How To Do Small Plaster Repair? (Explained)

For the most part, plaster repair is pretty simple. However, there are some things to take into consideration. 

This guide will help you with everything from choosing the right drywall screws to putting those screws where they need to go. You’ll be able to do small plaster repairs without a hitch in no time!

How to patch plaster a wall
Use a wire brush to clean the area before repairs
Apply adhesive to the wall before patching
Mix plaster compound according to manufacturer’s instr.
Keep the repair area primed and painted
Test paint color before painting the repaired area

Choosing The Right Drywall Screws

  • Choose the right length screw for the job.
  • Use a screwdriver with a long handle. This can make it easier to get into tight spaces and you’ll be less likely to strip the head of your screw, which means that more of it will stay in your wall after tightening it down.
  • If you don’t have access to a power drill, use one to make holes for your screws before carefully driving them into place with an electric drill or hand driver.

Plumbing problems can be overwhelming, but before calling a professional there are a few things to try at home. Check out our Pro guide on fixing plumbing for expert advice on how to find and fix common issues like clogs, leaks, and running toilets.

Using A Long-Handled Screwdriver

If your plaster needs repainting, you’re going to need a screwdriver. The kind of screwdriver that will work best for this task is one with a magnetic tip, as well as either Phillips or flat head.

 If you have metal screws in your wall that aren’t painted over (which is likely), then it would be very helpful if the head of your screwdriver were magnetic so that it can hold onto the screws while you unscrew them.

Table: Best Types of Screwdrivers for Painting Plaster

Type of ScrewdriverDescription
MagneticThis type of screwdriver is highly recommended because it helps keep screws and other metal objects in place while you work, reducing the chances of dropping screws behind large pieces of furniture or into carpet fibers.
Phillips-HeadIf your plaster walls are secured with screws that have crosses or plus-shaped grooves on the head, you’ll need a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove or replace them. This is a commonly used type of screwdriver that’s available at most hardware stores.
Flat-HeadIf the screws that need to be removed or replaced in your plaster walls have a single, straight slot on the head, a flat-head screwdriver is the tool for the job. These screwdrivers are also readily available at most hardware stores.

When it comes to painting plaster, a long-handled screwdriver is an essential tool for removing screws, door plates, hinges, and other metal objects attached to the walls. A screwdriver with a magnetic tip is ideal for this task, and you’ll also need to make sure you have the right type of head for the screws you’ll be working with.

Put Something Soft Behind The Plaster

Put something soft behind the plaster. The best thing you can do to prevent your plaster from cracking is to put something soft behind it. It’s a good idea to use a piece of wood or a piece of carpet. If you don’t have anything soft, then just make sure that you put down a plastic sheet so that nothing gets damaged when spraying water on the wall.

Spray water on the wall and let it dry for 24 hours. Once again, we recommend using distilled water for this step because tap water often contains minerals and other things that aren’t good for plaster repair jobs

After spraying some water on the wall and letting it dry for 24 hours, then sand off any rough edges around your patch with medium grit sandpaper (120-150 grit).

If you’re renovating your home, you might want to run new plumbing lines to more convenient locations. Save money and get the satisfaction of doing it yourself with our expert advice on how to run new plumbing lines with minimal damage to your walls and floors.

Practice On Scrap Pieces Of Drywall Or A Wall That Doesn’t Matter

Practice on scrap pieces of drywall or a wall that doesn’t matter. You can practice your plaster repair on any piece of drywall you have lying around, but if you do choose to use one of your walls, make sure it’s not visible and won’t be seen by anyone else. 

The best test subjects are those not in the living room or kitchen because these rooms are used more often than others in case you need to make adjustments before starting work on the actual project!

Practice on walls that have previously been repaired. If you’re inexperienced with fixing holes in walls, this step is crucial for building up confidence. 

Even if they don’t look perfect, they will help prepare you for working on an actual hole in your wall and give valuable experience using tools like trowels and putty knives.

Table: Benefits of Practicing on Scrap Pieces of Drywall or Non-Visible Areas

Minimizes mistakesScrap pieces of drywall or non-visible areas are good places to practice because if you make a mistake, it will not be visible. You can make as many mistakes as you need to before feeling confident enough to work on the more visible areas without the fear of ruining them.
Saves time and moneyPracticing on scrap pieces helps you perfect your plaster repair skills before moving onto the actual wall. It saves time and money because you can work with the techniques and methods without putting them to use on the wall that is visible.
Improves techniqueRegular practice can improve your technique as you can try out new techniques and experiment with new materials. The absence of pressure to do a perfect job allows for more open-minded experimentation, helping you find the best technique for the job.
Builds confidencePracticing on scrap pieces, or non-visible areas, helps you build your confidence so that you feel comfortable tackling the damaged plaster areas that are visible. The more comfortable you are, the better your final result will be.

Practicing on scrap pieces of drywall or non-visible walls is an essential step in learning how to repair plaster. It is recommended that you practice the techniques, tools, and materials on a non-visible zone before moving on to the actual wall in need of repair. Doing so provides a safer environment for learning, and it can help improve your technique, saving both time and money.

Avoiding Over-Tightening Screws

Make sure to avoid over-tightening screws during the repair process. If a screwdriver is too large, it will easily strip the plaster and cause more damage than if you didn’t try to use it in the first place. 

A dull tip on your screwdriver also shouldn’t be used for this type of project because it won’t have enough grip on the screw, making it easy for them to slip and cause more problems. 

Finally, if you’re using an old or cheap screwdriver with a sharp tip (such as from an ice cream scoop), then your chances of causing damage are even higher!

It’s important that all tools used for home repairs are kept clean and organized so there aren’t any surprises later down the line—even when working with small areas like these!

 If you’ve got a hole or crack in your wall, it’s essential to fix it before it gets worse. But an imperfect wall repair can stick out like a sore thumb and ruin the look of the wall. Learn how to make your wall repairs virtually invisible with our explained guide on matching texture on wall repair.

Putting Extra Screws In From Inside Out

If you’re stuck on putting screws from the outside in, consider this: If possible, it’s much easier to put screws and nails into plaster from inside out. 

You can use a drill or screwdriver to do so, but if you don’t want to damage the exterior of your wall (which you probably don’t), then try using a nail set instead. This tool makes it easy for even children to install drywall fasteners without causing any damage.

Scrape Away Loose Plaster Before Putting A New Coat On

To put a new coat on, you need to scrape away any loose plaster that’s been damaged or exposed. If there are any holes in the wall, take care not to let them settle into the old and damaged plaster as you apply your new layer.

Cracks, chips, and holes in your plaster walls can be fixed easily with just a few tools, some plaster compound, and a bit of elbow grease. Save money and add some DIY cred to your home by checking out our easy tips for DIY plaster repair.

Use Wider Screws To Hold The Lath Boards Together Better To Avoid Loose Ends 

Use a 1 1/2″ screw for lath boards, and a 1 1/4″ screw for plaster.

Drill holes in the plaster using a bit slightly larger than the size of your screws. You can use a power drill to drive the screws into place once you’ve drilled some holes in it.

Hold the screw while you drill by using your fingers as an anchor point on one side, then holding onto it with a pair of pliers when you’re ready to drive it into place on the other side (this will help keep things steady).

Use Self-Drilling Screws For Thin Lath Strips

Self-drilling screws are ideal for plaster repair because they have a tapered shank that helps them cut through the plaster. 

Self-drilling screws are also recommended for drywall repairs because they are not very expensive and can be used as an alternative to masonry nails if you’re not comfortable using them.

 Home repairs can be expensive, but there are ways to get help with funding repairs and home improvement projects. Check out our explained guide to learn about grants and assistance programs that help homeowners make necessary and desired repairs.

Remove Any Nails You Find When Working With Old Walls

Remove any nails you find when working with old walls. If you don’t, the sharp end of a nail can damage the plaster as you’re finishing your job.

The best way to remove nails is by using a hammer and chisel—or tap them out with a hammer and chisel if they’re small enough.

Plaster Repair Isn’t Hard If You Don’t Over Complicate It

Chances are you’ve seen a plaster repair job gone wrong before—and it’s not pretty. To avoid becoming one of these nightmares, we’ll share two of our best tips for repairing small spots in the plaster.

Be careful not to overthink things: While this may seem obvious, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to create a perfectly smooth finish when repairing your wall.

The fact is that plaster is never going to look like something from Restoration Hardware or Anthropologie (unless you’re an expert). 

Instead of spending hours trying to hide imperfections with sandpaper, let them show! They will give your drafty old walls character and make them feel lived-in just like they should be.

Do it yourself: While we’re on the topic of DIY’ing your fixer upper home improvement projects, let’s talk about how much easier it is than you think! 

In this article alone there are three steps for doing small holes and dings yourself that doesn’t even include what we’ll cover next month when we talk about how easy it can be if you take care from the beginning with some simple fixes like putting up drywall instead of mudding and taping paper over holes or dings before painting over them (which will save time later because no one wants to spend hours prepping walls).


We hope this article helped you understand how to do small plaster repair. By following our tips, you’ll be able to fix holes and cracks in your walls without any problems!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources for learning how to repair plaster walls:

True Value: A comprehensive guide that covers everything from identifying the types of plaster to repair techniques and materials.

This Old House: A step-by-step guide with helpful photos and video that walks you through repairing cracks and holes in plaster walls.

Old House Online: This guide covers everything from the history of plaster to DIY repair techniques with detailed instructions and illustrations.


What is plaster?

Plaster is a type of building material made from a mixture of lime, sand, and water. It’s commonly used to cover walls and ceilings and create a smooth, level surface for painting or wallpapering.

How do I know if I need to repair my plaster walls?

Inspect your walls for cracks or bulges, which are signs of potential plaster damage. Chipping or peeling paint, or a powdery residue on the surface of the wall, can also indicate that repairs are needed.

What tools and materials do I need to repair plaster walls?

Basic tools for plaster repair include a wire brush, a utility knife, a putty knife, and sandpaper. Materials you’ll need include plaster adhesive, joint compound, and drywall tape.

How do I prepare the damaged area for repair?

Start by removing any loose or damaged plaster, then clean the area around the damaged spot. Use sandpaper to smooth the edges of the hole or crack and create a surface that the new plaster can adhere to.

How do I apply plaster to repair a hole or crack in the wall?

Mix the plaster according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then apply it to the damaged area using a putty knife. Smooth the surface of the plaster with the same knife or a trowel, then let it dry completely before sanding and painting.