Old walls made with wood slacks need repair

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I have an old house and the walls are hard to repair. One little nail can turn into a 6 inch whole or bigger, and my outlets are having trouble staying in the wall also.
  12 answers
  • Margi Chambers Margi Chambers on Apr 07, 2016
    They are called slats. They are often made of a very hard wood like poplar. In order to keep from breaking the plaster between them you need to drill screws into the wall to hang things
  • Marj Marj on Apr 07, 2016
    Do a search at the top of the page "repair plaster walls " and you will get a few different solutions. I know your aggravation, we are dealing with MANY cracks also. Good luck.
  • Nancy Nancy on Apr 07, 2016
    I have a home built in 1937 with six inch plaster walls. I learned this trick from my father-in-law. Always apply painter's tape to the wall on the spot where you intend to pound a nail. Always use a very sharp pointed nail. With just one whack as he put it "there will be no crack." Always use real plaster patch never spackling compound to patch holes. I use an old credit card to smooth out a small plaster patch. Larger holes need more work. A mesh tape must be applied to the wall. Check the Internet for this procedure. I used to be a cake decorator. So I figured out that if I can frost a cake I can plaster a few holes in the wall.
  • Margaret Margaret on Apr 07, 2016
    I have a tip for where that crack on the ceiling that opens every winter or summer from contracting. silicon or something plyable.
    • See 1 previous
    • Susan Bechamp Susan Bechamp on Apr 07, 2016
      I believe she means you use flexible silicone caulking to fill the crack, instead of plaster. Plaster walls have no flexibility and will crack under the stress of temperature changes. My tip: Sometimes it helps to have a slight gap between walls and ceiling. Cover with cove or crown molding attached to the ceiling only - so it can slide up and down the wall as needed.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Apr 07, 2016
    Drill holes and use a wall anchor.
  • Jane Harriss Naus Jane Harriss Naus on Apr 07, 2016
    I have plaster walls & ceilings. I know your pain. Plaster patch (the real stuff - not the pink stuff) is key. Also, when putting holes in the wall I pre-drill with a very small drill bit in order to eliminate a chunk coming out! Nancy is right in her suggestions, too!
  • Mcgypsy9 Mcgypsy9 on Apr 07, 2016
    It would be a bit of a cost but replacing the walls with drywall will certainly help! ALso...you should have your homes electrical checked out by an electrician to make sure it is still good. If it has never been replaced, which is what yours sounds like, you should definitely replace it! It is a major fire hazard!
  • Yup, feel for you. I have a house built in 1926 with lath and sculptured textured walls. Nancy's recommendation is what I have done over the years. Start with an area that will be hidden by furniture to get your technique and process in place then move on to more visible spots.
  • Sandy Slade Sandy Slade on Apr 07, 2016
    Hi, I have the same type of walls and have the same type of walls. Years ago I had no money and where my toilet roll holder was there was a big hole all the way through to the lath. I used a combination of a watered down solution of wall filler soaked in newspaper and gently put it over the hole then when that is set another layer building up only really thin layers then a couple of coats of wall filler after. This is the best part of my wall now it has been sanded and painted. Not sure what the name of the wall filler is in America though sorry.
  • G G on Apr 07, 2016
    Probably plaster. Cut out bad areas and replace with drywall. Any good painter can make look like new
  • Janis Herger Hilton Janis Herger Hilton on Apr 07, 2016
    Put painter's tape on the wall around the area you want to nail in to. Put your nail in then remove the tape. I love plaster walls. I grew up in NYC, then bought an old house in NJ. 😊
  • Teri Teri on Apr 08, 2016
    Use screws instead of nails. You will have less problem with the plaster coming away from the lathe. You can repair your holes with patching plaster which is different than sparkle or drywall compound .