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How to Repair a Plaster Ceiling

Sheetal Mandora Apr 14, 2019
Repairing small cracks and holes in the ceiling is a simple enough task, but if you know what and how it is done. Read this to find step-by-step instructions on making the ceiling look smooth and smart again.

Perform Ceiling Repair Yourself

Calling for help in fixing plaster ceiling can take a lot of time. First, call the right guy for the job, then wait for the person to come over to your house (which can be anytime during the day), take time to get the job done. Instead of going through all of this hassle, why not get to the root cause yourself and finish the repair over the weekend.

Filling Tiny Holes

  • You will require a spackling compound (found in small cans at local hardware stores) to fill the tiny holes in the ceiling. Get a putty knife, and apply the compound for touch ups. Leave it to dry for some time.
  • You might (or maybe not) notice that the first coat you just applied has dried and has left an indent in the ceiling. To cover it up, you will have to apply another coat of the spackling compound.
  • Use a sandpaper to smooth the area. For final touch ups, use the primer and paint the patches of ceiling with the original color.

Repairing Loose Plaster

  • First of all, you will have to take out any and all loose lumps of plaster that is coming off. You will rejoin the bigger parts of the plaster with some screws and plaster washers.
  • Use a drill to place screws about a couple of inches from each other. Or else, in a concentric form, put in the washers from the firm base till the loose ends. Work your way inward, and cover the entire area with some joint compound.
  • Put screws on both sides of the visible cracks, leaving six inches of space between each screw. Take the drill, use the ⅛" masonry bit to insert some pilot holes. As a final touch up, use the joint compound to cover the entire area.

Filling Holes and Tiny Areas without Plaster

  • Take a "setting type" joint compound and mix it with water following the instructions. This compound will get filled in holes with a spackle knife. While the compound is wet, form crisscross designs with the knife. Once the compound is dry, apply the leveling coat over it.
  • If you have a bigger area (larger than a hole), measure the area and with a utility knife, cut the section out of the ceiling. You will screw the cut section to the lath (a narrow thin strip of wood), and apply the joint compound.
  • The compound coat will be applied twice or thrice. Each of the coat will take an inch of area more than the first one. Let each coat dry off completely before you apply the rest.
  • Use a sandpaper to smooth out the area where you applied the compound.

Repairing Hairline Cracks

  • Wherever you see the cracks, apply a fine coat of the joint compound over it.
  • Quickly plant the paper drywall-reinforcing tape inside the joint compound. Smooth the area with the help of a spackle knife before the compound dries off.
While using the setting compound, make sure you work quickly around the area. The compound has the tendency to dry pretty fast and turn hard. Take appropriate quantity for the mix as well, so you don't end up wasting the compound. Use hand gloves and goggles at all times, and make sure there is enough ventilation in the house.