There are certain things you need to know when you start plastering. You need to know how to use a hawk, you need to know how to mix plaster and most importantly…. you need to avoid getting any plaster in your eyes! Thats all good, however there are some plastering techniques you need to become a better plaster.
There are some plastering tips you NEED to know. If you avoid certain steps then you will simply fail as a plasterer.
This article is a guide on the perfect plastering techniques. If you follow these simple, easy steps then you can’t go wrong. Here are the plastering techniques you need to know to become a plastering jedi: Avoid these and you will have nothing but problems.
Lets go for it:
Plastering Techniques 1 – Start At The Top
This is the first rule of thumb and one plastering technique that everyone needs to know.
When your plastering you always start skimming from the top section of your wall. If your right handed start in the top left corner, work your way across the top half of the wall and then cover the bottom half. If your left handed do the same but start from the top right corner.
When you follow this routine it does 2 things. Gives a definite structure to follow and creates a flow for the plaster. If you start in the middle, skim the right, finish bits in the middle and plaster the left section your moving all over the place.
Following a routine makes it faster, Gives better results and makes its easy to get a flatter finish.
2 – Long Sweeping Movements
Ok so you have a full wall to skim. You load your trowel with little amounts of plaster and start to skim. Starting at the top, coming down to the middle, go two thirds down and apply the last levels of plaster.
You have 3 different levels of plaster applied at different areas of the walls. This means different thickness between areas applied. This is ok but there is a better way.
The best way to get a flat wall (which is one of the main aims), is to trowel your plaster with long sweeping movements. The more plaster you get in one sweep the better. I try to get three quarters of the wall height applied in 1 sweep.
Its harder and takes more practice because you have to learn to load and trowel more plaster. However this plastering technique will give you a much flatter finish. just remember:
longer sweeps = flatter finish.
Its the same when flattening. You want to start from the bottom and smooth your plaster with big, long sweeping motions. This way your flattening your plaster at the same thickness and pressure.
If you master this you will see better results at a faster rate.
3 – Time It Right
Timing is one of the most important elements to plastering. This is one thing you NEED to master. The problem is there is such a fine line to getting this wrong.
Im going to let you in on a BIG, Big Secret!
There is a formula you can follow, a secret formula. Its a hidden gem that can only be found in a few, select places! On every bag of finish plaster you buy from British Gypsum.
The best timing I’ve found for the perfect finish is on the back of the bags:
- 1st Coat of Plaster
- 2nd Coat of Plaster – 20 mins later
- Closing in – 40 mins/ 60mins
- 1st Trowel – 85mins
- 2nd Trowel – 100mins
- Final Trowel – 120mins
This is the best timings I’ve found for the perfect water. At the beginning it might vary due to learning and speed but striving for this will give great results. Just make sure you don’t bite more than you can chew:
4 – Do What You Can
This is one plastering tip you need to take on board. Only do what you can. Don’t look at 2 big walls and try to take them on at the same time if you’ve only just started. Work your way up to big things.
Plastering can be really stressful. Like Scream at the wall stressful! As soon as you start that first mix your on the clock and you have a very tight deadline.
Unlike many other trades you have a certain amount of time to get the plaster on the wall, flattened and looking smooth before it all goes solid. This is what makes our job extremely difficult.
Thats why I recommend starting small by giving yourself lots of time to get the perfect finish. I’ve seen so many plasterers rush and smash as much muck on the walls, sweat there bollocks off only to end up with an awful finish that needed sanding and saving from the decorator. Imagine!
Its not big and its definitely not clever. Its hard enough without added stress. Start small and work big latter! Now you need to pay attention to the next plastering technique:
5 – Cross Trowel
This is a gem. When you have all your walls skimmed, flattened and ready for finish you can set it off with class. There is a techniques called the cross trowel.
Instead of trowel vertically you trowel horizontally, crossing over your plastered path lines. This creates the opportunity to get an even flatter wall.
By plastering both direction its fills any hollows that where missed previously and creates a ultimate flat wall. I always do a cross trowel on my final trowel. This gives a smooth, flat even finish that most plasterers dream for. This one little shift gives amazing results and is definitely one to take note of.
So there you have it. My plastering techniques that should give better results to your finish. If you have any comments feel free to ask. Just remember to start skimming!