Take great care to avoid damaging pipes and cables. As a precaution switch off electricity at the mains while working. Holes in the wall. In the case of plaster:
1. Break off loose plaster by tapping gently with a hammer.
2. Undercut plaster edges with a trimming knife.
3. Brush away loose plaster.
4. Soak edges with water.
5. Fill the hole with a layer of undercoat plaster, smoothing it to *in. (3 mm) below the wall surface.
6. Add a skim of finishing plaster and polish smooth with a flat metal float.
Cracks in the wall. As new houses dry out and “settle”, cracks, particularly at wall and ceiling edges, commonly occur. Fill them with a proprietary filler and smooth off.
Holes in a plasterboard ceiling. Fill a small hole with a proprietary filler. For a larger hole, make a key by sticking scrim coarse woven cloth) over the hole with dabs of plaster. When plaster dabs are half set, build up plaster layers over the scrim. Smooth when the final layer is nearly set. For a very large hole, nail pieces of wood to the joists to make a frame for the hole. Cut a new piece of plasterboard to fit the gap and nail it to the frame. Cover joins with tape and re-plaster or resurface.
Holes in a lath and plaster ceiling. For small holes use a proprietary filler. For larger holes, cut back crumbling edges, tap large-headed nails into laths to give a key and ‘fill with proprietary filler or suitable plaster.
Cracks between sections of a plasterboard ceiling may widen. You should remove any original tape and replace it with new tape before applying a skim of plaster or other ceiling finish.
Stains in the ceiling. Treat the cause at source. Check for a leaking roof, damaged water tank, pipes or radiators. Allow stained ceiling plaster to dry out. Bare the plaster and apply two coats of aluminium sealing paint. Redecorate when dry.
Replacing a skirting board
Remove an old skirting board by using a procedure similar to that for removing a picture rail.
Replace a skirting board like this:
1. Mark positions of any pipes or cables
2. Attach new skirting either with nails knocked straight into the wall or with skirting nails driven into wooden plugs or battens.
3. Measure the lengths of skirting you need and saw them.
4. Position each length of skirting and nail it in.
Vinyl skirtings (plain or coved to give an unbroken line at the junction of wall and floor) particularly complement vinyl flooring.