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Many homeowners are faced with the problem of having unsightly cracks and damaged plasterboard in the ceilings and walls of their homes. This damage can be the result of movement, poor workmanship, water damage, abuse, or just a case of deterioration over time. The issue then arises of how to fix it and who to get to do the job.

Plasterboard and ceiling repairs are a specialized task that requires knowledge, skill and the right tools to do the job properly. If you can see the repair after it has been painted then it has not been done properly. The repair surface does not need to be flat but the edges do need to be feathered so that you cannot see a transition from new to old after the surface is painted. Even in new house work the plasterboard joins have a slight crown but provided the edges have been feathered then the flushed join will not be seen.

On many occasions I have visited houses that have had bad repairs done and the result is so clearly visible that I ask “when is person coming back to finish the job”. The awkward discussion usually leads to how the tradie was retired, had poor eyesight, how it was a big mistake or, why the owner should never have tried to do it himself. In most cases the homeowner just tried to do the job on the cheap.

In assessing the original problem, some knowledge is required to determine the best solution. In some cases, trades are happy to do the job in a slapdash manner. It makes the job easier and they know that in a few years someone will need to be called back to fix the cracks again. That could mean extra work. Sometimes the cause of the problem needs to be determined and other options such as movement joints or different fixing techniques need to be employed.

A good example of this is the installing cornices over existing surfaces. The cornice need to be fixed back to the raw material surface. This means scraping the paint back to the plaster or paper. If you do not do this you are relying on the bond of the paint to hold up the cornice. In the case of older houses that originally had calcimine paint, there is almost no bond and this often leads to the cornice falling down in a relatively short period.

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