Plastering is a specialist job most people today prefer to leave to the pros. But if you feel you’re quite handy when it comes to functional DIY projects and you understand how to work in a slow, methodical and neat manner, this step-by-step guide to plastering will ease you into the job. Hopefully, the finished result will appear as though a professional finished it.
To begin with, below is a list of products you will need to carry out the work correctly.
Dust sheets and dust masks, Display tape to cover the joints, Cutting knife, Plasterer’s trowel and hawk, Plasterer’s float, Deviling float, PVA glue, emulsion roller and tray, Corner Beading, Clout nails, Board Finish plaster, Two buckets (one for plaster and one for water)., Stirring rod or mixer, Cloth/rags and spray gun for wall moistening, Don’t forget this step by step guide to plastering.
Follow this step-to-step guide to get the best finish when attempting to plaster for the first time. Being thorough, patient and methodical is essential. A rushed job will most probably be a lousy job.
Step 1: Planning
Before you begin working on your walls, then lay down a dustsheet to protect your flooring and gather any later debris or plaster spillage. Then you will need to make sure that the area you would like to plaster is free from dust and other debris. It is important if you’re coating an old pre-existing wall. Also, you have to cover any cracks and holes you may find. You can use screen tape for this. If you’re plastering over recently erected plasterboards, use display tape to mask all of the joints between the boards.
Step 2: Apply PVA to walls
Using PVA for bonding creates the ideal result and helps to ensure that the layer of plaster you’re applying, later on, will dry out evenly. Dilute the PVA at a 1:4 ratio — one component PVA and four parts water. Roll or brush the PVA mixture on the wall and be sure that the whole wall is covered entirely. Now, the initial layer of plaster can be applied straight afterwards as long as the PVA glue is now a bit sticky. For the best result, always follow the directions given by the producer of the adhesive.
Step 3: Mix plaster
Always wear a respiratory mask when dealing with plaster as it is extremely fine and can easily get into the lungs. Be sure to mix the plaster into cold water. There should be no lumps. Make sure you add plaster to water and not the other way around.
Step 4: Implement plaster
Now you are ready to apply your first coat of plaster using the Hawking board, a trowel and your float. You may want to practice the movement on separate plasterboard before you begin the actual job. You need to have the technique perfected before attempting the main job.
First of all place plaster on the hawk board with the trowel. You then use the float to push the plaster in the hawk onto the walls. Do this with the float near the wall, spreading the plaster firmly upwards and flattening the float at the end of each sweep. You should work from the underside left corner and upwards, filling a section from bottom to top before you move on to another section. Use small amounts of plaster each time in conjunction with a substantial amount of pressure on the float, as it is the best way to ensure a smooth appearance and prevents excess plaster falling off the wall. Repeat the process until the whole wall is covered.
Step 5: Skim and smooth
After the first coat of plaster was applied, wait about 20 minutes to be able to allow the plaster dry slightly. You can then eliminate bumps and bruises from smoothing over with the trowel. Also, you have to smooth out all of the corners and ends like the bottom and top of the wall. These are usually difficult regions to plaster correctly. Use a wet brush to even out the edges.
Step 6: Scrape
This step is optional, but some folks would rather scrape the surface before adding another coat. This is done for the second coat to stick properly. The simplest way to do this is a tool known as a devilling float, which is specially designed for this — it is a wooden float with nails in it. You may also scrape the surface using a kitchen fork.
Step 7: Implement plaster
After devilling or scratching the first layer of plaster, you may choose to add another coat. It needs to be thinner than the first. To do this just dilute the mixture with a little bit more water. Aim to just plaster a thin 2-millimetre layer. Then leave the plaster to dry slightly.
Step 8: Finishing touches
After the plaster has dried marginally, you will need to polish your work. You do so by adding water to the surface using a spray gun. Spray the edges of the plaster and the run the trowel over it to smoothen out the surface. Use inward strokes when doing so. You may also use a wet brush to get the job, particularly around the tricky edges. Finish by running a clean float over the whole surface to flatten out any bumps and bruises.
After the plaster has dried out completely, you can use some sanding paper to remove any excess plaster you may find.
Step 9: Painting and wallpapering
When the plaster has dried, it is ready to be painted or wallpapered. Before you paint over the new plaster, you need to use an undercoat to be able to prime the surface. The same goes if you are hanging wallpaper, although in this case, you’d use wallpaper adhesive. Apply a couple of coats of an adherent to prime and seal the surface.