How to Repair Plaster: Cracks and Chips

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How to Repair Plaster: Cracks and Chips

Staff Writer · Sep 1, 2010

Are you wondering how to repair plaster? Chips and cracks in plaster can be significant eyesores, but they are not difficult to repair.  The one difficulty is that you will need to either match the paint that already exists or repaint everything with a new color. But, for the actual repair, you will only need some spackling compound, a putty knife and some various sand papers.

Step 1: Think Ahead

Think about the paint first because you will probably not be happy if you have to leave your repairs unpainted for too long. Perhaps your apartment is due for a new color. If not, go to any place where they sell paint, pick up some swatches and try to find the one that best matches the paint in your house. Note that swatches are not always completely accurate, so it may also be a good idea to test the new paint on an inconspicuous area to be sure. If you have the patience, glance at it throughout the day since the light will be changing so that you can determine if the finish matches. Once you are satisfied, go get your supplies.

Step 2: Prepare the Area

First, you will want to remove any loose pieces of plaster that are expected to fall off soon. If you have big chunks that are loose, keep them close and note where they go. Now, sand down the area that you are going to repair with some course sand paper. Wipe off all the dust with a dry cloth. If the area is still holding a lot of dirt, then try a wet cloth, but be sure to wait until it is dry before continuing.

Step 3: Spackle

Use your putty knife to scoop out some spackling. Rub it over any cracks and fill it into any minor chips. Without preventing yourself from getting it smooth, feel free to apply what appears to be too much spackle since you will be sanding it down later. As for the large chunks that you were saving, apply some spackle to the gaps from which the chunks came. Now firmly press those chunks back into place. Do not worry about the cracks that are still there (we’ll come back to them). Read the label on your spackle and find out how long it takes to dry.  Allow it to do so.

Step 4: Finish

Come back to your repairs once it is all dry. Use some fine sand paper to sand down the cracks and chips so that the filling is smooth with the rest of the wall. You may need to go over some of them again, but be sure to wipe away the dust first. Return to the big chunks and fill the cracks that remain. Once again, allow the new spackle to dry. Repeat this as many times as needed.

When you have finished sanding your spackle for the last time, wipe away the dust and apply your paint. The eyesore has now disappeared and the plaster is as good as new.

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