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Nov
01

Fixing Lath and Plaster – Applying the Joint Compound

Lath and Plaster

It’s been a while since I originally posted talking about what is needed to complete a lath and plaster repair.  There is so much one can learn by doing this and you will find that the more you do of this you will become more relaxed and significantly better at it.

Understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day – which you will need to take your time and not try to rush this work and let the plaster set properly before piling more plaster on top. So let’s just assume that you have already cleaned and chipped away all the cracked plaster from the wall, now you will need to fill in the crack.

Mixing the joint compound for the initial layer is really something that you will find your own pace and style in doing, I myself found that mixing it in a plastic pail, using a drill and a power mixer to mix it quick and easily to the consistency of peanut butter (not crunchy) and smooth and silky consistency. You can get sealer for the existing plaster or simply moisten the existing plaster with a spray bottle and water.

Placing the mixture on the Hawk (or the upside down trowel) then using a smaller taping knife place the joint compound within the crack going in the same direction as to make sure that you have the cracks filled without being lumpy or uneven.

Lath and Plaster repair

Filling in a huge crack in the plaster

Remember that the more you put onto the wall, the more you have to sand off, so learning that “less is more” can make the job a lot easier and significantly less dusty.

While the joint compound is still moist I normally apply the joint tape over the crack to help build strength and stability to the new compound and then basically you are trying to get joint tape to lie over the new compound bridging the existing plaster and the new stuff. You have to learn to walk away and let it set (this is hard for those who want to rush). I would normally go back once dry and a apply an incredibly thin layer compound over the tape to insure that its covered and then can be easily sanded without worrying about the joint tape being frayed and mess up your smooth texture.

So – now you will go through sanding and applying, then applying again until you have the proper even levels between the repair work and the original wall.

Matching lath and plaster to a textured wall – this is a little harder and hopefully you will have the ability to match the texture (be it from spray can or from mix to apply to the paint). However once you have a good match try to feather out the new texture to match the surrounding area of the wall, this truly is the hardest part of the project for me.

Remember to prime the applied area and then paint once its dry.
Good luck folks

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