Repair Cracked Plaster with Drywall or Washers

Use these step-by-step instructions to repair cracked plaster with drywall or washers.
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You don't have to use plaster to fix cracks in a plaster wall. Check out these alternative methods:

Materials and Tools:

scoring knife
putty knife
broom
vacuum cleaner
tape measure
pencil
utility knife
straightedge
power drill and dimpler attachment
scissors
drywall mud knife
drywall mud pan
wood-boring drill bit
joint tape
joint compound
drywall sheets
plaster washers

Steps:

For the Drywall Method:

1. Score the seams in the wall with a scoring knife.
2. Use a putty knife to pry the cracked plaster off the wall.
3. Clean the wall thoroughly with a broom and a vacuum cleaner.
4. Measure the section of wall that needs to be covered and mark the location of studs on the baseboard and the top trim. Transfer the measurements to piece of drywall with a pencil. Score a line with a utility knife and a straightedge. Snap the drywall, and then score it from back side.
5. Fit drywall pieces and attach, using a drill with a special dimpler attachment that countersinks drywall screws. Avoid using a manual screwdriver, as it poses a higher risk of breaking the drywall paper. Apply joint tape along the seams between drywall sections, and use a wide putty knife to spread joint compound (or "mud") over seams and screw holes.

For the Plaster Washer Method:

1. Use a power drill to probe the wall next to the cracks and find wood behind the plaster.
2. Create an indentation with the wood-boring drill bit so the plaster washers sit flush with the wall. Insert plaster washers, trying to alternate them on opposite sides of the crack.
3. Cover washers and cracks with joint compound, and then skim-coat the entire area with compound. Continue to strategically place washers to shore up the walls.

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