Spam (madbodger) wrote,

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working with plaster

The new house we're renting has plaster walls, so we've had to learn some new techniques. Granted, the existing house had plaster when I bought it, but it had been exposed to the elements and was crumbling, and I was too lame to learn plastering techniques, so I downgraded it to drywall. So I did the usual reading and asked forexample for advice, as he also has plaster walls. He pointed out the usual warning, which is not to push onto the lath, which can break the keys off and really weaken the wall, and added that plaster is infinitely patchable.

After a little experimenting, I hit on a good way to drill when not aligned with studs or joists. Ordinary twist drill bits don't work well, masonry bits are recommended. I found out that a roto-zip tile bit chucked into a Dremel tool does wonders. It grinds a nice neat hole in a hurry, with almost no pressure – just what I need. Then I use a small diameter drill or router bit to run a pilot hole in the lath behind it (again, with minimal pressure). Then I reach for my box of the McFeely's square drive (Robertson) screws that I've mentioned before. They have a sharp point which will solidly engage the pilot hole without pushing, and the square drive means I don't have to use pressure to keep the bit engaged. And that makes for easy, safe attachment to plaster walls.

Tags: repair
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