Not every plastering problem around the home means it’s time to call a plasterer. Some issues may just be signs of general wear and tear around the home and can be fixed with a little basic DIY. Other issues with your plaster could be a sign of much more serious problems, like water leakage, and should be attended to straight away.
Understanding the causes of common plaster problems can help you identify which are the urgent “fix-now” problems and which can be safely added to your to-do list for a later date.
There are three main types of plaster cracks.
- Hairline cracks
These are thin cracks that can be difficult to spot. They can appear on any plastered surface and run in any direction. Typically, they’re just a result of age and nothing to worry about.
Unless the cracks are getting noticeably larger, you can usually let them be. If you want to fix them, some putty and paint is all you’ll need and a handy DIY-plaster repair guide.
- Delaminating cracks
These cracks are a sign that the plaster is coming away from the lath behind it. This could be a sign that the plaster is about to fall off the wall or ceiling.
Look for horizontal or vertical cracks. They may even look a little like a grid as they run parallel to the studs. If you find delaminating cracks, get a professional in fast.
- Settlement cracks
These are common in newer or recently renovated homes, but they can turn up in older homes too. These cracks usually appear in groups and go in the same direction. They appear when the foundations of the house are settling or sagging. Keep an eye on these cracks to see if they’re growing. If they are, you will need to fix the plaster as well as the cause of the cracking (and that could mean expensive foundation repairs).
If you notice brown water stains on your plaster, this generally means there’s a leak somewhere. You can’t afford to take any risks when it comes to water damage. You will need to trace the source of the leak and fix that before fixing your plaster.
The next stage of water damage after discolouration is bubbling in your plaster. If you do find any bubbling, again you will first need to find the source of the water and fix that. Then, the affected area of plaster will need to be removed and patched up.
While bulging plaster can also be a sign of water damage, it can indicate that the plaster has come away from the lath, as with delaminating cracks. If there’s give when you push on the plaster, then chances are it will need to be reattached. Contact a professional plasterer immediately.
These may be the most obvious of plaster problems and they can be caused by a lot of things. Rowdy kids or even a particularly boisterous dog can damage plaster by bumping into or hitting a plaster wall too hard. Holes in the plaster are easy to fix for any DIY enthusiast. While holes don’t pose any real danger to your plaster or structures, it’s worth fixing them so they don’t get any worse and to ensure that they don’t expose any wires or insulation inside the wall.
A lot of holes in plaster can also be the result of door handles hitting the wall behind the door. Again, these don’t pose any real risk, but they are annoying. Once you get the plaster fixed, remember to install a stopper behind the door to ensure the door handle doesn’t re-damage the wall.
Plaster problems come in all shapes and sizes. Some are harmless and more of an eyesore than a danger, while others should be dealt with immediately. If you’re ever concerned about the condition of your plaster, speak to a professional plasterer.