Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Getting Plastered

With (almost) all of the wallpaper and glue gone from our foyer and upstairs hallway, our walls are now a barren landscape of plaster fault lines and craters.  The largest crack in the wall is especially problematic because the plaster has actually come loose from the wood lath behind it, so merely filling in the crack and painting over it just won't do (unless we want the crack to reappear before the paint has even dried).

Now according to this youtube video, this is an easy repair! All you have to do is purchase $140 worth of specialized supplies from Big Wally, and you too can become a Master of Plaster! Being that I am a Hollander and Lance is actually an authentic Dutchman, we were not about to fall for Big Wally's pricey gimmick, and set off to Menard's to buy our own supplies.  We were able to get a tube of liquid nails, a box of drywall screws, and some large plastic washers for under $10.  This was also an exciting opportunity for us to finally use the brand new drill we got on Black Friday.

The next morning, Lance was gone hunting, and I figured this was a prime opportunity to do some crack.  I mean repair some crack.  Whatever.  So, still in my pj's I assembled my supplies and got to work.  First I drilled holes in the wall on either side of the crack...except, I couldn't find any lath behind the plaster to drill into- the bit just went right through the plaster and into empty space (in hindsight, I'm guessing the lath was broken in places and not stable enough to drill into).

 I then loaded some Liquid Nails into the caulk gun and set out to fill in the holes.  Um....this part did not go so well at ALL.  The holes were not big enough  (even though I was using the bit size recommended for this project) and the tip of the tube did not fit into them, so I just ended up with a giant gooey mess all over the walls and myself (THIS is why wearing pj's for home improvement projects is not recommended).  So, on to Plan B.  I drilled the holes bigger and then used a plastic spatula meant for spackle to smear as much goop into the holes as possible.  So far so good!

My next step was to screw the drywall screws into the wall to hold everything together until the glue dried.  But of course if I couldn't drill into the lath, the screws weren't going to sink in to it, either.  All in all, I managed to find two places where I could get them to adhere properly.

When Lance came home, he remarked on how good the wall was looking and I gave a casual wave of the hand and just said "oh that?  yeah, it was no problem."  Meanwhile, I was just hoping against hope that in 48 hours when I took out the screws, it would all work out.......

Bright and early on New Year's Day, in our best "work" pj's, we set to work on the walls.  I held my breath as the screws came out, then breathed a sigh of relief when the plaster remained sturdy and unmoving.  "Yup, just like I planned it," I said confidently.  And after expertly applying some of our favorite patching compund, MH Ready Patch, and a light sanding, the San Andreas Fault is smooth and ready for primer and paint!

The bad news is that there are still hundreds of other little holes and spots that need to be filled before we can even think about busting out the primer.  *Sigh*


  1. Which liquid nails product did you use and did the repair hold?

  2. We used the Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive (in the blue and gold tube). It's now been over a year and it's holding firm- the crack has not reappeared and the wall has no give to it like it did before the repair. We did use Big Wally's plaster repair products later on for some very large holes in another wall (see the "Master of Plaster" post) and that was extremely easy to use and looks great, so I think that system would work really well for this kind of crack repair too, it's just more expensive.