How to Do a Quick Fix for Bad Plaster Walls

Written by kevin mcdermott
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If your plaster walls are cracked or missing entire sections of plaster, you may ultimately have to rip them out and install drywall. An easier -- although temporary -- fix is to simply patch it with more plaster. You can't fill the spaces all at once, because plaster shrinks as it dries. You would only end up with new cracks. Instead, you need to gradually layer in the plaster, embedded with one layer of drywall tape for added strength.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Small and large drywall knives
  • Joint compound
  • Drywall tape (paper style)
  • Drywall sanding pad
  • Paint
  • Paint roller

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  1. 1

    Use a small drywall knife to scrape away all the loose plaster from any area where there are cracks or holes. Take off as much of the plaster as you can scrape off easily. Don't pull down the lath that's behind the plaster.

  2. 2

    Spread joint compound into the crack or hold using your small drywall knife. Make the compound about 3/8 inch thick, so it covers the lath but doesn't build out to the level of the wall. There should still be an indentation at the damaged area.

  3. 3

    Press strips of drywall tape into the indentation, covering the surface of it. Rip the tape into shapes that prevent the edges of it from coming up out of the indentation.

  4. 4

    Let the tape-covered compound set for four hours. Spread on another layer of joint compound, adding another 3/8 inch.

  5. 5

    Let the compound set for another four hours. Top it with enough new compound to make it level with the surrounding wall.

  6. 6

    Let the final coat of compound set overnight. Sand it smooth with a drywall pad sander. Brush off the dust and paint over the area to match the rest of the wall.

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