RM Blog Inside, Out11/02/2010

Hands On with Amy Devers: Patchwork Makes Perfect

Hey Amy!

How would one patch a texturized plaster wall (circa 1919)? Seems pretty daunting at the moment….

It seems daunting because you and I both know that a bad patch job will deface your walls like some sort of keloid scar that draws attention to itself and screams of trauma. But there is a secret to patching textured plaster that will make the whole process go smoothly and your wall surface look flawless.

Wanna know what it is? Practice. Yeah, I know sound like your mom and thats not exactly what you wanted to hear, but its the truth.

Without knowing what texture you’re trying to replicate, I cant tell you exactly what to practice but I can tell you that there is nooo chance of getting the texture matched perfectly without a little trial and error. So before you go anywhere near your walls, get yourself some scraps–primed plywood, drywall, even cardboard–and start testing some application techniques. After a few experiments, I’m sure you’ll have it all worked out.

Start your lab experiments with a setting-type joint compound like this one.

In an ideal world, you’d be able to do the whole job with one product.  The first coat will mostly fill the crack, and the top coat will provide the texture.

RM wall textureSome things to try:

Add sand to the mix, and sponge lightly to blend while its setting

Dip a bristle brush into a water-thinned mix and flick the bristles to splatter compound onto the wall

Spread the compound with the back of a wooden spoon and smooth slightly with a wet sponge

Spread with a putty knife and stipple the surface with a brush, or drag a brush though it

Splatter the compound on, and then as its setting drag a taping knife over it to knock it down

Dab wet compound with a scrunched rag

Basically, just take a look at the texture you’re trying to match and think to yourself  “If I wanted to frost a cake to look exactly like my walls, how would I do it?” Then try to employ those same techniques with the wall compound and what ever household items you can round up. After you get your method dialed in, take it to the walls.

The OTHER secret to patching textured plaster? Start in the most inconspicuous place. By the time you get to the highly visible areas, you’ll have all the kinks worked out.