Repairing Plaster Is A DIY Job

One of the most common problems that most people undertaking a home diy project will encounter is repairing holes in plaster.

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 more often it is just general wear and tear that is the culprit. Holes from removing picture screws, gaps between cornice and walls, and accidental damage are perhaps the most common problems that need attention.

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.

Which type of lining?

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

Laden plaster

Rendered Brick


Fibrous Plaster

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

What you will need

A multi purpose compound

Cornice cement

A roll of fibreglass tape

150 grit sandpaper

Mixing Pot

Plastic or metal joint knives (100 mm and 200 mm)

Stanley Knife

Sanding Block

Many of these items will already be in the tool kit of the home diy enthusiast.

Option 1: Cracked Plaster – either laden plaster or rendered brick


Using a sharp tool remove any flaky or loose plaster and paint., then using a damp cloth or sponge remove any dust – but do not soak the area. For any gaps greater than 3 mm, prefill them with a good quality cornice cement. Apply the fibreglass tape over cracks. Should the tape not adhere to the surface, apply a thin layer of multi purpose compound in which the tape can imbed, 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 Fix:

Using your 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 and this home diy project is nearly completed. Lightly sand the repaired surface taking care not to damage the surface of the surrounding area.

Option 2: Cracked Plaster – 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 manufacturer’s instructions on how to get the best result from your painting project.

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