08:06AM | 01/12/99
On the outer walls of out 1940 Cape Code, we are having cracks on the walls and in the corners. These cracks only appear during the winter time. Would anybody know what is causing this and how I can repair these cracks so they dont keep appearing every winter.

Thomas M

01:10AM | 01/13/99
Hi kuiperp

Cracks are usually from movement of house structure like settling,although since this is a constant problem,I'd recommend you have a professional come out and take a look..To repair cracks in plaster that's the easy part...take the tip of a can opener and scrape along the edges of the crack to remove unsound plaster,then patch it w/ a vinyl spackling compound...keep layering and sanding till it matches the surface.


09:22AM | 01/20/99
If you are going to patch a crack in your plaster don't use spackling compound.

Use A product called EasySand90.

Also, before you apply the plaster you need to either wet it (the crack) or use a PVA glue in it. PVA is the best way to go though.

Brian Ewing
Ornamental Plaster Resources


03:21PM | 01/20/99
This is a common problem with older uninsulated homes with plaster walls. It is usually caused by the drastic change in temperature of the exterior and interior on the wood framing. You can even see the outline on the wall and ceiling on homes that have not been painted for a number of years. This is yet another advantage of drywall over plaster. Should you worry? It would not be a bad idea to check the framing members where visible for any sign of lifting or splitting. Will it occur again? Yes, if the house is not properly insulated and all exterior openings closed. If you are properly insulated, then Tom's theory probably holds true.


01:19PM | 01/24/99
"Yet another advantage of drywall over plaster"?

Please. Explain to me and everyone else who will read your post what advantages there are?

I would sure like to hear them.

Drywall would fail under these circumstances much faster then plaster would. And be in much worse shape.

To fix your cracks in your home, kuiperp, read the following:


Forum: Plaster Restoration and Drywall Forum
Description: Discussions on the repair and restoration of flat and ornamental plaster. The installation and repair of drywall.


MESSAGE: How to patch cracks in plaster
Posted By: - Brian Ewing
Date: Wednesday, 25 February 1998, at 10:50 p.m.

Before you start to patch any cracks in your house follow these instructions (I hope I
don't leave anything out).

For small cracks obviously
nothing like major movement of the walls, start at step 2a. For cracks that are deeper and
wider follow step 1a.

1a: Using a
screw driver, or other strong pointed tool, carve a slot on both sides of the crack, its
full length. This slot should be about two or three inches from the crack on both sides.
Its purpose is to isolate the crack from the surrounding wall.
1b: Remove all the
plaster between the two slots. You need to go down to the lath. If you have old wooden
lath this should be easy. For metal lath you most definitely will want to use a masons
hammer. Just be sure you don't rip the original lath. Don't hit too hard, you can still
spall the base coats of the surrounding wall from its lath.
1c: Brush out the
area that you removed and get out any remaining dust, pebbles and what not. Also, for
original metal lath, remove most of the plaster remaining in the little holes.
1d: If your lath
is of the wooden variety. Install, using screws, a strip of "diamond mesh" metal
lath going the full length of the opening. If you have to use more than one piece of lath
be sure to over lap the pieces by at least two inches. Make sure that the lath is tight by
pulling one end of the lath as you screw it to the wall. If your original lath is metal,
you will need buy a spool of 19 gauge galvanized wire. Cut the wire into lengths of about
five or six inches. Bend the wire about one or two inches from one end. Take the bent end
and insert it through the new wire and through the original lath. Pull the short end back
out the lath a few holes away and twist the wire with a pair of pliers until it is good
and tight.
1e: Paint a
Poly-vinyl-Acetate bonder over the edges of the opening. P.V.A. works great at keeping the
old wall from ****ing the water out of the wet patching material and at the same time
creating a good bond.
1f: Buy a bag of
"perlited - Structo Lite" (U.S.G.), some people would say that you should use
"Red Top" plaster that mixes with sand, but I am not writing a book here. Mix
the base coat as per the directions on the bag and trowel it into the opening about 1/4 to
half way to the face of the surrounding wall. Cross rake this coat to roughen it up a bit.
This is your scratch coat.
1g: The following
day, mix another batch of plaster and fill the opening to about 1/16th inch or so from the
surrounding wall face. The final 1/16th inch is to provide room for the finish coat. Leave
this coat alittle rough. This is your brown coat.
1h: Give the brown
coat time to cure out. About eight to ten days is good enough.
1i: Buy a bag of
"Red Top - Slow Set" Finish Plaster (U.S.G.) and mix it as per the directions on
the bag. Trowel on the finish plaster flush with the surrounding wall. Take a brush and
wet the wall occasionally by dashing it with water from the brush and troweling until the
wall is smooth. Be sure not to hit the wall with the brush as you do this.
1j: Being a
"newbie" you may need to sand the patch after it dries.

You are now a plasterer!

2a: First open
the crack with a tool such as an old screw driver. You need to make the crack about 1/4
inch wide.
2b: Brush out the
opening to remove any deleterious dust particles and such.
2c: Apply P.V.A.
to the opening to give the patching material a good bond.
2d: Buy a bag of
"DuraBond90" (again, U.S.G.) and infill the crack flush with the surrounding
wall. If the patching material shrinks and creates a pit where the patch is, just apply
more material.
2e: After the
patch is dry, sand it smooth and flush with the surrounding wall.

I know that the first step seems hard. But, this is the proper way to patch a wall and
if its worth doing, its worth doing well and correct....


03:08PM | 02/11/99
Brian --

I just want to thank you for that very
thorough, detailed, and expert posting on
how to fix plaster cracks. I've saved it
to disk and will make use of it once my
foundation, plumbing, and electric work
are done. That's the kind of thing that
makes this web site worth reading.

-- J.S.

Becky Malone

12:22AM | 02/23/99
Thank you Brian. I used just a spakling paste and the wall cracked again..not badly but enough so i will have to try again. This time I will try the PVA and DuraBond 90..THANK YOU...Becky Malone
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