Follow these steps for do it yourself home repair.Before carrying out any redecorating, such as painting or papering, ceilings and walls must be in near-perfect condition if the best results are to be achieved, as any defects will show through. This means filling any cracks, holes or other imperfections to leave a smooth surface. Fortunately, there is an excellent range of products for making good those defects.
A general-purpose filler can be used for the majority of cracks in ceilings and walls. This comes ready-mixed in tubs or as a powder tor mixing with water. The filler is simply applied with a filling or putty knife, pressing it into the cracks and smoothing it flush with the surface. Some cracks need enlarging slightly to give the filler something to grip; fine cracks can be filled with special hairline crack filler.
Normal fillers are quite adequate if you are papering the ceiling or wall, but for paint, a fine surface filler is better. Most fillers take a short while to dry, after which they can be sanded flush with the surrounding surface. Instant fillers set very quickly and are good for last-minute minor repairs while you are actually painting or papering.
Most of these fillers are equally as suitable for wood as for plaster – provided the wood is to be painted – so all your crack and small hole filling can be done in one go, using the same material. For cracks between two different materials, for example the wall plaster and timber architrave (trim) moulding around a door, use a flexible filler. This will absorb the inevitable movement between the two materials without opening up.
Small holes, especially those left by screws, can be filled in the same way as cracks. Cut off any protruding wall plugs or, better still, remove them altogether so that you can obtain a smooth finish.
Larger holes are more of a problem. The kind of hole left by removing a waste pipe from a wall can be made good with do-it-yourself repair plaster, which can usually be applied in layers up to 50mm (2in) thick. Smaller recesses up to 20mm deep can be treated with a special deep-gap filler, while really deep cavities can be filled with an expanding foam filler. Once set, this can be cut and sanded smooth, then painted or papered over. If an area of plaster has fallen off the wall, use a repair plaster, levelling it with the surrounding sound plaster with a straight length of wood.
For larger areas, nail timber battens (furring strips) to the wall to act as guides for your timber straightedge.
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