Hole or Crack in Plaster

Problem: A hole or crack in plaster walls or ceiling needs repair.

Background: Two types of patching compounds are available: 1) spackling compound which is convenient for small jobs and can be bought as powder or ready mixed, and 2) patching plaster which can be bought in larger packages and needs to be mixed with water. For repairing holes or cracks in the wallboard.

What to do: Both small cracks and holes can be filled with patching mixture; large holes may need to be filled step-by-step. First remove any loose plaster. Then use a knife to scrape out the plaster from the back of the crack so that the back is wider than the front surface. Thoroughly dampen the surface of the crack with a wet cloth or paint brush, mix up a small amount of patching com pound and fill in the crack with it. Smoothen the surface with a putty knife and sand the patch area after it has dried.
For larger holes or cracks, fill the hole partially and allow it to dry as a base for a final fill. Then add a second batch of compound. Let dry and sand until smooth. For large holes, you may need to fill in the area be hind the crack with wadded news paper. Begin patching by working inward from all sides. Let dry, then apply another layer around the new edge. Repeat until the hole is filled. Allow to dry and sand smooth.

Special advice: If the surface be yond the repair is textured, you can attempt to match the surface of the patch while the plaster is still wet. A sponge, comb, or other device can be used to accomplish the texturing.

Helpful hint: To sand repaired areas, it can be helpful to wrap sandpaper around a small length of wood. This will help keep the surface even. To check for ridges, hold a trouble-light or lamp next to the wall on one side or the other.