How to plaster a wall: Step by Step guide
Plastering a wall is pretty straightforward. You will need scaffolding, plastic sheeting, a wire mesh lath; some insulation to keep the heat in (or out depending on where you live); and of course your plaster mix.
You can make your own plaster if desired, but it is much more expensive than buying it pre-mixed from a supplier.
So getting hold of your plaster, and having prepared the wall by rendering, priming and screening; we can move onto actually putting the plaster on.
Here, we will take you through the steps to plaster a wall and answer the common questions about plastering a wall.
Start by filling in any holes and cracks with a suitable filler. We used drywall filler to fill the divots out of the render.
Brush off the excess that is not filled into the crack, then leave to dry overnight.
Before we can put our first coat of plaster on, we need to lightly sand the dried filler. You can also use a file or a grout scraper if you want.
We are going to apply an undercoat using synthetic gypsum, such powder that is added to water and mixed into our plaster. Pour in your required amount of powder into the water, then mix together with a trowel. We are aiming for a thick paste that you can stand on without it breaking away but still runs of the trowel if tipped on its edge.
Wear disposable gloves, eye protection and cover exposed skin for this next step as plastering is dusty. It can be very uncomfortable if it gets into your eyes or your skin.
Get the edge of the trowel and scoop up some paste from the top. Apply this onto the vertical surface so that when you drop it from a small height, it evenly falls to cover the wall. If the plaster starts to break away in large chunks, then you might need to add more water.
Continue this process along the entire length of the wall; scooping up some paste and dropping it onto the surface, working your way down the wall. Try not to stop halfway or leave any gaps, as you will see later on that it can affect the finished wall.
For very long walls you may need to drag a ladder along behind without resting your trowel on the ground, otherwise, the rungs of the ladder might make uneven marks on your new surface. You can also use an extra pair of hands to carry the paste, although this might slow you down a little.
If you are working on very uneven surfaces then it is best to use several smaller trowels instead, as these will be much easier to keep level than one large trowel. You can also use a cricket bat to beat the surface flat, but again this will slow you down and might hurt your hands.
If you are plastering a very large surface then you may consider renting some scaffolding for the day. If done carefully, no damage should occur and it can make things much easier and more comfortable.
It is hard work plastering so many layers, so you can break it up into sections to make things easier on your back. You will need to wait for each coat to dry before starting the next one, so having an area set aside for this is very useful. If there are any areas that have been missed, remove the tape while the plaster is still wet. If it has dried, scrape off any excess with a knife or rough sandpaper.
Once you are happy with the final coat of plaster then leave it for 24-48 hours to dry out thoroughly before painting or decorating the walls. If you didn't get into all of the corners or if your brush or roller seemed to miss some areas, then this will be a good time to use filler and sandpaper to repair any imperfections left in the surface before painting it.
Once you have completed all of these steps then you will have a perfect new wall. You can now paint or decorate the area as you choose and enjoy your new room.
Why plaster a wall?
Plastering your walls can give a room an instant makeover and only takes one weekend to achieve. Whether you wish to change the colour of your current wall or want to create a stunning design, plastering is the perfect choice as it takes very little time and it's not nearly as messy as painting. Plastered walls look more authentic than painted walls because they are thicker and less likely to crack.
Can you plaster a wall yourself?
Plastering is not too difficult but it can be time-consuming and quite messy. This job will most likely require two people so if you are tackling this task on your own don't try to carry out the whole process by yourself. Before you start, make sure that all furniture has been moved out of the way and anything that can become damaged during the job has been covered with a drop sheet.
Also, remember to wear rubber gloves and keep an old towel close by in case any of the plastering spatter gets on your skin or in your eyes.
What can I use instead of plastering a wall?
If you are planning to re-decorate it might be easier and less bothersome to simply paint your wall. Although plastering does give a much more professional result, the amount of effort required to correctly prepare the surface is quite high considering that usually, interior walls are not load-bearing.
However, if you can't bear the thought of having a smooth wall and want that traditional "plastered" look, then you will of course need to get down and dirty with some plaster.
What is the difference between plastering and skimming?
Both of these methods are used to apply a smooth coating over the wall. The main difference is that skimming is usually applied to bare or recently plastered walls whereas plastering often uses the existing plaster as the base coat.
What do I need for plastering?
The first thing you will need is your liquid cement which you can add the water to, then add your other ingredients. You will also need a large bucket for mixing, a stirrer and some form of plastering repair kit to mix in with the mixture. Finally, you will need a trowel to smooth out the finish and a brush.
How should I mix plaster?
Before you can start actually plastering the wall, you need to mix your plaster.
Firstly, pour some water into a large bucket and add two parts of plaster with one part being the water. Also, make sure that the components are thoroughly mixed so it is ready for application on the wall.