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How to Repair Plaster Walls – This Old House





This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows a newer, faster way to fix cracked, loose plaster walls. (See below for a shopping list and tools.)

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Full episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC8SA2ZNG48&index=3&list=PLkJADc1qDrr_xoUV70ylQstbsgu8-nUta

How to Create an Interior Door Opening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_tX79jtcaQ

How to Waterproof a Basement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Q6go57ySqs

How to Install Wall-to-Wall Carpeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2rImkgys6w

Watch the How-To Videos playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkJADc1qDrr_0NxtmzECiOWkr5de82kXV

Shopping List for How to Repair Plaster Walls:
– plastic drop cloth, used for protecting wall and floor
– painter’s tape, used to hold drop cloth in place
– plaster repair rings with 1 5/8-inch drywall screws
– spray conditioner, used to treat plaster holes prior to applying adhesive
– plaster adhesive, used to adhere loose plaster to lath inside walls 6. Sponge, for wiping up excess conditioner
– joint compound, used to cover cracks and holes in wall
– 120-grit sandpaper, used to smooth dried joint compound
– primer and paint

Tools for How to Repair Plaster Walls:
– drill/driver, used to drill holes, and drive and remove screws
– 3/16-inch masonry drill bit, for boring holes through plaster
– wet/dry vacuum
– caulking gun, used to apply plaster adhesive
– 6-inch putty knife, used to apply joint compound
– drywall hawk, for holding joint compound
– utility knife, used to trim adhesive nozzle
– paint roller and tray

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36 thoughts on “How to Repair Plaster Walls – This Old House”

  1. Steve Thomas says:

    I bought a house thatโ€™s 100 years old.
    Will this be a temporary fix doing this to fix the plaster walls?
    Or with the winter months with the cold air from outside
    which is below zero will this be an ongoing repair issue?

  2. Joe Frugoli says:

    Tear it off and replaster it . Call a real plasterer. I have to eat too.
    Contrary to popular belief it not a dead trade.

  3. tkjazzer says:

    Can someone link a really good video on ripping out plaster, making traditional lime plaster, installing wooden lathes, and how to plaster?

  4. Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, why spend so much time trying to preserve failed plaster. For a sound repair: remove all unsound plaster, repair lath and/or supplement with expanded metal lath, then bond edges and re-plaster with gypsum plaster in a 3-coat application: scratch, brown, and finish coats. Using gypsum as an accelerant the whole patch can be done to a perfect finish in one day.

  5. Lisa says:

    Interesting. But I wonder about plasterboard with plaster over it? I have a nasty crack

  6. I Would of Just Ripped that wall down and installed a new plaster wall..

  7. Albert Rent says:

    Just mesh tape over crack and float over done

  8. Darren Deane says:

    I dont get it? Why not break it out to the wood laths and replaster over. Even this old house people have become pot head idiots

  9. Joe A says:

    what is the adhesive, Tom?

  10. nyc nyc says:

    This is ridiculous.Just clean out all the mess up plaster.Then use strucolight to fill up the holes.Their is more to the story.Google the rest.Try to Google plastering YouTube in the UK.US guys are clueless.
    I live in old house in Brooklyn and do it the old fashioned way.Also joint compound will come off in time.

  11. The 'Big Wally" method or "How to turn a 2-hour job into a 2-day job"ย 

    Good method for a homeowner, but for the professional plasterer, waiting 24 hours for the adhesive to dry kills productivity. Again, waiting overnight till joint compound dries! Thats two days & two trips for the pro. Also, not fond of joint compound as a repair material. 6" knife"? Much better to use a 10" knife.

  12. Kai Waters says:

    so an entire section of plaster in my house has fallen off should i just remove it all and replace it with drywall the wood has started to rot also

  13. Thanks Tom and TOH…great video!

    Question: is it ok to use drywall compound on old plaster/lath walls? I have a 200 year old home and want to ensure I do the job right. Thanks very much!

  14. Kevin Hower says:

    That man has the stone cold hands of a laborer.

  15. David Gereg says:

    What product is this?

  16. EvendimataE says:

    dont hit your fingering finger with a hammer

  17. This old house should bring in Kirk Geordano from the Bay Area for plaster and exterior stucco the guys a magician and already had made thousands of plaster/stucco videos

  18. SERIOUSLY; you guys are nuts, this does not work / I have tried this and the only thing I have is a freaking mess which I must now fix with mud, lots of mud in with hopes of fixing this mess / do not believe these guys…

  19. cop boy says:

    2:45: oh hello there ๐Ÿ˜‚

  20. ohh wow. We just bought a home that has lath/plaster walls with several cracks in the walls. This is helpful. ty

  21. Oscar Muffin says:

    Would have been easier to tear it off and re-plaster.

  22. Mustakrakish says:

    So many lazy people on here that are looking for an easy button. If you can't be bothered to maintain your home, then rent someone elses.

  23. jeeze these guys make a big deal outa everything

  24. End User says:

    Much cheaper way to do it using same process but less costly materials: google starcraft custom builders how to fix loose plaster

  25. jake sarms says:

    I wish this project was done without the expensive products.

  26. So many sexual innuendos, so little time.

  27. Old Timer says:

    I make it easy just cut out all damaged areas prep area using bonding agent adhesive wait bout 15 minutes till tacky then apply fresh batch of wall plaster works n looks great…

  28. bluesky says:

    hours and thousands of dollars later… Anyone taking notes on this?

  29. bill1957111 says:

    Why didn't he tape the cracks?

  30. Kajan Nathan says:

    Why not skimcoat it

  31. Josh Snyder says:

    What kind of joint compound would you use- just regular drywall mud? I've been told that stuff wont bond well without conditioning the whole plaster surface first. Also, would you need to tape the cracks prior to finishing? Anybody have professional experience with these techniques? FYI, I wouldn't use Liquid Nails construction adhesive as a replacement glue; it dries exceptionally hard and you really want a flexible adhesive that will allow the system to move seasonally. So a good substitute would be one that dries flexible, adheres to plaster, and is thin enough to squeeze through cracks and holes. Again, any pro recommendations?

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