How Do You Fix Plaster Crown Molding in a Brooklyn Home?
How to Repair Plaster
Plaster crown molding in Brooklyn homes offers a certain charm and historic look not easily duplicated with wood or plastic molding! As plaster starts out soft and malleable, it’s somewhat easy to create intricate details and designs, including scroll work, leaf imprints, and much more.
Because plaster molding offers an authentic, prewar look and feel for Brooklyn area homes, many homeowners prefer to invest in its repair rather than replacement when they notice cracks and other such damage. If your home contains plaster walls, ceilings, molding, and other such details and surfaces, note some vital information about plaster repair in Brooklyn. Discuss your options with a plaster restoration expert as needed, so you know your home is in good repair and looks its best!
The Basics of Plaster Crown Molding in Brooklyn Homes
To better understand how to repair plaster walls, ceilings, molding, and other surfaces, it’s helpful to understand the basics of plaster itself! Unlike wood or drywall, plaster is not a solid material, cut to size and then nailed in place. Instead, plaster is more like clay or cement, mixed onsite and applied in layers, shaping and forming those layers along the way.
Wood laths provide a base or foundation for plaster. A lath is a thin strip of wood, similar to floorboards or slatted fences. Before applying plaster, the wood lath base is put into place along a ceiling, floor, or wall. Plaster then adheres to this lath base, which keeps the plaster in place as it dries and hardens.
Plaster crown molding in Brooklyn homes is a bit different than plaster walls and ceilings. Crown moldings are typically created as separate pieces and then applied to wall and ceiling corners. Patterns and designs are often pressed into soft molding before it dries, creating stunning details.
Why You Need Plaster Crown Molding Repair in Brooklyn
Understanding why plaster tends to crack or suffer damage also ensures you make repairs properly. It’s often not enough to simply patch cracked or damaged areas, as this doesn’t stop plaster damage from spreading!
Plaster might absorb water over time and then bulge or sag, pulling away from its wood lath base. This damage and any subsequent cracking is called delaminating. Settlement cracks are the result of a structure settling and shifting, so that walls are no longer even. As walls and ceilings shift and settle, plaster pulls apart and cracks appear.
For water absorption, it’s important that you address water leaks or excess humidity in the home and especially around plaster crown moldings and surfaces. While settling and shifting are natural for structures, overly large cracks along moldings and other areas might indicate the need for foundation repair. Address these causes of plaster damage before repairing crown molding, so you know your repairs last!
How to Fix Damaged Plaster Crown Molding
To repair plaster crown molding, it’s often recommended that you remove molding from the wall and ceiling. You can typically see a slight gap between the molding and ceiling, or you can use the edge of a utility knife or box cutter to score through paint and find where molding separates from the ceiling.
Slide your utility knife through that gap until the trim separates from the ceiling. Use a rubber mallet to gently tap the knife through to the back of the molding, gently applying pressure on the molding section so it pulls away from the ceiling. As the plaster separates, slide a shim into that gap to keep the molding from reattaching to the wall.
Continue to work your way along the section of molding until it comes away from the wall. Use an abundance of caution as you pull the molding down, ensuring the cracked area doesn’t split outright. You can then use joint compound to fill in gaps and cracks along the plaster face. Ensure the compound is dry completely before reattaching the crown molding to the home’s ceiling.
For detailed crown molding, it’s best to leave this work to a plaster repair contractor in Brooklyn. He or she will typically use a mold over the design and recreate it in new sections of plaster, removing and replacing damaged areas. This ensures that your plaster’s intricate stamping or other detailing is recreated exactly and that your repairs are seamless and invisible!
Replace or Repair Plaster in Brooklyn?
When faced with plaster repair costs for Brooklyn homes, some homeowners wonder if it’s better to remove and replace that plaster with drywall, wood or plastic trim, and other such materials. While plaster might be a bit more expensive to install, it offers some amazing advantages over sheet rock and wood or plastic trim.
One such advantage is the authentic prewar look and feel plaster offers! While plastic trim is lightweight and easy to install, genuine plaster crown molding creates stunning visual appeal in a home. Plaster is also easy to shape and mold around rounded corners and in odd nooks and crannies of a room, so your plaster restoration contractor can add crown molding in those spaces or simply shape plaster around odd corners without the risk of unsightly gaps.
Plaster also doesn’t feed mold, an important consideration for older Brooklyn homes prone to water leaks and resultant mold growth. Plaster is also far more fire resistant than drywall and wood trim, so your home is safer from damage if a fire should ever break out!
Probably the best advantage of plaster is its soft, pliable nature, allowing a plaster installation contractor to create decorative medallions, friezes, and other impressions. If your home lacks a certain style and visual appeal, new plaster installation is an excellent way to add lots of detailing and charm. An experienced plaster installation contractor might suggest certain detailing appropriate for your home, or note how new plaster walls and ceilings are the perfect choice for restoring your home’s prewar look and feel.
Adding plaster crown molding in a Brooklyn home can also be a simple, affordable way to create a more historic look in your house. Keeping that molding in good repair also ensures your home always looks its best no matter its age and overall condition.