“Penny wise, pound foolish”

A customer mentioned the cost of Plaster Magic to me.

My Response:

Being from Rural New England thrift comes second nature to me.”

With historic house you must time long term. Plaster is a multi-generational material so let’s fix right the first time.
OK, your plaster has spent 100 years getting to its current condition, likely 100 years of deferred maintenance. Of course it will take time and money to roll back those years. But the cost divided out over those 100 years becomes very inexpensive.

Yes I could make Plaster Magic much less expensive. Making Plaster Magic with high quality adhesive components of the stickiest kind and developing a conditioner that penetrates and consolidates the dust and debris found within the plaster/lath cavity costs money or I could have added basically dust to become cheap like the other manufacturers.

These are the before and after images of water leak damage. The plaster was falling down. Many would have suggested an expensive rip down and replace. Talk about expensive!

Using the Plaster Magic method to repair plaster takes half the time and repairs it forever. Half the time! half the mess! Half the cost! WHEN YOU DO IT YOURSELF, EVEN LESS MONEY!!!

I wanted to make the best possible product that would deliver as promised, backed by my 35 years of experience repairing historic plaster.
I didn’t just puzzle this out last weekend. There is are important reasons for the choices that went into the methods and materials of Plaster Magic.



Just because the technical material says it works on plaster doesn’t mean it works inside the dusty historic plaster/lath system. Plaster Magic is the ONLY one that works.

Instruction #1. The fine print says some variation of:
Ensure surfaces to be bonded are clean, dry, structurally sound and free of frost, dust, grease, oil, and other foreign contaminants.
Application: surfaces must be clean, dry and free of foreign materials.
Ensure surfaces to be bonded are clean, dry, structurally sound and free of dust, grease, oil, and other foreign contaminants.

Knowing the plaster/lath system and how the components interrelate over time is important to consider how long your repair will last.

Old buildings expand and contract of the years, often from the effects of temperature and/or humidity. The effect of this movement upon the plaster/lath system is the lath acts like a saw, abrading the plaster (and keys), creating lots of dust and sand. This need to be compensated for in the repair. This is where the Plaster Magic system shines, what it was designed for doing. The surfaces the adhesive bonds to are firm, consolidated, solid and flexible with a soft shoulder (read no shear line). The Plaster Magic system moves with the historic building, keeping the plaster in-place and well attached. Assuming there are no other structural issues, plaster repaired this way will last forever



Why Plaster Magic Conditioner is so important!

Most of our customers are tackling repairs that are a result of 100 years of deferred maintenance. In many ways this is a testament to the skill of the original craftsmen, the materials they used and the solidity of the existing architecture that has lasted this long.
With Plaster Magic you are buying a product based on over thirty five years of my experience repairing plaster in some of the most significant historic houses in the country. This is not a remove and replace product.
Not only does the technique and materials satisfy conservation and preservation qualifications but it is the most cost effective method of repair by being the ONLY product that actually fixes what’s wrong with the plaster. Being a Vermont Yankee, thrift means a lot to me.
Manipulating materials found on the hardware shelf (excepting Plaster Magic) to look like they might work, well you might save a few bucks, but isn’t a recipe for success.
Using a diluted plaster bonding agent, wood glue, white glue, Elmer’s, etc. (PVA) instead of Plaster Magic Conditioner will do two things. First, it will void the warrantee covered by the white glue which doesn’t cover dilution. Second, it won’t consolidate the dust and debris on the interior plaster surface or lath. It will just sit on the surface, clinging to the dust and eventually peel away. Third, being chemically related to Plaster Magic Adhesive, the Plaster Magic Conditioner is designed to work in conjunction and bond    with our Plaster Magic Adhesive and using anything else in place of the Plaster Magic Conditioner not only won’t work but voids our warrantee as well.

Step one: Drill holes to access space between the plaster and lath. (that’s where the problems start!)

Step two: Inject or spray Plaster Magic Conditioner into the holes consolidating the plaster and lath.

Step three: Inject the Plaster Magic Adhesive into the conditioned holes. Its a good sign when it comes out the crack.

Step four: Clamp the plaster to within 3/16″ of the lath. Remove screws and washers after a minimum of 24 hours.

Watch Rory Brennan on This Old House install a plaster medallion with Norm Abram

Program #2921
Roxbury Project 5 of 10
Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 1:30pm ET (check local listings)

Despite the bitter cold, landscape contractor Roger Cook works with a group of students from YouthBuild Boston to spread soil and put down sod in the backyard. Meanwhile, fence contractor Mike McLaughlin and his crew install a PVC privacy fence along the perimeter of the yard. Inside, master carpenter Norm Abram and lead carpenter Colin Paterson are adding some period charm to the bay window area by installing custom casings and paneling. The house’s existing plaster ceiling medallions were beyond repair, so Norm brings back Preservation Plasterer Rory Brennan to replicate them on site. Fortunately, the originals were nearly identical to the medallions from the Charlestown project years ago, so Rory mixes up some plaster and pours a new medallion from the Charlestown mold. Afterward, they install a completed casting in the front parlor. At the end of the day, the fence is nearly complete and the sod is finished, thanks to our group of intrepid apprentices

Listen to Rory Brennan talk about Big Wally’s Plaster Magic and Plaster Repair

Check out Big Wally’s Plaster Magic product review on Jack Dever’s Home Solutions Show, WELW-1330 AM. Willoughby, OH.

Listen to an interview with Jack Dever and Rory Brennan, President and Founder of Big Wally’s Plaster Magic on March 27, 2010 8:05 AM EST. Please join us!