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The typical minor issues experienced with this sytem are: fairly irregular cracking and the usual dings, chips, etc. Cracks may extend from the corners of doors and windows. Cracks very often follow joist or stud lines (roughly) since these areas are usually the weakest. For cracks (larger than hairline) we use adhesive ( Big Wally's Plaster Magic ) to re-attach since the cracks are usually the result of some looseness. Many folks will repair such problems by resurfacing with skim coat (with or without mesh). This is not the proper way to repair these problems. This only recovers the surface and does nothing to address the underlying problem: loose basecoat plaster. Moreover, since resurfacing is usually done with drywall mud, the new surface is usually inferior to the old (much softer and not so long lasting). If the drywall mud is the ready mixed type, it is also more vulnerable to water. We also generally avoid taping cracks, since this leaves a diificult to disguise bump. Again, it covers the problem rather than address the root of it (looseness).
It is also important to find the root of the plaster problem first. It is not uncommom to find that the root cause of the problem is defective framing. Sometimes joists are too small and weak and therefore flex too much. You can test joists by walking or gently jumping on a floor while another person watches and feels from below. In the instance where joists move too much, plaster repair may not be the answer. To determine the maximum tolerable movement, divide the distance spanned by 360. Anything less than this number is considered acceptable.
Sometimes lathing is improper. Joists or studs cannot be too wide behind wood lath as this will prevent plaster from "keying" properly. When repairing lath, we try to avoid or severely limit our use of metal lath with wood lath. It is best to not mix the two materials due to their very different coefficients of moisture and thermal expansions
Here is a sample repair to three coat plain and ornamental plaster:
For expert plaster repairs, contact Stucco Classico.