epoxys to include Bondo seam to work very well but will cause failure at the edges were it;s applied.

Re: Repairing plaster walls
Clarence wrote:

historical brick mortar joint repointing.

Which product(s) do you use for historic brick repointing?

Re: Repairing plaster walls

You should try to match the orginial mortar as close as possible.
You could make your own with the following materials.
One part White Cement
One part Type S Lime
9 to 12 parts sand this will affect the hardness.
I like 10 to 12 parts sand.
This formular could produce about 1200 / 18oo PSI mortar.
The best results for you may to use a product manufactured by
A.W. Cook,Hoschton, GA.706-654-3877.
Name of product: Mason Work Historical Mortar.
This mortar is a type "O"
This mortar meets the ASTM C-207 requirement of 350 PSI.
Dan Cook started making this mixture for Me about 10 years ago.
I have also used it to repair Historical Stucco.

Re: Repairing plaster walls

Unfortunately, trademen of Clarences' talent are a rarity these days. Look in your local newspaper and you will only find a handfull of plasterers in a major urban area. Good luck finding one for a "nuisance" size job and on short order. Be prepared to pay a real premium for him! It is for this very reason that I learned to be a pretty good trim carpenter over the years - expediency!

When The Chicago Auditorium, a jewel that President McKinley dedicated in the 1880's, was renovated a few years ago, plasterers were brought over from Europe because too few tradesmen were available locally who knew the old techniques. Artists from the School Of the Art Institute were also enlisted.

I fortunately had a plasterer with whom I colaborated on projects which needed extensive plastering. However, on small projects with minor plaster repairs, for the sake of expediency, I chose to patch plaster using "hot mud" or sometimes patching plaster. I still maintain that it is adequate for most such projects. Should it need to be redone 10 or 15 years from now, so what! The average room is repainted more often than that. Further, I have had many repeat customers over literally 40 years. I obviously have had to stand behind my work, but fortunately have not had bad experiences with such patching.

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