How to Fix Cracked Plaster in 4 Steps

Plaster is both durable and good-looking, but it inevitably develops cracks.

©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

Older homes often have lath-and-plaster walls. Plaster is both a durable and good-looking surface, ­but there is one drawback: Plaster inevitably develops cracks.

Latex paint will hide hairline cracks in plaster, at least temporarily. The coverup, though, may last only a few hours or a few months. Small plaster cracks have an annoying way of showing up again and again. It may be smarter to enlarge them and fix them properly once and for all.

Making a small flaw bigger may sound like reverse logic, but it's easier to fix big cracks in plaster than small ones. Use plaster of paris, which doesn't shrink as it dries, or purchase premixed plaster repair compound.

What You'll Need

Here are the tools you'll want to have when repairing cracked plaster:

  • Utility knife
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Plaster of paris or premixed plaster repair compound
  • Paintbrushes
  • Scraper or trowel
  • Wood block
  • Medium- or fine-grade sandpaper
  • Primer and paint