I wondered if anyone had any pointers on how to go about repairing the
plaster on my bathrooom ceiling. The house is 105 years old with all
the original plaster. I gather that over the years there had been a
leak in the roof that was not repaired, which damaged the ceiling in
the upstairs bathroom. I now have a new roof, so no more leaks,
however, I have to tackle the plaster in the bathroom. The difficult
part is, it is damaged around the "pipe/vent" thingy..... I am
considering a couple of things...1. repairing the plaster then covering
the entire ceiling with that paintable embossed wallpaper that has the
old victorian look or 2. simply trying to repair the plaster just in
that area and no ceiling paper. However, I wondered if there is some
kind of "cowling" that I can put around it to give it a better
"finished look". Kind of like something that you would put around a
woodstove pipe that goes into the ceilng? To get a better idea of what
I am talking about I have posted pictures. This is the link:
It is going to be a hard spot for any "cowling" kind of thingee as you
called it because any thing you buy will be round.
From the picture it looks like the old plaster ceiling has been textured at
some point in time. If that is correct matching the texture will be the
hardest part of the job. But a repair can be made to look almost as good as
I think if you will take the time to remove all the loose , crumbly material
you will find wood lathe under there somewhere. Just remove the loose stuff
until all the surrounding material is firm and stable. You are then ready
for the repair. It isn't all that hard but it will have to be done over a
period of 1-2 hour sessions using regular setting type drywall compound.
Assuming you are going to wind up with about an 18" arc around the pipe to
repair I would guess 4-5 1 hour sessions for a newbie.
I would guess than an experienced drywall guy could do it in 2-3 trips and
about 3 hours time.
If you want DIY instructions just post back.
Unless the can says it is formulated for use with plaster, do NOT use
ordinary drywall mud. They expand and contract at different rates, and the
patch will soon crack. and fail. (DAMHIKT) Figure out what you actually
have up there, and use the same type of material for the repair. From a look
at the photos, it DOES look like someone threw a texture finish up there,
probably to hide other cracking and stains. If it is a small room, I'd be
tempted to screw a layer of drywall up there, once I had 'thumped' the whole
ceiling and removed any damaged areas.
As to the original question about the trim ring- yeah, they sell split rings
for applications like that. If you want the old-timey look, it'll take some
hunting, but a simple paintable or nickel finish ring should be available at
any plumbing supply or maybe a stove shop.
I am not looking to start a war here.
I have been using drywall mud in in its many forms for 30 years to repair
cracks and voids in plaster. I still own several of the homes involved.
I have to say aem is wrong about this topic. Drywall mud works.
I am going to try to do it myself. And yes there is lathe under there.
I would rather not have to drywall the entire area if I can avoid
it....but then, maybe that ends up being the easier route.
Be sure to read aem's post and my reply to him.
You do not need to hang drywall. You only need to be able to mix a powder
to the right consistency and trowel it onto the lathe in coats. Less is
better because you can always add more with no sanding. The final coat will
need to be sanded unless you are a gifted newbie.
Matching the texture will be different exercise.
Okay, now I'm confused. Here you refer to to powder, before you said drywall
compound, which I assumed meant the usual 2 or 5 gallon premix kind. I had
bad results using that on old plaster, even when it was cleaned back to
solid dry materials, with no paint to keep the mud from adhering, etc. A
fellow who had done that sort of work before advised me to use 'patching
plaster', which did come in powder form, and I had to mix in a bucket, and
use an improvised hawk and wide knife to apply, since even a dry mix flowed
pretty well. It did work, and adhered much better than the premix mud.
(which was the 'standard' kind, according to the bucket, not the quick set
Hey, I'm always willing to learn from others- if I ever need to patch old
plaster again (none in this house, thankfully), what is your recommended
product? Are there some kinds of premix that do work, as opposed to the
contractor grade buckets, which is what I had handy back then?
The premix and powder are two different things. If you read Colbyt's
post again you'll see he said "setting type" drywall compound. This
means a powder mixed with water , which sets off a chemical reaction
that hardens the mixture within a certain amount of time depending on
it's lime content and other ingredients. The bag will usually say how
long you have to work it. While the premixed is meant specifically for
taping drywall, setting type compound is really just a variation of
plaster and works great for these kinds of repairs. The challenge for
the inexperienced user is mixing the right amount to a workable
consistency without lumps or air bubbles. Because it hardens through
"setting" not drying, you can put the next layer on as soon as the
first one is hard even if it's still showing signs of moisture. Saves
lots of time over the premix which has to dry 12 - 24 hrs between
layers. A good hardware store or building supply dealer should be able
to hook you up with the right product. I've had great results with the
Durabond brand, but they're all pretty much the same. And read the
instructions on the bag carefully. Take the safety precautions VERY
seriously. Good Luck!
Siralfred said it very well. No need to repeat what has been said.
I will just add that the Durobond product sets up hard and can not be
sanded. It will set up even under water, on your tools or anywhere. It is
wonderful for the base coats and to fill large voids. Then top it off with
a sandable setting compound for the finish coats.
For first base coat to bare lathe I like the 20 minute type. For a first
time user I would recommend the 45 minute and mix it a little dry and
stiff. Don't try to fill the entire void in one application. The thicker
and wetter the application the harder it is to keep the mud in place and
prevent sags or drop offs.
These products all set within a few minutes of their stated time and another
coat can be added as soon as they do. Small ridges and goobers can be
scraped off before the next coat if necessary. The entire area need to be
thoroughly dry before sanding. In most cases 24 hours is enough. Increased
air circulation is more effective than heat to the complete drying process.
Once or twice when I had a really large and deep area to do I have even used
mortar mix with a little lime added for the first base coat. I did not have
any horse hair to add like the old guys did but it worked anyway.
I do have some durabond from a previous repair. So I should apply a
layer of the Durabond initially - directly on the lathe, then, after
that has set, apply layer(s) of drywall compound and finally texture?
You should apply the thickest layer of Durobond that you can get to stick in
place AND be below the surrounding surface. On a ceiling depending on how
dry you mix it, the area size and your skill level this might be done in 1-4
coats of Durobond (non sandable).
Thereafter you can use any sandable setting type mud (Durobond makes several
as others do) to bring the surface to level. Then you mix up a batch and
create the texture portion.
For the texture I have used all of the following at one time or another:
A shaving brush
a paint brush
a pony roller and cover
a block of wood
the kitchen broom
Use whatever you can dab on and create a similar look. You will never
create the exact same look unless you have the same tools and the same
number of beers as the original finisher. :)))
I just touched up a leak are like the one you have on a ceiling I textured
years ago. I can see the repair. No one else has been able to see it.
Your eye will be far more critical than the next person who looks at it. If
you can almost please yourself you have done a great job.
Do not use the paintable embossed wallpaper on the ceiling in a room
with high humidity. Not only will the paper fail over time, mold can
form under the paper. I say this because I recently demo'd a bathroom
that had that paper on the ceiling.
Scrape the old plaster around the pipe and repatch with patching
plaster. I would then look for one of those split ring type collers
that was suggested. If your handy, you could find a column cap the same
diameter and cut it in half and nail/glue in place. If you want a
perfect seam on ring, buy two. Cut each one just off center so when you
put them together, there is no gap from the saw cut.
Note that it's sometimes possible to duplicate texturing. I've done
it a couple of times, and it's been pretty much invisible.
[Just a temporary thing until we strip all the texturing off. I hate
Experiment with thick mixtures and dab it.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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