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Our house was built in 1941, so all original walls are plaster (I'm assuming lath and plaster?). This is true for the bathroom in question. The walls in this bathroom are plaster, and are painted with latex paint. Where the shower curtain rod is in contact with the wall, the plaster has begun to break away, most likely due to continued exposure to moisture. I noticed this when I went to swap out the rod for a new one, and began to peel some of the bubbling paint away. See the picture for detailed shots.

My question is what I should use to repair this damage. I've read that normal spackling can be used to repair minor plaster damage, but is that best to use in a moist bathroom setting? Or do I need to go the route of dry mix plaster that I smooth over?

And as a side question, if there are any suggestions for what I could do to not have the shower rod in direct contact with the wall, that would also be appreciated. Thanks.

Shower1 Shower2 Shower3 Shower4

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You need to remove all plaster that is moisture damaged. By the time that is done, it is well beyond a spackle patch job, it requires re-plastering. Dry mix would work of course, though I would expect that pre-mixed patching plaster would be available in most areas. Damage is because water got past the paint film. Any installation that prevents water ingress should be fine as long as the paint is maintained. –  bcworkz Apr 9 at 17:39

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after replastering the damaged wall, you can use water-proof paint to protect the plaster. The items and materials used in bathroom and kitchen should be anti-moisture.

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