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Do It Yourself or Not: Repair damaged plaster

Gene and Katie Hamilton, Tribune Content Agency on

Plaster walls and ceilings are found in many older homes; and all too often, they’re marred with holes and cracks. Over time a plaster ceiling often sags, another problem. To repair damaged plaster walls with a hodgepodge of cracks or a ceiling that sags we’ve used a specific process.

First, secure the loose plaster to the lath behind it using plaster washers, small metal discs fastened with 4-inch drywall screws. Often called ceiling buttons, these quarter-sized discs are very inexpensive and sold at specialty hardware stores and online. Just type “plaster washers'' in a search engine, and you’ll find several online sources where you can order them. We’ve found them sold in large quantities at the big boxes for contractors; an online source is better for a homeowner who needs far less of them.

After the repair and the loose plaster is secure, it’s a cover up job. Install 3/8-inch wallboard over the repair work and finish the new surface with tape and compound, and then sand it smooth. The series of steps to completion make this a good one for a homeowner who can work in short sprints. It’s not a dream job for a contractor, who has to schedule several return trips.

To complete the job for a ceiling in a 15-foot-by-20-foot room, a drywall contractor will charge $845, which includes the labor and material. A homeowner can do the job for $125, the cost of the repair material and wallboard, and pocket an 85% savings. This is a good job for a budding do-it-yourselfer because the tools and material are low in cost and the repetitive skill is learned on the job.

Pro Cost: $845 — DIY Cost: $125
Pro time: 19.8 — DIY Time: 25.0
DIY Savings: 720 — Percent Saved: 85%



To find more DIY project costs and to post comments and questions, visit www.diyornot.com and m.diyornot.com on smartphones.

©2022 Gene and Katie Hamilton. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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