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I have a spot on my wall where a significant amount of paint has bubbled up and pealed away revealing the plaster underneath. The total area is about 10 inches wide at the widest point and a couple feet from bottom of the damaged area to the top.

There was obviously a roof leak, and we've had our roof replaced so the leak is gone. Now I want to patch this area so it all ends up nicely finished and flush.

I'm assuming the plaster has now dried out and can just be patched/filled and brought flush with the rest of the wall. It's probably no more than 1/4" deep at the lowest spots where the old plaster is showing. And then it feathers out to surface depth (hope that makes sense).

What is the best kind of material to use for this kind of wall patching job? And what are the tricks to getting it on right so it looks like new again?

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    Where this patch is going, is it just lathe and plaster, sheetrock, etc? Is it smooth, in good condition? – BrownRedHawk Oct 28 '15 at 18:06
  • The surface below is plaster/lathe, with one very small area where you can see the lathe, but the rest appears that the plaster is in relatively solid condition, but not necessarily smooth. I took out all the loose materials already. – cartesianJoin Oct 28 '15 at 18:11
  • BrownRedHawk's suggestion of using lightweight joint compound worked out great (so far). The finish is baby-butt smooth and the paint applied great over the patch and the rest of the surfaces. Thank you BrownRedHawk. I found out afterward that there's something call quick fill or something along those lines, that might have been able to fill in the whole area in one application, but that'll have to wait for the next time. – cartesianJoin Dec 10 '15 at 22:34
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My personal suggestion is self adhesive fiberglass drywall tape, and lightweight joint compound. The tape can be laid on very thin, but provides some support and structure to the whole area. It can even be ordered in relatively wide sizes that almost seem designed for this kind of patch.

The lightweight joint compound comes (nearly) ready to use and can be troweled very thin and even. I suggest several thin light coats, with plenty of drying time between to avoid cracking from shrinking. Sand flush, then seal/prime the whole ceiling and paint to your desired color.

  • Took your advice and giving this a go. Could only find the tape is a narrow width so I put in several overlapping strips. Looks good so far but it appears that some of the underlying plaster color is "bleeding through" the joint compound. Will the sealer make sure that this doesn't come through to the paint layer? – cartesianJoin Nov 2 '15 at 17:07
  • The sealer really is meant to keep your next coat of paint from softening or dissolving your joint compound. A good paint will cover after sealing. If you're really concerned about it showing through (reds underneath a light blue for instance) I'd opt for some kilz or MadDog primer or similar – BrownRedHawk Nov 2 '15 at 20:21
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    BrownRedHawk, your suggestion worked out great. I did 4-5 layers of lightweight joint compound in the damaged area and sanded it in smooth with the rest of the area and it looks great. It took a while to get the right amount of fill and sanding it to get a smooth finish but I couldn't be happier with the results. Thanks! – cartesianJoin Dec 10 '15 at 22:30
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    @cartesianJoin Great work. It certainly isn't the quickest way to patch, but like in many cases patience pays off! – BrownRedHawk Dec 11 '15 at 13:03

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