Older homes are great for their charm and classic architecture. Wood floors, decorative moldings, and curved doorways are just some of the features that many older homes adorn. This type of architecture is considered an extra in today’s building industry and is no longer considered normal practice. While the charm of modern homes typically is significantly less, the amount of space and modern conveniences are what many people pay for in a newer home. one such convenience is drywall versus lath and plaster walls and ceilings. The old plaster eventually cracks is multiple hairline fashion and is thought to be very difficult to correct. While it is time consuming, fixing most plaster cracks are very simple.
Fixing Small Plaster Cracks
Fixing small plaster cracks requires a ladder, a clean cloth, and a mop bucket with warm water… and painter’s caulk. Make sure that your hands are clean and put a small dab of caulk on the tip of your finger. Apply the caulk to the crack running your finger along the length of the crack. When you are done with that, dip your finger in the warm water and clean it off with your rag. Then go back over the crack wiping your finger back and forth across the crack all the way along it. This will work the caulk into the crack and also show any spots that have not been properly covered. If need be, go over any visible holes in the cracks again. Continue this process. This will take a lot of time and generally is not something that you do for hours at a time because it is extremely monotonous work.
Fixing Large Plaster Cracks
Large plaster cracks are defined as anything that you can slide a credit card into. One thing that you should test if you have significant amounts of these types of cracks in a wall or ceiling is to see if the plaster is spongy. Push against the surface of the plaster. If it flexes, you cannot repair it and it will have to come down or you will have to go over it with drywall. If it stays put, take a one inch putty knife and apply lightweight joint compound along the length of the crack. This will take about 2-8 hours to dry depending on the humidity. Once this is dry, take a 4 inch drywall knife and run it along the length of the area you applied the joint compound. This takes off the rough edges. Give the area a quick sand with some drywall sandpaper to smooth the area completely. To keep the dust down, it helps to apply water to the patched area with a wet rag. if the spot looks like it needs some more joint compound, apply more, this time, with the 4 inch drywall knife. Wait for it to dry and sand the area. It should now be smooth enough to texture and paint.
Older homes do take some maintenance to upkeep. This upkeep, is worth the extra time if you like the extra charm for a more modest price.