We have all met them dodgy cowboys or seen them on TV, the rough buggers who want to bodge all there jobs up at every opportunity. That one guy who one coats on plasterboard or the cowboy who is always cutting corners.
Well this article is dedicated to them boys. We’re going to discuss the biggest plastering mistakes and show you what you definitely SHOULDN’T be doing on a job!
Let’s start from the top:
Using Cheap Tools
Ok let’s start with the obvious. If your using bad, lower quality tools you can’t expect to get a cracking, smooth finish on your plastered walls. Think about it!
Imagine if a photographer was planning to make loads of money from his hard earned photos but was shooting all his pics with an iPhone camera. Or image the mountain climber using ropes from your local jungle gym. He’s not going to last!
If your want a decent finish from your work you have to invest in decent tools. The bare minimum is to buy a high quality trowel – that’s where you finish will come in. Your can’t expect to get a good finish with a trowel from the pound shop.
Spend a bit more and invest in decent tools. It pays for itself in the long run because quality always lasts longer.
Rushing to get the job done
We’ve all been there. You start some work by underpricing the job which leaves you little time to get the thing finished. Or maybe you get held up a few days and you have to smash the work out in half the time.
Basically you have to rush. I’ve always found that any job I’ve pushed ends up with a lesser quality finish or just ends up looking rubbish.
I had a friend who was pushed to finish some tiling over a weekend – he got in all finished in 2 days but knew it wasn’t the best. He ended up spending more time making it right because he had to do it over again.
It doesn’t pay to rush. You end up stressed, or even worse, a bad job leaving yourself with a bad name and reputation.
Take your time at the beginning and price it correctly. If they don’t take the job, they don’t take it! It’s a business – if there is no money to be made in working is it worth the hassle?
Price it so you always have plenty of time.
Out Of Date Plaster
You start a job and you have a few bags of multi-finish left over in your garage. You look at the packaging and realise it’s a few weeks/ months out of date. “It’ll be arite, just use the plaster for gods sake”.
I’ve made this mistake and it’s never gone well. I was skimming a bathroom for my mate who was providing the materials. It wasn’t a big job, just a few walls.
He had some plaster left over from another job and insisted we use them. I started skimming the walls.
1st coat was ok, 2nd coat was easy enough. Not a problem.
I went outside to clean my tools and buckets and I had loads of time to spare so I ate my sandwiches in the sun. I had a little chill and went back in to start smoothing the walls over.
Everywhere was completely solid! All the walls had gone off leaving a horrible, unfinished excuse for a bathroom. I had to get the scraper out and peel it all off!
The job was a shambles. It’s not worth it! For the sake of £6/£7 I ended up loosing half a day on correcting a job due to a few bags of plaster.
Always gets products that are in date. I learnt my lesson the hard way!
This is a big one. My old boss and teacher always had a saying (you’ve probably all heard it), which has never been more true.
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail!” I think that preparing a job is the most important part to any work you do.
That’s making sure all you walls have had a minimum of one coat PVA (ideally 2 or more depending on the background). Skrim taping all the areas that have cracks or joints in place, filling any holes with the correct backing agents, scraping any excess paper off.
All these little jobs need doing right. Spending a little more time on the prep will always leave a better finish. If you start cutting corners you will only end up with problems that you have to come back and treat.
It’s always worth it in the long run.
Cleaning your tools
I spent a bit of time working in NZ plastering with a big company in Auckland. We focussed on all the heritage work by restoring the old buildings in the city.
I worked with an older guy called Paul. He was a good friend who knew his trade well but there was one problem – he would never cleaned anything up!
His tools would always be covered in old plaster, the mixer and paddle was always covering in dirt and stones and his hands were always planted in shite. He’d grab the bucket trowel and get plaster over the handle which meant you were then covered in the stuff.
Stones and grit would always be in the mix because nothing would ever be cleaned. It was a nightmare working with the man!
He would just leave his tools at the end of a day and let the old plaster dry on the blades and handles. I don’t know how he worked. His tools were always covered in crap and ultimately, they were useless.
He spent more time scraping his tools than using them! It’s not worth the hustle – just clean between mixes or after you’ve finished. If your spend a bit of time looking after you tools they will look after you in the long run.
That concludes my list of the plasterers deadly sins. Let me know what you think and I hope you found it useful.