Making the Small Cracks in Your Plaster Ceiling Disappear

If you live in an older house, chances are high you have a plaster ceiling. While plaster ceilings can be a beautiful, long-lasting option for homes, they tend to develop small or hairline cracks about 1/8 inch wide over time. Oftentimes, these cracks are nothing more than a cosmetic issue that can be left alone. But if they bother you, it's easy to make them go away.

Here's what to do to fix unsightly cracks in your plaster ceiling.

Dig out the cracks 

The first thing to do before patching small cracks in the plaster is to widen the cracks. You can accomplish this by dragging the tip of a screwdriver or utility knife along the cracks to create V-shaped grooves. 

Make sure you cut in until the original cracks are no longer visible. This helps make the cracks wide enough for filler or the joint compound to fill the cracks.

Remove the dust and dampen the area of repair 

Brush out all the loose dust from the plaster with a medium bristle brush. Alternatively, you can wipe away the loose debris using a rag. Once the cracks are free of the plaster dust, dampen the full length of the area of repair with water. This will help ensure proper adhesion of the patching compound. 

If the damaged area isn't appropriately dampened prior to application of the patching material, the dry plaster can suck the moisture out of the patching material, resulting in ineffective crack repairs. 

Apply the new plaster into the grooves

Using a putty knife, apply a decent amount of the patching material over the cracks, spreading it gently and evenly so it tapers into the undamaged plaster. Allow the new plaster to dry completely before you smooth it out with sandpaper. Make sure you wipe away any plaster dust from the sanded-down plaster.

Apply primer and paint over the plaster 

Priming helps ensure proper adhesion of the paint, so you shouldn't skip this step if you want to achieve the best paint results. Painting, on the other hand, hides the repair and makes your damaged plaster look brand new again.

Fixing small or hairline cracks in your plaster ceiling will help conceal normal plaster damage, which may ruin the aesthetics of your home interior if left unaddressed. If you have large cracks in your plaster ceiling, it's recommended you seek a professional plaster ceiling repair service to work on them because they're a sign of underlying structural issues. Undertaking timely plaster ceiling repairs will help prevent further damage to the plaster, thus extending its life.