How to Repair Cracked Plaster Ceiling
LESLIE: Hi, Roger from Pennsylvania. You’ve got Tom and Leslie from The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
ROGER: I was wondering – I live in a house. It was built in 1958. It was a model home. I have a crack in the ceiling and it’s hard plaster. I was wondering if there’s an epoxy or something I could shoot up in under that and push it up in before it falls down.
TOM: So, is the plaster separating from the plaster lath, which is between that and the framing?
ROGER: Yeah, just a little, wee bit. You can see the crack and you can see where it’s coming down just a little bit.
TOM: Just a little bit? Because, typically, Roger, what I would tell you to do in a situation like that is to not reglue the plaster but simply pull it down all the way and then replaster the ceiling, then prime it and paint it.
You know, you could possibly squeeze something like LIQUID NAILS in there but then you’d have to support it while it was drying. But then it’s just going to break somewhere else. So if you’ve got an area of loose plaster like that, I would just tell you to just gently break it out of there and then simply respackle that, sand it nicely, then prime it and paint the whole surface. I think it’s a much more permanent and cleaner repair in the long run.
ROGER: That’s what I was wondering. I can do drywall but I never did hard plaster.
TOM: Yeah, it’s not that hard to do. If you can handle spackle, you can handle plaster spackeling. Remember, a little bit goes a long way. You’re better off putting it on in thin coats, then putting successive coats on top of that.
And by the way, a house built in 1958, that was a very good year for home construction. You’ve probably got excellent Douglas-pine framing in that home. You probably have hardwood floors, copper pipes. That was a great year for construction. If you’ve got plaster-lath walls and ceilings, you know – already know they’re very hard and very durable. Yeah, they crack once in a while but you can feel good about the structure of that home.
ROGER: Yeah. Yeah, we do have hardwood floors. We’re actually redoing them a little bit at a time and it is all copper.
TOM: Yeah, the nice thing about those houses that were built in the late 50s and early 60s is people put in these beautiful hardwood floors and they promptly covered them with wall-to-wall carpet. So for the next 20 or 30 years, they were protected from any wear and tear.
ROGER: Yeah, that’s what happened in here. We’re tearing up room by room.
TOM: Alright, Roger. Well, good luck with that project. It sounds like a great house.
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