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DIY how to repair plaster wall

An Easy Home DIY Job for the holidays!

DIY how to repair plaster wallA common problem that people face when undertaking a home DIY project is repairing holes in plaster walls. Sometimes when buying a second-had house, there is pre-existing damage that you need to repair. This is often left by careless tenants or caused by the frequent moving of furniture.

Regardless of the age of your home, before any renovation or simple repaint job, you will inevitably find cracks or holes in walls and ceilings.  Sometimes these are caused by the house shifting slightly over time, or a bad-tempered husband, but usually it is just general wear and tear that is the culprit.  Holes from removing picture-hanging screws, gaps and cracks between cornice and walls, and of course – accidental damage are perhaps the most common causes of plaster damage.

It is often said that the preparation for a repaint will take twice as long as the painting but it is so important to start with clean, dust and hole-free, dry surface.  Anything less will result in a second-rate finish. For more helpful tips and articles, visit

Selecting / Identifying the lining material

You may not know which type of wall you are repairing until you get into the job, but the most common are:

  1. Laden plaster
  2. Rendered Brick
  3. Plasterboard
  4. Fibrous Plaster

All of these can be repaired or patched using a cornice adhesive, a multi purpose compound, or a combination of the two.

Things you will need to make the repair

  • A multi purpose compound
  • Cornice cement
  • A roll of fibre glass tape
  • 150 grit sandpaper
  • Mixing Pot
  • Plastic or metal joint knives (100 mm and 200 mm)
  • Stanley Knife
  • Sanding Block

If you are a keen handyman / handywoman, you will probably have a lot of these items in your shed or man-drawer.

Options 1 and 2: Cracked Plaster either laden plaster or rendered brick


Using a sharp tool remove any loose, flaky plaster and paint. Then take a damp cloth or sponge and remove any dust but do not soak the area.   For any gaps greater than 3 mm, pre-fill them with a good quality cornice cement. Apply the fiberglass tape over cracks.  Should the tape not adhere to the surface, apply a thin layer of multi-purpose compound in which the tape can embed, but be sure to wipe off any excess compound.  can be applied first and the tape can be then bedded in. Wipe off any excess compound.

The Process:

Using a 100 mm joint knife, apply a thin layer of the multi-purpose compound over the joints; remove any excess and allow for a  24 hour drying period.  Lightly sand the first coat and, using your 200 mm joint knife, apply a second coat of the multi-purpose compound to approximately 300mm wide. Again, remove any excess and allow 24 hours for drying.

For the final coat, repeat the last step, this time spreading the compound to 400 mm wide, feathering the edges with a soft sponge.  Leave a further 24 hours to dry. Lightly sand the repaired surface taking care not to damage the surface of the surrounding area.

Options 3 and 4: Cracked Plasterboard and Fibrous Plaster

The procedure for this type of surface follows the same procedure with one important difference:   If the plaster is loose, use 30 mm plaster nails  at 200 mm spacings to re-fix it back to the frame.

Once your home DIY plaster repair is completed, follow the paint manufacturers instructions on how to get the best result from your painting project. Visit Building Inspection, Perth

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