Master Plaster

Round 2 with the plaster washers came when faced with a large crack in the plaster of our master bedroom wall. Well, one of the walls. This one, to be precise.

master plaster before

I started securing the plaster along the crack with the plaster washers and it seemed to be working.


The crack seemed to be puckering a little but everything was getting slathered with joint compound anyway, so who the heck cares. Confident in the success of our perforated metal friends, I left the job in the very capable hands of our friends.


I love a woman who brings her own power tools. <3.


They set out dutifully screwing plaster washers in while I went merrily along my way to do something else.

Plaster washering

A little later, I learn that it’s not all going as planned. Like with the parlor wall, we hit a particularly bad spot. The plaster washer sunk completely in and disappeared into a hole about the size of a quarter.

bad spot in our master plaster

With our recent plaster removal session fresh in our minds, we decided to go 4′ up from the baseboards, rip out the plaster, and replace it with drywall. It seemed like such a good idea at the time.

We laid out plastic to protect our newly refinished floors.


We unscrewed all the plaster washers and a straight cut was made 4′ up from the baseboards.


And off came the plaster.


While the wall was open, we took the opportunity to move the one outlet over a little and install another outlet on the right side of the wall.


This is where our master bed will eventually reside and, over the years, we’ve discovered that we need power on both sides of the bed. The hubs & I each keep our respective laptops on our respective bedside tables. Plus 2 bedside lamps, an alarm clock, and phone charger(s)… yeesh, maybe we should add more.

The plaster is about 3/4″ thick up at cut, so the plan was to install 2-3/8″ sheets of drywall on top of each other. We cut the first piece out and realized – like everything else – it’s not going to be that simple.


Sunday we discovered that, while the space in 3/4″ thick up at the seam, it’s only 3/8″ down at the baseboard. Awesome. We have a wavy wall. It wasn’t noticeable with the plaster because the artisans who originally did it smoothed everything out so it looked even. We don’t get the same forgiveness with drywall of a uniform thickness.

After working all day Saturday and planning on getting this up Sunday, it was a frustrating discovery. The list said it should be done that weekend but it just wasn’t happening. We decided to walk away from it for the week and percolate on solutions.

Although we did add some lathe back on the studs, so we’re ready to go.

master lathe

The new solution?

We are going to try using a single thicker piece of drywall, 1/2″ or maybe even 5/8″; depending on what we have to work with at the top of the baseboard. It’ll probably be a little thick down at the baseboards and a little shallow up at the seam. We’re going to fake it at the seam by building it up with thin layers of joint compound. It’ll take several applications but I’m hopeful.

We might even add a center (third!) outlet for bedside lamps. Why not?! The walls open and my on call electrician (Dad) will be there Saturday.

3rd outlet?

Looking back, it might have been better to just replace the bad part around the outlet. We would have preserved more of the original plaster and wouldn’t have had to deal with this varying thickness issue. That said, now we get to add more outlets with the room really needs. It’s done now, so there’s no changing it but they are things we’ll consider in the future. (Cause you KNOW we’re going to hit more bad spots.) In this case though, I think the thickness headache will be worth it for the added outlets.

Thanks Nick & T. V. !! You guys were SUCH a huge help.

Nick & Taline

UPDATE! I forgot to include their picture. Oops! Here it is.

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8 Responses to Master Plaster

  1. tv says:

    I had the WORST feeling when we were tearing out the original wall that it would be that uneven. At least you guys can now have luxury of three outlets (i am actually jealous).

  2. Katherine says:

    Your patience with these projects astounds me. I find it difficult to attempt something, have it go wrong, then WAIT for a few days to re-tackle it. So kudos to you. Just discovered your blog btw, and am loving it. I’m an armchair renovator and this has been really fun to watch.

  3. Kim says:

    I’m jealous about the outlets too. We have the same needs – at least one outlet on each side, possibly more.

  4. Sara says:

    UGH – I totally feel your pain with this one, I also have a very close relationship with joint compound! If the wall turns out a little more uneven than you would like, there is always my favorite option for concealment – beadboard, tongue and groove or picture mouldings. That would be especially beautiful as a large ‘headboard’ for your bed.

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