Plaster Repair: How To Get Rid Of Those Ugly Textured Walls Or Ceilings

Plaster Repair can make all the difference!

It happens all the time!

You find that house that beckons to you. Maybe it IS a little older, butthe basic style suits you just fine. It's laid out nicely, with adequateroom size, and some great features. The price isn't bad. And you reallylike the neighborhood.

But there's just one problem. Those walls and ceilings ... well, theyleave something to be desired. As a matter of fact, they are downright ...ugly! The textures are awful.

What can be done? And, is it worth the cost of doing them over? Anotherway to look at it, is it worth the "cost" of leaving the texture as is? Consider plaster repair as a way of covering those ugly walls.

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Whether you are living now with just such a problem, or you have a certainhouse in mind for possible purchase, I would like to offer some ideas.

You can always bring in a professional who can evaluate your situation andsuggest remedies.

Or, you can decide to fix them yourself.

The latter choice is certainly do-able, if you are willing to follow someguidelines and put in the effort. In my years of work as a plaster anddrywall repair and renovation specialist, I have helped many clients tacklesuch projects successfully.

Here are some basic considerations.

If the house in question has interior plaster surfaces, you have todetermine what problems, if any (besides textures), may exist.

Do you have holes? Cracks? Sagging ceilings? Water-damage anywhere?

You don't even want to do much of anything else until you first deal withthese. One exception is if you have "popcorn" ceiling texture. This youwill need to scrape off first, before you can evaluate the state of theplaster or drywall underneath and effect plaster repair.

Many times, I encounter popcorn texture where a previous owner had itsprayed over an old ceiling to cover up defects like cracks or oldtexture.

Because of the problems that often develop with popcorn (acoustic spray)ceilings, most people after a while are glad to get rid of it. Some justchoose to spray paint it and leave it. It's your choice.

Once you have repaired cracks, holes, etc. (more on that later), you cannow approach your unattractive texture situation.

In my experience, the simplest solution to ugly texture is to bury it.

This I find is a very satifying solution for plaster repair. I'm talking about SKIMCOATING the old surface with enough new material to completely hide theproblem texture.

This is something you can do. Here is how I would suggest you go aboutit.

You will be using regular drywall joint compound, theall-purpose/multipurpose variety. You know, that lovely stuff that drywallfinishers use to tape and cover drywall seams. Because it contains glue,drywall mud will stick to clean, tight, dust-free painted surfaces.

For tools, I prefer a plasterer's hawk (mortarboard) and plaster trowel,five-inch blade. This I was trained on, but you can also use a mud pan andeight or ten inch broadknife. You will also need a four or five inchtaping knife to use in loading your pan or hawk.

I would use the mud straight out of the container as is. For our purposes,thinning is probably unnecessary for plaster repair. Work out of a five gallon bucket. Evenif you buy your material in the plastic lined cardboard boxes, dump the mudinto a clean bucket and work from that. You'll have lots less problemswith dried mud chips falling into your working material.

Try to keep the sides of your bucket clean, and keep it covered as much aspossible.

Okay, here's the plaster repair technique.

After applying blue painters masking tapewhere necessary, load your hawk or pan and start at the top of the wallnext to the ceiling. You will be working across and down, usinghorizontal strokes only. Work in two or three foot long stripes,side by side without lateral breaks.

You will use horizontal strokes for the whole first coat. As you drag yourloaded tool across the old texture, you will find that the tool jiggles. This creates ripples in the mud you are applying. Yes, it looks awful, butthat's okay. The ripples are part of this plaster repair technique.

When you have the whole wall covered, it will look like a mess. It'salright, just try to get the mud to be approximately the same thicknesseverywhere. Let dry 12 to 24 hours, depending on heat and humidity.

Now, for the second coat. What you are doing now is filling in the ripplesusing vertical strokes. Again, start at the top, in the corner andwork your way across and down. Any big "goobers" or thick chunks from thefirst coat can be knifed off by holding your blade flat as you encounterthem. (Just keep the chips out of your wet mud.)

When your second coat is completely dry, repeat exactly, with verticalstrokes. When that is dry, go back and fill in any areas that seem to needit. Your last step is to sand everything with medium sanding grit, eitherpaper folded around a wood block or those little sponge sanding blocks workreal well.

Dried drywall compound is fairly soft, so go easy on the sanding. Applyjust enough pressure to remove the lines, etc. Divots are better filledthan sanded out, which may just create a bigger low spot.

If your plan is to apply wallpaper, put on two good coats of drywall PVAprimer. If you are going to put on new texture(maybe a Southwesternlook?), you can do that right over the raw material (depending on whattexture you are doing), or put on the texture after a coat of PVA.

If your initial inspection of the plaster or drywall reveals problem areasrequiring plaster repair before skim coating, check out my website at Plaster Wall-Ceiling Solutions. Look at the navigation buttons like HOLES, CRACKS, SAGGED CEILINGS for how to repair information.

This article was contributed by Edwin Brown. If you would like to learn other interesting and educational facts about plaster repair for your walls and ceilings, then please visit his website at: Plaster Wall/Ceiling Solutions

Good luck and have fun!

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