Plaster walls are a common feature of many houses, particularly older buildings. When plaster starts to crack, there are usually two main options: to strip off the plaster and start again, or to patch up the offending hole. Obvious the latter is significantly easier and more cost effective, although it requires a certain degree of skill and know-how to pull off successfully. In this article we will look at what to consider when patching plaster walls, and the best and most effective techniques and methods for doing so without the need for professional help.
Considering Your Walls
Before patching plaster walls, it is important to consider your walls individually. Are the walls structural, or internal? To what extent is the damage affecting your wall? Is it merely aesthetic? These considerations will very much have a bearing on your options for repair.
You must be sure of the exact nature of the damage to your walls before beginning. A vital consideration is the age of your building. If it was built fifty years or more ago, you could be dealing with some potentially harmful substances, such as lead and asbestos. It is important before you start to make sure these substances aren’t present, and if they are, that they are disposed of in the correct, safe manner. These substances have bee shown to have a direct impact on a number of very serious conditions, and so should be treated as an issue of the utmost importance.
After you have considered this factor, and looked at the nature of your walls and the apparent damage, it is time to consider another element: is patching going to be effective? Patching plaster walls may only be highly effective in areas of isolated damage, and it may be an idea to consult a professional for advice if there are extensive problems with your plasterwork.
Methods of Patching
Prior to any plastering work, you must make sure your walls are spotlessly clean. This will allow for the effective application of the plaster and will prevent other complications which could otherwise arise. Any loose parts should be peeled off as far as they will easily allow to ensure you will be getting to the full extent of the problem.
A good tip is to wet the wall with water before applying the plaster, as this will help with adhesion. Firstly, mix your patching plaster, and apply as necessary to any holes or cracks, taking care not to fill fully. Leave room for a finishing mixture, which will ensure a slicker finish. Use a damp sponge or towel to remove any excess whilst the plaster is still wet.
After the plaster has dried, tackle any remaining undulations with relatively smooth sand paper. This should work the material down until it sits perfectly within the wall, leaving a smooth, professional end result. When patching plaster walls, it is always important to ensure a smooth finish as anything else will stand out against the rest of your wall. For this reason it is important to practice, and take your time, whilst making use of all your available tools.
Although tricky in nature, patching plaster walls on your own can also be therapeutic and highly rewarding, not to mention a great way to save money, without the need for a professional!