Plaster Cornices DIY Repairs: Mistakes that Should be Avoided

Blog |April 16th, 2019

Plaster cornices have been a mainstay of interior and exterior aesthetics since the time of the Ancient Greeks. This popularity persisted until late into the Industrial Revolution and dwindled sometime during the early 1960s and on-wards.

However, in recent years, there has been a growing revival of interest in plaster cornices for both interior and exterior applications. This is mostly due to the rise of machine-made moulded plaster, which allows for cheaper but no less ornate plaster fittings to be manufactured en-mass.

Today, it is easier than ever before to restore old plaster cornices and mouldings, and even easier to obtain modern exemplars that evoke the elegance of older examples, without the need to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars. The ready availability of materials have even given rise to DIY plaster moulding.

This has allowed individuals to create or repair their own plaster mouldings, right in the comfort of their own home, with very little need for professional tools or specialised equipment.

Mistakes You Should Avoid During DIY Repairs of Plaster Cornices

If you are looking to repair a plaster cornice by yourself, then there are some important things to keep in mind, such as:

• Retain a mould of the original – if you have a piece that is too broken down to be patched up, but it has a duplicate piece, retain a moulding of the duplicate. In the absence thereof, the original, no matter how broken down it is, will help in the later remodelling of your cornice.

• Invest in high-quality plaster – always invest in high-quality plaster. While you may think you are saving money by purchasing cheap plaster, it will only do yourself more harm than good. That is because cheap plaster easily breaks down and may contain impurities that will make the casting or moulding very difficult.

• Do not replace antique plaster with modern alternatives – it cannot be stressed enough that if you have antique plasterwork, always endeavour to restore it or have a professional do it for you. Never replace antique plaster with modern alternatives in the hopes that it will ‘look fine’. Chances are, it will look off, and you will have wasted an investment.

• Don’t remove details in your plaster – no matter how ‘beyond repair’ a plaster piece is, avoid the urge to remove or chip away at details in the plasterwork. Any extant details can go a long way to help in its restoration.

If you find that DIY-ing is difficult because of the date, intricacy, or the overall state of your plaster cornice, seek professional help from Hopkins Plaster Studio.

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