Restore Plaster in an Older Home

When restoring an older home some people prefer to restore to original condition. Here's how to do plaster repairs in an older home.


Older homes require lots of work and plenty of TLC to restore them. You will also probably need to make touch-ups and repairs to plasterwork that has chipped or broken off. We offer some tips and tricks for repairing plaster for a permanent repair solution.


Plaster mix (sharp sand and cement)


Clean water, in a spray bottle

Hawk or mixing board



1. The area needs to be prepared before plastering. With a paintbrush, clean out any loose debris. If you have a vacuum cleaner handy, this is also good for getting into crevices and cracks. This step is important, as it provides a sound base for the new plaster.

2. Dampen the area to be plastered. This prevents the existing plaster from sucking up moisture from the new plaster being applied. You don't want the new plaster to dry out too quickly, so make sure the old plaster is thoroughly soaked with water beforehand.

3. Combine the sharp sand and cement and then add water.

4. Using the trowel, chop and turn the mixture until it is stiff and well mixed. Too runny and the mixture will slide down the wall. It must be stiff enough to hold its shape once applied.

5. Did you know that you can use animal hair to reinforce the plaster mix? Adding animal hair prevents cracking and also reinforces the plaster. Add a handful of animal hair into the mortar and mix in by chopping and turning with the trowel.

6. Place the mortar on a hawk or board to make it easier to apply and then use the trowel to force the mortar into the damaged area. Build up layers and smooth the surface of the mortar as you work to ensure the mixture doesn't slump.

7. After applying the final layer, let it firm up a bit before smoothing the finish. If you need to match the plaster to the surrounding area, a sea sponge will add texture. Dip the sponge in clean water and shake off any excess. Lightly dab or stroke over the plastered area until you achieve the desired effect.

8. For perfect results, let the plaster cure for 4 to 5  days before applying primer and paint. In hot weather, cover with a piece of plastic sheeting to prevent the plaster from drying out too quickly.

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