Handy Harry; Your guide to DIY.
All too often, DIY plastering is something to disguise as best you can. But whatever decorative finish you choose when you are carrying out a project, plastered walls or ceilings must be made as good as possible.
Sometimes we use plaster and other fillers if we wish to repair unsound surfaces. Filling cracks and holes and smoothing over uneven or cracked plaster is essential for that professional looking finish you want.
Plaster is mucky stuff and one of the first jobs to do is to cover the floor around the work area with dust sheets.
Most of the time you do not need to be an expert plasterer unless you are faced with repairing large areas of loose plaster, in which case it is best to leave it to a professional.
You can buy easy-to-use fine fillers, but if you need to make good a thick coating you can use the traditional undercoat and top-coat plasters or a one-coat plaster.
Remember to let plaster and fillers dry out thoroughly before you begin to apply paint and wallcoverings.
If you have very small cracks and holes in walls and ceilings you can use special flexible emulsion and textured paints designed to cover hairline cracks.
Cracks can sometimes appear in the corner between walls or between the wall and ceiling. Fill these by running your finger dipped in filler along the crack. When the filler has hardened, rub it down with medium-grade abrasive paper.
If you live in an older house, you might find that a wall between two rooms is hollow. This type of partition wall is made with a timber framework covered with thin strips of wood known as laths which serve as a base for the plaster.
If the plaster has detached check to see if the laths are still intact. If they are, just fill any holes in the plaster with filler or fresh plaster. If some laths are broken, you need to reinforce the repair with a piece of fine expanded metal mesh. If you have holes in plaster-board use plasterer's patching tape when mending smaller holes.
Larger holes punched through a plaster-board wall or ceiling cannot be patched with wet plaster only. Using a sharp craft knife and a straight edge, cut back the damaged board to the nearest studs or joists at each side of the hole.
Cut a new panel of plasterboard to fit snugly within the hole and nail it to the joists or studs using galvanised plasterboard nails. Use a steel plasterer's trowel to spread finish plaster over the panel forcing it well into the edges. Allow the plaster to stiffen, then smooth it with a dry trowel.