You can replace the plaster crown molding, but it will cost you –


D: Our plumber had to cut two holes in the ceiling of the dining room and remove a section of original plaster moldings to evaluate, access and repair the bathroom plumbing on the second floor. Although I am grateful that we will not have to raise any of the nearly perfect 1913 hexagonal bathroom tiles, I have no idea where to go for replacement molding. Does this appear to be a "stock" design? Will we need to have a mold and a bespoke mold, or is it something we could do ourselves? Would it make sense to repair other areas of water damage in the room at the same time?


A: The molding of the plaster in your dining room was not cast separately and put into sections. The images you sent show that it was performed on site, that is, a plasterer pushed into the shape by executing a model with the opposite shape against the wet plaster.

The molding and ceiling can be patched in an authentic way to look like new, but it's not cheap. One reason is that even a small repair takes a long time. Another is that there are not many people who still know how to do it. One that does is Reggie Bullard, who has almost half a century of experience as a plasterer and does interior and exterior work throughout the D.C. area. through his company, R.T. Bullard in Woodbridge, It goes. (703-845-1565; ).

Bullard said he would first evaluate the situation. So you could answer your question about whether it would make sense to repair other areas of water damage at the same time. The inlay essentially lasts forever if it stays dry, but the water can make it friable and melted. He would need to understand if the other areas are stained or disintegrating.

To replicate the missing sections of the molding, it would have to copy the shape, then cut a rigid metal coupling profile. After filing the edge for a perfect fit, he would dress the blade with wooden reinforcements and a bottom piece, called a sled, that could slide against a straight rail screwed to the wall, under the existing molding.

First he would repair the ceiling, aiming to create a perfectly flat surface. "You need a real plane," he said. It often needs to widen the ceiling holes of another foot or so to get an area large enough for a smooth and level patch. A difference of more than one-sixteenth of an inch from the surrounding ceiling would be remarkable.

Although the older plaster was typically supported by thin strips of wood called laths, Bullard often fills behind it with metal strips. Then it spreads on plaster layers to model. It stiffens quickly – often in 10 or 15 minutes – so you can do more hands. But there is little chance of going back and correcting the details if they do not prove right the first time. The plaster dries hard; any inequality can not be smoothed after, unlike the drywall mud.

Bullard estimated that it would cost about $ 4000 to repair each of the holes shown in the photos you sent. D.L. Boyd in Hyattsville, Md. (800-383-0137; ), which also makes plaster repairs, offered a slightly lower estimate: $ 1,568 for a ceiling hole and $ 1,962 for the adjacent crown molding. For the estimates of both companies, obviously, you would need to have someone visit your house.

Given the cost of performing repairs in an authentic way, you may be tempted to perform the job yourself or look for other patching options. There are YouTube videos on how to repair the gypsum crown, but unless you have a particular talent, it may not be all right. Bullard said the do-it-yourself patches he saw seem "as if you allowed children to come in and do it with Play-Doh".

Likewise, it is contemptuous when trying to patch the molding with a ready molding piece, either of plastic like those made of expanded polystyrene or of those cast with glass-reinforced gypsum. Bullard said that these usually come out with the appearance of "sausage ties" joined together.

However, if you do not have thousands of dollars for repairs, you may be able to apply pieces that leave your dining room more beautiful than now and perhaps almost as new. RWM in Murray, Utah (801-268-2400; ) replicates crown molding and other plaster details with glass fiber-reinforced gypsum plaster. The fibers make the pieces strong enough to be shipped all over the world.

You or a contractor should cut out a full-width section four or five inches in length of each type of molding, or you could extend the existing saw cuts to get a full-width edge or slot where you could insert a piece of signage to track the profile. From this, RWM would create a custom mold, form the necessary lengths and send them by mail. Owner Dan Litson has estimated the cost of $ 1,300 plus shipping if you have a single molding profile, as you think you can. If you need two molds, add $ 550. The estimate is based on a four-foot molding hypothesis for one hole and two feet for the other; it also includes the packaging of the parts for shipping. Expert plasterboard contractors who have undergone a series of renovations typically have the know-how to clean the holes, apply the patch on the ceiling, install the molding sections and chamfer the joints. Litson states that RWM can offer installation recommendations if necessary.

Just do not ask the plumber to handle any aspect of the repair. It's too late now, but it's possible that you avoided much of the damage if you had called someone with a restoration mindset to make the initial cuts. A remodeling contractor or a plasterer could try to cut through the ceiling just to see if that access was sufficient. Alternatively, they could have cut out the mold in one piece, so that it could be reinstalled later or at least used to create a model or a mold. When plumbers cut walls or other surfaces, the holes are often not beautiful.


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