Applying plaster can be a difficult and frustrating job if you lack experience, yet with proper tools and techniques, it is still possible to achieve professional-looking results.

Make sure to begin your project with a clean bucket and keep your trowel and hawk wet at all times to prevent dried plaster flakes from destabilising its smooth surface.

Tools

As you work, it is crucial to keep your tools clean. Doing this helps prevent plaster from coming loose on trowels or buckets while also guaranteeing a superior finish that lasts over time. Make time to keep everything spotlessly clean, even if it takes longer than doing everything all at once!

Experienced plasterers advise using a drill equipped with a paddle attachment for mixing large batches of plaster, as it will set faster. However, water should be slowly added to prevent contamination that may cause it to go off or set too quickly.

Prior to allowing the skim coat to set, a plasterer will use a clean trowel to carefully smooth its surface by removing any bumps and filling in any dips (cat faces). Next, they scour with either wood or metal floats while lightly spraying water from a spray bottle; this strengthens and makes the plaster surface more resistant to cracking.

Techniques

Plastering may appear simple enough at first glance, but it requires considerable expertise and experience for optimal results. Uninformed homeowners will likely make costly errors; on the other hand, professionals have been trusted with providing their customers with superior finishes.

Plastering walls is a difficult and time-consuming task, particularly around corners. To ensure a flawless result and avoid uneven or gapped walls, use a damp brush to gently smooth over any rough spots in the surface and help the plaster set and dry properly.

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After your skim coat has set, use your trowel to flatten out any holes or dents using natural sunlight as a guide, leaving most ridges to even out as the plaster sets. A well-lit workspace is important as plaster dries quickly; natural daylight would be preferable, though ladders or scaffolding may be needed if working on ceilings.

Preparation

Plastering is the foundation for paint and wallpaper applications, making a solid finish essential. Plastering can be a challenging task to master, requiring patience, care, and precision, as well as access to the necessary equipment such as trowels, bucket trowels, hawk boards, and corner trowels, as well as a stepladder or stilts, to complete efficiently and effectively.

Expert plasterers recommend scraping the wall with a devilling float before applying the first coat of plaster to ensure that subsequent layers can adhere more quickly. Furthermore, it’s vital that tools are kept clean, as plaster dries quickly; keeping tools free from contaminants or dried chunks can wreak havoc with your smooth finish and ruin it altogether.

Spray plastering is a quick and efficient method for applying plaster, shortening project completion time significantly while decreasing callbacks and revisions to save you money in the long run.

Cost

Plaster walls tend to be more costly than their painted drywall counterparts, yet they often last longer and look better than either option. Though more labour-intensive and complex to apply than drywall ceilings, most homeowners can successfully put them up provided they follow certain key guidelines.

Clean tools are key to creating an impressive plaster finish. Plaster dries rapidly, and any bits of dried plaster in your tools could create uneven surfaces that compromise a flawless surface finish. Therefore, keep a bucket of water handy and regularly wash your tools as they become dirty.

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Once the first pass of plaster has set (which can be difficult to determine due to product and weather factors like humidity), a plasterer should sprinkle water onto the wall in order to stall its setting and form a slip, which allows him or her to work out lumps and inconsistencies more quickly and easily. Doing this as soon as possible ensures that too much hardening takes place before trowelling can begin again later.