Old plaster wall repair NYC brownstone - L1000341.JPG (0/2)

Hi,
The house is a NYC brownstone at least 100 years old. It has the original plaster walls in the hallway that gets exposed to some moisture and weather changes when people go in and out. The paster has moldings as well as a swirl like pattern.
There are some areas that are loose and could be very easily banged out but hard to match the original plaster work. There are lots of cracks all over that could easily be puttied up. It was suggested to me that the easiest solution is to just sheet rock over all this but I'd like to keep the original quality of the house if at all possible.
My first question is that if the cracks were repaired sooner would that have kept the wall intact?
Secondly, at this stage of disrepair would sealing up the cracks and repairing the loose areas with new plaster and a coat of paint be a good solution that will stand the test of time (or is too for gone for a lasting repair)?
I'll include a picture, might help show how it looks.
Thanks very much, S
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My experiences indicate that once it is loosed from the lath or brick substrate any repair is very temporary. The hard coat debonding from the scratch or intermediate coat can be repaired with a new topcoat but the failed portion must be removed and replaced. Bubbly areas often indicate moisture inside the wall. The cause of which must be repaired before any plaster repairs. Plaster can be repaired using drywall compounds which are much easier to work with.
You can strip it all the way down to the lath; but if I did that I would go back with drywall unless it is a very small area. The labor cost or skill curve of mastering plaster is very high.
Cracks where the plaster is still firmly attached can be repaired and may last a very long time.
--
Colbyt
Please come visit http://www.househomerepair.com
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On 4/3/2011 9:16 AM, SMF wrote:

Couldn't have hurt... :)
Actual answer is imponderable...

...
<http://www.oldhouseweb.com/how-to-advice/plaster-loose-spots.shtml
and links therefrom...
There's been at least one episode I recall w/ Tommy and some plaster gurus on TOH using buttons and some adhesive--I want to say it was an acrylic but it's been so long I don't recall...
--
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