Would it be possible for me to do a repair plaster job on the ceiling of my bathroom?

A roof leak caused the plaster to crack in the ceiling area of my small bathroom about 2'-3" by 2'-10". I just hate to hire someone, if I could do the job. I know it is a lost art doing plaster but I did repair a smaller job in my living room ceiling the size of a dinner plate many years ago and it still looks pretty good. Also, could someone give me some instructions in doing this job since I am really a novice. Thanks so much for any advice given.
  11 answers
  • It might be easier to hire someone! Plaster can be tricky if not done right! Something like that could be done for a min. charge and only take a couple hours for a professional. I would be more than happy to help.

  • Can you post a picture of what you have. Is it a line crack or has part of the plaster buckled? Has the roof leak been resolved? I've worked on a ton of Decatur homes over the years...we actually started HandyANDY in Glenwood Estates 16 years ago

  • Vivian K Vivian K on Feb 16, 2012
    The plaster has buckled. I had a new roof put on last year. I will post a photo tomorrow.

  • You will need to cut out the damaged area as once the plaster has buckled it is very difficult to put back up into place. Cut out the damaged area from ceiling joist to ceiling joist. Then cut about 3/4" more so you have a lip from the ceiling joist exposed. This will provide you with something to screw the new board onto. Purchase a small section of wall board which is sold in smaller pieces now around 2' x 2' size and screw it into the opening you created. Using fiberglass tape sold with the spackle area, they sell smaller rolls as well, run the tape on all sides of the new patched area. Once that is done, you will need to take some spackle out of the bucket and spread it with a 4 inch taping knife. Do not worry about covering everything at once. It is best that you do several thin coats and take a few days doing this then try to cover the entire patch all at once. Smooth it on all the way around. Let it dry over night. Then using a sponge and some water. Dampen the sponge and wipe the area that you just did the day before slightly and remove any rough areas. Do not go overboard doing this. You simply want to get rid of any splatter etc. Then after about 20 min do another coat of spackle. But this time allow the new coat to extend about two to three inches past the first coat. Let dry again and repeat the process. Covering a bit larger area with each coat and rubbing smooth with damp sponge. It will eventually cover the patch to a point that you should not see the tape and should be smooth all over. Let dry a few days and paint. Doing spackle job is difficult when working overhead, but it can be done if you take your time and are willing to get a bit of the spackle mud in your hair. Even the best guys end up with a bit on their face from time to time. If you want to get this done right away. A contractor such as Focus, or HandyANDY can get it done in about one day using fast drying materials and their experience. And you will be surprised that it may not cost as much as you think.

  • Peace Painting Co., Inc. Peace Painting Co., Inc. on Feb 17, 2012
    I hope we can tell from the picture if you should attempt it yourself. CP

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Feb 17, 2012
    Check out this post. http://www.hometalk.com/activity/136372 the pics I posted are some ceiling repairs I working on at by brother home. The original ceiling was lathe and plaster...at some point dry wall was added on top of a partially demo'ed ceiling. In this repair I added a new sheet rock "patch" and then plastered and smoothed the edges. plaster ( setting type drywall mix) comes in a few versions depending on how fast it sets...the really fast stuff is around 20 mins...slow about 3 hours. I normally use the 90 min stuff as it gives a decent pot life and workable time line.

  • Vivian K Vivian K on Feb 17, 2012
    It was hard to get an overall photo of the buckled ceiling. Hope you can tell a little bit by this photo.

  • Vivian K Vivian K on Feb 17, 2012
    Thank you Woodbridge Environmental for your advice. It will help me so much in determining what I should do. I think a contractor will be the best way to go now after reading your post.

  • Peace Painting Co., Inc. Peace Painting Co., Inc. on Feb 17, 2012
    Yep. It may all come down when you touch it. Plaster works great until it ever gets wet from behind.

  • Yes that type of repair it s tough one for a first timer. I think your making a wise choice on this. But hang around while they are doing it. You will pick up on some ideas on how to do these type of repairs in the future.

  • It's hard to tell from the picture how far the ceiling has dropped. The other problem you will have is that the moisture has accelerated the "chaulking" of the underlying plaster...which means the multiple layers of paint are likely to begin peeling from the ceiling. As the moisture adds to the plaster chaulking, the paint layers can bond and begin to peel. It doesn't seem this way but the paint has weight. We had one in the Highlands where we had to hand scrape the ceilings back to the original plaster, clean them, prime and repaint.