Workable fix for cracked cottage-cheese ceilings

By Lee (Los Angeles, CA )

Our home was moved onto its site; the seller covered up plaster cracks in the ceiling with the spray-on “cottage cheese” acoustic plaster ceiling that was popular in the 1970s. Minor house settling eventually opened a zigzag crack in the ceiling of one room, with “cottage cheese” plaster falling down and even some of the underlying plaster cracks visible.

I wanted to fix this acceptably while repainting the room, but did not want to remove all the “cottage cheese” and replaster the ceiling flat, which would have been an extensive project.

Instead I cleaned away the cracked material with my trusty old spackling screwdriver, used a premixed spackle, filled the cracks, and found that I could imitate the “cottage cheese” texture using a corner of my putty knife. I did that as I spackled along the crack line, then went back after the spackle dried and fixed up a few spots that were not textured enough. The result was pleasing and has stayed in place perfectly for 1-1/2 years despite a few Los Angeles mini-earthquakes (Richter 3-3.5).

I thought about painting the ceiling or just the patched area to make a perfect color match but decided it wasn’t really necessary.

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