Walls And Stairs
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Walls And Stairs

Plaster Walls

Once upon a time, in a land very far away, homes' interiors were framed by walls made of solid plaster, that heavy-as-lead (and about as much fun to handle) goop you slathered onto a lath with a trowel and manipulated with a float until you had a smooth finish. Installing a solid plaster wall requires skill, making it all but obsolete in newer construction.

Solid plaster often provides a superior sound barrier and is harder and stronger than what has all-but-replaced it, which is drywall. Drywall became the modern homebuilders' darling because it is manufactured in sheets that can be cut to size, is easy to install and requires less talent.

Drywall is then covered with plaster to create the interior cosmetic finish. Oftentimes the interior plaster is sprayed on and textured to hide some of the builders' inevitable flaws, such as uneven stud placement, inadequately countersunk nail heads and the like. Spray-on plaster can even be pre-mixed with paint to save considerable time and labor.

The superficial issues with your interior walls will involve repairing the plaster's holes, dents, filling in cracks and other blemishes. They will be the same fixes for both plaster-based walls as for plaster-covered drywall. The varying finishing elements depend on whether your walls have texture or are smooth.

Most maladies with plaster and drywall are fixable, even for the novice. And making these fixes can mean the difference between a home that looks like it's one step away from being an unfinished garage and one you'd find suitable to host dinner with the Queen Mother.

Fixing Plaster Issues
The most typical problems you'll find with plaster walls are dents, holes and cracks, which are usually easy to fix. Note that other problems include water stains and damp or soggy plaster, which indicate a leak inside the wall, or through a window if you have damp plaster windowsills (common in new homes with "cut out" windows with no formal sill installed).

If there is leakage, first correct the problem before repairing the wall(s) or the damage will recur.

If your job involves standard blemishes such as cracks and holes, you can make it look as good as new (or at least very close) in a few simple steps. First consult our plaster wall repair tool guide to establish which items you will need for the job.