I got some more DIY over the weekend – using cornice cement to fix a hole in a door. Cornice cement and 1/3 of the instructions were DIY Dad’s idea, the rest I had to work out as I went along.
From the looks of it, the previous repairer cut out a piece of styrofoam to fill an old lock or handle in the door, then puttied up either side of it.
With nothing to hold the putty slabs in place and the door having reasonable use, eventually one of the putty slabs fell out exposing the styrofoam. Yay for that professional look.
Luckily, because there was a lock or handle there, the cylinder I was about to fill had a side indent (where the latch would have gone). What that meant was that as long as whatever I used to fill it also filled that cavity, the side indent will chock the cylinder of fill in place. i.e. it will act to lock the fill in place, unlike the styrofoam and putty cylinder which basically had nothing to lock into and was therefore bound to eventually fall out.
If that divot had not been there, I could have hammered some nails into the cylinder bit as a solve to make sure that the filler did not fall out the first time I closed the door…or the tenth time.
First thing to do, was to cover one side of the hole with masking tape (at that point the instructions from DIY Dad ended, but once I was in the midst of the work I realised what else I needed to do):
Then you need to cover the other side to about half way with masking tape (from the bottom up). The cornice cement is like a thick creamy ganache filling for a cake, it’s relatively firm but it is sloppy and it will not stay in place without something to hold it. Hence the tape on two sides.
You are going to fill into the little container you have created with the masking tape. When you reach almost to the top of the half way, you are going to lay another struip of masking tape down, making your container higher – you’ll keep doing this for as long as you need till you get to almost the top.
Unless you are smart and buy a piping bag and pipe in the cornice cement, you are going to need room to get your spatula in to fill the cavity. That’s why you tape half the way up and then tape as you go (wipe the excess cornice cement off with a damp cloth and then tape, if you want the tape to adhere).
The trick is to overfill so that your masking tape bulges out a little at the sides – that way when you put that last bit of tape on, you can put some pressure on the filler and it will expand upwards to fill that last little bit of air. I taped everything down and then used two pieces of thick cardboard and a C Clamp to apply some pressure to squidge that filler upwards:
I took the C Clamp off after about 2 hours as I needed to close the door. I left the filler 24 hours to dry with the tape on and then I peeled it off to see how I went:
It’s not totally straight, I will have to sand and then apply a bit of putty. But it is still 100% ahead of where it was.
Not bad for a first attempt on minimal instruction 😉