Repair of plaster cracks is job amateurs can do themselves

Q. Fifteen years ago, our living and dining rooms were painted with an oil-based paint. After many washings the paint maintained a good appearance, but now plaster cracks must be repaired and the rooms repainted. What is a good brand of latex paint? Can an amateur repair plaster cracks, and what product should be used?? Naomi G. Taylor Canton, Ohio

A. You will have no trouble painting with latex over oil-based paint, provided dust and dirt are first removed. Buy use only top-of-the-line paint from a good company in your area, or any quality nationally advertised brand.

An amateur can indeed do satisfactory plaster crack-filling. Use a good grade of spackling paste. Follow directions on the label. Avoid leaving any crack filler on the wall surface along the edges of the cracks.

A texture rag such as a turkish towel brushed cross-wise at the cracks is a good way to prevent a filler build-up surface.

If you have a question on maintaining your house, send it to the real-estate editor, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, Mass. 02115. Forrest M. Holly is a longtime California builder now living in Arizona.

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