Ceiling putty: features and process technology

If you are doing DIY repairs for the first time, you may be faced with a very controversial situation regarding the putty. Each specialist has his own vision of where, when and what kind of putty should be used. Let’s take a closer look at this issue..


Putty is very often confused with plaster. And then they use these concepts at the same time, as synonyms. This is not entirely true, since the putty has a more complex composition and a homogeneous texture. In addition to the base, various additives are added to it that increase the hardness and plasticity. A granular solution is sometimes called plaster..

Confusion often arises when the words “putty” and “putty” are used. They can replace each other when we talk about the application process. But if we are talking about building material, it would be more correct to use the word “putty”.

This name came from tow, which caulked the joints between logs or boards, to the emergence of modern building materials..

This building material performs the following functions:

  • evens out the surface (this is important when the decorative coating is applied in a thin layer, under which all the imperfections of the ceiling will be visible);
  • increases the strength of the working surface;
  • improves adhesion to subsequent coating, can replace the primer;
  • saves building materials, such as wallpaper glue or paint, as they spread more evenly and do not absorb into the ceiling base;
  • is an ideal base for colored materials, as it covers well any colored or dark base;
  • certain types can be an independent decorative ceiling covering.


All putty according to the form of release can be divided into:

  • finished;
  • requiring preparation.

Ready-made solutions are suspensions that can be used immediately after purchase. Of course, this form of release is more convenient, it saves time and effort. Part of the mixture can be removed at any time and applied to the desired location..

Dry mixes require dilution. This, of course, is less convenient, since each portion must be kneaded separately. But on the other hand, you can control the consistency – this is a definite plus when work is carried out on the ceiling and a too liquid solution will stain everything around. In addition, in a dry state, subject to the necessary conditions, the shelf life is practically unlimited. And this option is cheaper..

In turn, dry ceiling plaster can be diluted with water or solvent. This largely depends on the base surface, as well as the properties of the mixture..

    On the use of fillers for the ceiling there are:

    • Basic. It is used to fill large dents or to level the height differences of the ceiling relative to the floor or corners, walls. For this, formulations with large particles are more suitable, this will allow them to be applied in a thicker layer..
    • Finishing. The purpose of its application is to create a perfectly smooth layer on which the decorative finish will subsequently be attached. It does not require sanding and leveling due to the fact that it is applied in thin layers and consists of smaller particles.
    • Special. They are used when, in addition to leveling, the putty layer must perform a protective function – be especially strong, moisture-proof, heat-resistant.

    You can also find a universal putty. It combines the properties of all three of the above and is used in almost any conditions. The convenience of this option is obvious. The only disadvantage is the high cost.

      The putty can be classified according to its composition.. Depending on the basic substance, there are three types..

      1. Gypsum – less durable, deforms under the influence of water. But it differs in environmental friendliness, vapor permeability, ease of application, quick drying. Due to its availability, it is the most demanded.
      2. Cement – rarely used for the ceiling in residential premises due to the rough texture, density of the material and gray color. Applied in a thick layer, it protects the ceiling well from external influences, both mechanical and chemical.
      3. Synthetic – based on polymers. Possesses the highest rates of ductility and strength.

      It is divided into:

      • acrylic;
      • latex;
      • oil;
      • glue;
      • shakril;
      • nitro putty.

      Of course, the composition contains additives that help the mixtures to dry quickly, lay firmly on almost any substrate and be used in different conditions..

      Which one to choose?

      The choice of putty is influenced by several interrelated factors at once:

      • Skill level. Professionals are able to navigate well the formulations, their features and understand how and where to use them. It is important for a beginner to weigh all the advantages and disadvantages of mixtures and, through trial and error, put them into practice. If the choice is not easy, you can choose a universal brand.
      • Budget. Unfortunately, this nuance sometimes becomes decisive. Therefore, it is so important to assess the value for money before opting for cheaper options. If you have to redo all the work, the costs will double.
      • Manufacturer. Verified brands with good reviews always have advantages over lesser known brands. The mixtures of Ceresit, Caparol, “Volma”, “Master”, Knauf are in demand..

      • Decorative coating. Not all brands of putty are suitable for wallpaper, tiles or painting. Therefore, if you have already decided how the ceiling will look like, check the compatibility of all finishing layers..
      • The scale of the work to be done. If the base of the ceiling is level enough, it is not necessary to putty the entire area. Sufficient topical application. And the volume of purchased products, respectively, should be small. If you plan to continue finishing, give preference to dry material – using part of it, the leftovers can be saved for a long time.
      • Planned time. Sometimes it’s important to get the job done quickly. A quick-drying option is a mixture based on gypsum, and polymer compositions take the longest time..
      • Place in the apartment. A bathroom or a room without constant heating requires special materials. In the living room, almost any option will do.
      • Security. In a living room, and especially in a children’s room, it is important to use the most environmentally friendly, odorless and harmful impurities for the body. Therefore, when choosing, it is important to check the documentation.

      Application area

      The choice of one or another type of putty depends on the material from which the floor is made, its cladding or finishing (if any):

      • Concrete plates. Most often, they are perfectly flat surfaces, therefore they do not require leveling, and their strength does not need to be improved with additional protective layers. Individual potholes, cracks, chips can be spotted.
      • Drywall. As a sheet material, it does not require alignment. Joints, screw caps and other holes should be processed separately. A polymer solution will help to increase waterproofing. Discussions about the need to putty the entire surface of such a ceiling have been going on for a long time. There is still no definite answer. Experts still advise to carry out this procedure in order to protect the sheets themselves from the penetration of paint or glue into them and subsequent deformation, as well as damage to the paper outer layer if wallpaper or paint is removed from it. To prevent the gypsum board from getting soaked by the putty itself, you should use the option on an anhydrous basis or first apply a layer of primer.
      • Wood, as well as products from wood fraction (chipboard or fiberboard) also need protection from moisture. It will not be superfluous to use a non-combustible mixture. Special attention should be paid to the places of joints and fasteners, they should not be visible, especially if thin wallpaper or paint will be used.

      Not all finished ceilings can be putty. Porous or textured bases for application will be ideal, since such a layer is connected to them more firmly. Finishing putty can be used to cover plaster. But on smooth enamel, it simply will not hold. Some soundproofing materials and insulation are banned for the same reason..

      The same type of putty cannot be used in rooms for different purposes (for example, in a living room and a boiler room), since the microclimate in them will be different. The presence of sources of moisture, heating, drafts must be taken into account.

      In dry living rooms, you can use the simplest gypsum-based compounds. If the dwelling is constantly humid, it is necessary that the resulting layer be vapor-proof. In the same tree, moisture, accumulating, can not only lead to deformation, but also contributes to the growth of fungus and the appearance of mold..

      In unheated rooms, acrylic and other polymer mixtures will be the best option. They do not shrink, tolerate temperature extremes well and provide a reliable protective layer.

      Surface preparation

      The preparatory stage often determines how the repair work will be carried out, as well as their effectiveness. Therefore, you do not need to neglect it..

      First you need:

      1. Clear the room from objects that may interfere with free movement. The remaining objects, as well as windows and floors, must be covered with foil.
      2. Remove the ceiling plinth, lamps. Apply masking tape along the perimeter of the ceiling.
      3. Prepare a ladder or make temporary scaffolding (for example, from stools and planks), so that it is convenient for you to work with the ceiling.
      4. Prepare putty tools:
        • spatulas (it is better to purchase two or three different widths) – stainless and rubber;
        • spatulas for forming external and internal corners;
        • rule;
        • level;
        • construction float or sandpaper (with their help, sanding is carried out).

        Directly preparing the stream is carried out as follows:

        1. If there is a structure made of gypsum board or chipboard on the ceiling, you need to give it time to shrink. All building materials must dry well. Only in this way the putty will lie flat, will not crack and fall off.
        2. Old decorative coatings such as whitewash, paint, wallpaper or tiles must also be removed. A spatula is best for this. A layer of glue or whitewash is pre-moistened with water, it is easier to remove the wet mass. All dirt, stains and even dust must also be removed..
        3. Particular attention should be paid to the joints. They must be thoroughly cleaned, cut off the edge, forming a shallow chamfer. Glue is placed in the resulting recess..
        4. Before applying the putty, the ceiling is treated with a primer. It is applied with a brush or roller – first in hard-to-reach places, and then over the entire area..

        Open the finished mixture or make a solution immediately before using it. For dilution, it is necessary to observe the proportions that are written on the package..

        Preparation of putty on water is as follows:

        • a dry mixture is gradually added to a container with clean warm water;
        • it should be stirred with a construction mixer, a perforator with a nozzle or any clean improvised means until a homogeneous mass is obtained;
        • after that, the resulting solution should be infused for about ten minutes, it must be mixed again and used.

        You can prepare the putty yourself. For oil, you will need 2 kg of powder chalk, 1 kg of drying oil and 100 g of a means for quick hardening (desiccant). For glue – a solution of wood glue (five percent), gypsum and twice as much chalk. Components are added by eye to obtain a viscous mass.

        Work algorithm

        There is nothing difficult in applying putty, but as in any other business, the speed and accuracy of execution comes with experience. Therefore, beginners can be advised to first practice on unnecessary sheet building materials or a wall..

        On the ceiling we putty bumps, grooves of self-tapping caps, joints and cracks, as well as corners (if the ceiling is multi-tiered). To remove and strengthen them, special corners are purchased. Puttying will help to hide them. Such a local putty can replace one or two layers, which means it saves material..

        Cracks need to be widened, deepened and filled with a small spatula. For filling large areas with a narrow spatula, apply to a wide required amount of starting solution. We distribute it along the wall so that we get a layer of the desired thickness.

        For the first layer, you do not need to follow any special application technique. Better to start from the corner. The spatula is usually held at an angle. In order not to get waves or bumps, all subsequent portions are overlapped.

        Alignment occurs using a wide metal or wood rule. If the planned layer must be dense, it will be difficult to completely apply it immediately. And aligning the resulting streaks and layering is even more difficult. Let there be two or three layers.

        In the corners, you need to use special corner fixtures. Distribution of the solution by them requires skill, but the coating is smoother..

        Control is needed as layers are stacked. It is done using a level. Ideally, streaks, streaks and trowel marks should not be visible on the hardened surface. Slightly they can be eliminated by sanding with a float or sandpaper..

        The finishing putty is applied in a very thin layer and its main function is not leveling, but creating a smooth coating. Therefore, it cannot radically affect existing defects. It is applied in two directions at once. It is better to start from the window in accordance with the incidence of sunlight.


        • The finished solution will last longer if each time after taking a part of it, close the lid tightly and wrap the container with foil.
        • The diluted composition can be poured with water, and before use, drain the settled liquid and mix well. Stir thoroughly and for at least 10 minutes.
        • The consistency of the solution should resemble thick sour cream. Liquid is difficult to apply, there will definitely be drops and splashes. Thick, however, will not adhere well to the base and flake off..
        • The faster the solution dries, the smaller the portion size needs to be prepared..
        • Each subsequent layer should be applied after the previous one has dried. That is, after the applied one becomes uniform in color and wet dark spots completely disappear from it.

        • You can speed up the drying process by maintaining a mode with low humidity and temperatures above room temperature in the room. It is better not to use heat guns and other heating devices..
        • Defects during installation should be detected using a lamp, bringing it from the side. In general, good lighting is important for any installation work..
        • When applying water-based paints or glue, the putty can get wet and crumble. To prevent this from happening, you need to take into account the type of decorative coating. If necessary, use a waterproof putty or at least apply a primer before painting and let it dry.
        • In some cases, for example, when finishing with panels, it is not necessary to putty the ceiling at all.
        • If the difference in height is more than a centimeter, it is better to use plaster as a base..

        For information on how to properly putty the ceiling, see the following video.

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