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How to repair plaster moldings / mouldings

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Getting Your Profile
in Shape 

How to Repair Plaster

by Pamela Cole Harris

If you have wonderful plaster moldings in
your home, count your blessings!
 If you
have plaster moldings in your home that seem vaguely reminiscent of

the ruins of Pompeii, I have only one thought:
“What did you do to deserve
this?”.  But
whatever shape your moldings are in, there are steps you can
to make them look as good as new.

 (A word of warning: this is not easy
and if you mess it up, I never knew you!):

If you have a lot of moldings to replace or repair in a room, consider

using polyurethane molding instead.
I know it’s
not historically correct,
but it can
look just like plaster and will make your life easier.

If you
have an older home which has a section of damaged molding, there

two things you can do:

 • Remove the molding and replace it
all (See step 1 and take it to heart!)

 • Make a template of mylar to match
the molding profile and shape a
patch yourself.

3.  If the damaged section is over 12 inches long, replace all of the
rather than repair it. (I repeat, see step 1 and take it to


4.  If the damaged section is less than 12 inches long, use a profile gauge
to copy the profile to mylar. (They will know
what you are talking about
if you ask
at your home improvement store. If they don’t, I repeat: see

1 and take it to heart!)

The mylar needs to be stiffened by being
to a wood frame (It will look like a picture frame cut

to keep it stable. Cut the shape of the profile into the mylar

is away from the frame with a coping saw or jigsaw.

5.  Fill the section of molding you are replacing with patching plaster.
Small pieces of steel mesh can be used to
strengthen and support the
plaster if

6.  While the plaster is still wet, draw the mylar template over the
to shape the profile.

7.  Smooth the plaster carefully with a sponge, taking care not to destroy
the new profile shape.

8.  Let the plaster dry before you do your final finishing.

9.  Finish and shape the surface with fine grade sandpaper.

10.  Paint as desired

There! Take a deep breath! That wasn’t
too hard, was it?

Hey, now! What are
you doing to that profile gauge?

You just missed my ear! Hey! That’s
designer abuse! Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen will
hear about this!!!