Plaster walls in older homes are often plagued by cracks and other defects such as pitting and uneven texture. If cracks are simply filled with spackling or joint compound, they have a tendency to telegraph back through. To solve this problem, apply self-adhesive fiberglass mesh drywall tape over the crack for reinforcement.
Cover the tape with several coats of joint compound to make the crack disappear. Mesh tape also helps prevent a ridge or “crown” from forming over the crack, as is often the case when traditional paper drywall tape is used.
If the walls have an uneven texture or are badly pitted, apply a thin skim coat of joint compound to the entire surface then sand the walls smooth.
To further enhance the look of the walls, an “orange peel” finish can be applied before painting. This is done by thinning the joint compound down and spraying it on the walls to even out any imperfections and give a textured look.