Plaster Wall and Ceiling Repair

Plaster Wall and Ceiling Repair

Many homeowners attempt to repair damaged plaster walls or ceilings themselves, often with questionable results. While you may end up saving a few bucks with a quick ‘patch-and-paint’ job, keep in mind this is usually only a temporary solution. Some damage may appear easy to repair, but without the skill and knowledge of a home repair expert, a small hole can quickly turn into a serious issue — not to mention that mistakes can also be costly to fix! 

In addition, it can be difficult to assess the extent of plaster damage, and in many cases for NYC homes and apartments, the best choice is to replace an entire wall or ceiling section to ensure long-lasting durability.

Seamless repairs are one of our specialties at Golden Talon Construction. We go the extra mile to ensure that no sign of damage was ever there! Our team takes all the necessary precautions to ensure that your property is protected throughout the process.

spreading plaster on wall

What is Plaster?

Lath and plaster is an older building method used to finish walls and ceilings. It’s commonly seen in older NYC apartments.

Builders use narrow strips of wood, called laths, that are fastened horizontally between studs or ceiling joists to create the wall or ceiling. Then, plaster (a soft mixture of lime with cement or sand mixed with water) is applied to the laths to create a consistent, smooth surface. It’s important to note that there are a few different kinds of plasters, such as horsehair plaster, gypsum plaster, and lime plaster. Hiring a professional to repair your plaster walls is the best way to make sure that it’s getting repaired the proper way.

The plaster is applied to the laths typically in three coats and are often referred to as the Scratch Coat, Brown Coat, and White Coat:

  • Scratch Coat: This is the base layer that is applied quickly and deeply to the lath and seeps into the gaps to form the “keys,” which will harden in place. Once the scratch coat dries, it will be smoothed and scored in preparation for the next coat. 
  • Brown Coat: The second coat is referred to the brown coat, which will start forming a smooth, level surface.
  • White Coat: The top layer of plaster is applied after the brown coat has dried and cured. This coat can go on smooth, or you can add various textures or finishes. This final coat offers great soundproofing and insulation. 

The plaster forms a hard, durable surface when it dries and can be used to create decorative finishes, 3D elements, or textures. 

The process predates drywall and goes back to the 1940’s, which is why it’s such common construction in older neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

cracked plaster wall

How Does Plaster Repair Work?

Even though lath and plaster is a durable material, it can start to crack with age. More serious damage includes bulging or even breaking away from the lath. These issues can be caused by the foundation settling, changes in humidity, or even by poorly executed repairs. 

The good news is that damaged plaster can be repaired, with the right tools and expertise. 

During the repair process, we use the following tools:

  • Wet/Dry vacuum
  • Plaster washers/rings
  • Drywall screws
  • Caulk gun
  • Joint compound
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Carbide-tipped masonry drill bit
  • Primer and paint

Here’s a quick look at one way we repair damaged plaster walls and ceilings:

1. Scrape all loose plaster and damaged material off the wall or ceiling surface for a “clean slate” for the repair.

2. Simply filling a crack with a joint compound is pointless — the cracks will likely return! Instead, we tackle the issue at its root cause by reinforcing the plaster with washers and screws that will tighten the bond between plaster and lath.

3. After priming the damaged area, we create a secure bond by drilling evenly spaced holes, filling them with adhesive, and attaching plaster rings to pull the plaster tighter against the lath. We vacuum the debris from each hole after it’s drilled and apply a liquid conditioner to the hole before injecting the adhesive for a cleaner grip.

4. After the adhesive dries, remove the plaster rings and screws, then apply a layer of joint compound and allow it to dry overnight. 

5. When the joint compound is dry, we then lightly sand it to a smooth surface, then apply a second (thinner) coat. Allow it to dry, then once again sand it to a smooth surface.

6. And then we paint over the joint compound to complete the wall or ceiling and make it look like new — no one will ever know the area was ever damaged!

The process itself is straightforward, but the skills involved to get a professional final look can take some work. Using a professional construction company who is skilled in the process can help you get the best final results.

Why Choose Golden Talon Construction?

If you want plaster repair done right, it pays to work with a trusted, experienced professional who can deliver exceptional results that will last for years. We are a licensed and insured construction company that performs quality repairs at affordable prices. Our team works around your schedule and takes your budget into account to set realistic expectations for every project.

Get Started

If you’ve noticed unsightly cracks in your walls or ceilings or other cosmetic issues, we’re here to help. Reach out to us or a free in-person consultation —Our contractors will assess your property damage to choose the best approach to repair your plaster walls and ceilings, as well as provide you with a timeline of how long the repairs should take so you can get back to life as usual.

We look forward to working with you!

before and after pictures of complete floor repair in Bay Ridge apartment

Need a plaster repair specialist in New York City? Call 1-347-549-3597 or Send us a Message for Your Free Quote Today.