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Quick, Cheap, and Effective Plaster Repair

This Old House general contractor Tom Silva demonstrates a great product for plaster repair

Fixing loose or cracked plaster is quicker, easier, and cheaper than ripping out the old plaster and hanging new drywall or blueboard. There are all sorts of ways to repair plaster, and I've tried all of them.

Big Wally's Plaster Magic might seem like a lot of work at first—with all the holes you have to drill and fill—but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty quick. And the stuff really works.

The first thing to do is drill a series of holes into, but not through, the lath on either side of the crack, then vacuum out the dust. Spray Wally's liquid conditioner into each hole, then inject adhesive into each hole—one full caulk-gun squeeze. Screw a plaster button into as many holes as necessary to pull the plaster tight against the lath. After the adhesive dries, unscrew the buttons and skim over with drywall compound.

A kit that includes everything you need to repair 160 square feet of loose plaster costs $235. Compared to how much would it cost you to remove that much plaster, haul it away, then hang and tape the wall or ceiling, that's a bargain.


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