Ok so you get this massive brainwave – you’re going to learn how to plaster! Brilliant. However, during the madness, the fog settles and you realise one thing: you don’t have a clue where to start and what plastering tools you need!
What do you need to start plastering I hear you say? Don’t worry because we’re going to take you by the hand and show you the exact plastering tools you will need to begin this new obsession of yours.
This is the ultimate checklist of the tools needed for plastering with examples and options available. If you want to avoid messing about then read our bullet points below or watch this lovely video:
Here’s a quick checklist:
- Plastering Trowel
- Bucket Trowel
- Hawk/ Hand board
- Water Brush
- Buckets/ Mixing buckets
These are the basic plastering tools for the novice plasterer. You will eventually need lots more but this is the primary list of tools you will want to start plastering. Let’s see what each of them are and explore the different options available.
However, before we start I need to get one thing out of the way.
Cheap Plastering Tools – Is It Worth It?
The short answer – NO! Buying cheap plastering tools is one of the worst things you can do. You will never get a flat, perfect finish using a Trowel from Poundland!
If you’re serious about Plastering then you need to invest in decent plastering tools. It’s the difference between a professional finish compared to your local cowboy who leaves your walls looking like it’s been attacked by Godzilla.
Ok, maybe not that bad…
But it’s important to have a good collection of tools for plastering. They make you’re life so much easier, especially the tools we recommend. Everything on the list I’ve used and I still use.
Otherwise, I wouldn’t mention it. We will show you cheaper tools when possible and mention the important plastering tools when necessary.
Let’s get started with the most important plastering tool!
1) Plastering Trowel
Let’s get the obvious tools out of the way. Yes, you will need a trowel (no s**t) but choosing the right one is the question we’ll be tackling. There are literally thousands of plastering trowels on the market – getting the right one to start with is the challenge.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help. I’ve used loads of trowels and had my fair share of good and bad. Let’s make sure you start plastering with the best.
What size trowel?
I suggest you buy a 14 inch (“) stainless steel plastering trowel.
A lot of the older boys suggest you begin with a 12” trowel because the smaller tools allow for more control. However, I feel it’s slightly counterproductive.
The smaller trowels have less space to hold the plaster making it harder to apply to the walls. Not only that but the eventually you want a plastering trowel that is at least 14”. Most of the plasterers I’ve met spread using a 14’ trowel (especially the better plasters I know.)
So here’s my point. Why get used to using a 12” trowel to eventually change and get used to a new one? You might as well use plastering tools that you aim to use forever.
Yes, it might be a struggle at the beginning but you will learn to control the trowel as time goes by. I recommend a stainless steel, 14” x 5” trowel from Marshalltown.
Marshalltown trowels are renowned for being some of the best on the market. I’ll be honest I totally agree. I’ve never had any problems with this company and there pre-broken in trowels are a perfect starting point.
There durable, comfortable to use and always provide a good finish. The 5” width also allows a bigger surface area to get used to the transition of applying the plaster.
I recommend the Marshalltown MPB145GSD Stainless Steel Plastering Trowel. It’s a Trowel used for all types of plastering for different people at different stages of there Plastering career. It’s the Trowel I use the most and it’s definitely the trowel I advise to buy.
Marshalltown is definitely a good start. Don’t go for the cheap, crappy trowels. As mentioned, they will not last, they’re extremely hard to use and often rust and corrode after use. Treat yourself to a decent, well-reviewed tool.
It makes it so much easier to learn to plaster. They are a bit pricier than most but will last forever if maintained correctly. Definitely, worth the investment, trust me on this one!
For more info read the article on the Best Plastering Trowel
2) Bucket Trowel
You need this to scoop you plaster up with. The description is in the name – these are used for your buckets and plaster. Again there are hundreds of options.
You don’t have to be fussy with these. Look around but there are generally about £5 – £10 depending on which ones you aim to buy. It’s not necessary to spend loads of money since it won’t actually affect your performance.
This is where you can save your pennies.
3) Hawk/ Hand Board
The Hawk (or hand board) is the plastering tool that holds the plaster for your trowel to scoop from. Again there are loads of options but here’s what we recommend.
I have 2 options.
Foam/ Plastic Hawks
The plastic Hawks are perfect for beginners. They’re cheap, easy to use but more importantly, they are extremely light. This is going to be a big help when you’re new to plastering.
That’s because when you won’t be trained in holding a hand full of plaster all day. It gets heavy as the day progresses!
That’s why the plastic hawks are brilliant for beginners. It will save you a lot of strain and hard work. However, they aren’t that strong and they can often snap with time. There is another option if you want one that will last:
These Hand Boards are a lot stronger. They will last longer but are still quite light due to the lightweight aluminium. They are a bit more expensive but will definitely last longer than the plastic types.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a Hawk – they literally hold your gear. I personally use the Marshalltown hawks because there Durasoft handles are comfortable during use. However, a cheaper model will suffice!
Back in the day, all the old boys used to mix their plaster with a spade. However, we’re a bit more advanced and I’d defiantly recommend you invest in a decent mixer.
Again there loads of different models to choose from but we’ll narrow it down for you. Let’s start with the big guns!
These are some of the best mixers on the market and probably the best I’ve used. Made in Germany they are known for there reliability, durability and pure quality. They are designed for mixing all types of plaster.
I recommend you aim for the H frame models. This frame makes it very easy to mix the plaster whilst minimising energy. I prefer them to the D frames – I find them very awkward, to be honest.
The Refina MEGAMIXERS, are well proven and robust power tool that will generate a thorough mix action for consistent results.
The MM30 Mega Mixer includes a MR3 160G 6″ (160mm) spiral paddle and has a new ergo design H handle for comfort.
There is a catch though. These bad boys are pretty expensive. Ranging from £360 they definitely cost a bit more than other models.
They make sense to the plasterer who is working every day but there are other options for beginners:
Nordstand 1800 Heavy Duty Mixer
I must admit that this is a pretty decent mixer. It’s a 230v mixer so you won’t need a transformer and at 1800w it’s a powerful little beast. It’s a heavy duty tool with a powerful 900rpm motor.
It comes with a 140mm paddle which makes easy work of mixing the plaster. It’s a decent piece of kit and pretty cheap for what you get.
You can get this from Amazon for £85- nearly a 5th the price of the mega mixer. I recommend you start with this. It’s fast, effective and generally quite durable. It has good reviews and works perfectly for the novice user. This is actually the mixer I use in my videos and I love it.
5) Water Brush
You’re going to need a water brush, especially if you’re starting out. This is used towards the end and often used on the final coat of plastering. A little water stops the plaster from pulling and leaves a flawless finish.
Not only that but if you’re running behind and the plaster is setting then you can often save it with water. I’m afraid to say that this is inevitable. You are going to have times where it’s set too fast and your behind.
This is where the water brush will save you and your plastered walls. Trust me, it’s essential
You can use the brush to clean your edges and splash water onto your covered walls. So which ones to go for?
You can get 6″ water brushes which are solely designed for plastering. They can sometimes be expensive but I always feel it’s worth the investment. Cheap brushes often leave the bristles in your plaster causing a lot of hassle.
I like this 4″ masonry brush from Travis Perkins. It’s strong and lasted the test of time – generally a good brush to use for plastering.
I use the brushes that the decorators use. I get mine from a company called Fat Hog – the brushes are solid and have lasted the longest time compared to all the others I’ve used. They really are the mutts nuts!
Again they a bit pricey but have a look online – you might be able to find a bargain or 2.
You’ll also want to get a thick hand brush to clean your buckets and tools with. I wouldn’t use your decent water brush for cleaning. You want it to last so buy a separate one for cleaning your buckets and mixers with.
I personally just use a plastic brush you get with the dustpans. There small and thin enough to get between the paddle of the mixers making it the ideal option. This should do fine!
6) Mixing Buckets
You will need this to mix the plaster in. You can get the big Gorilla tubs which are a brilliant option to mix with. There flexible, strong and generally last quite a while.
You can usually pick these up for about £10 – £12 for the big tubs.
You can get similar tubs in B&Q in the garden section and I think they sell from about £5. If you’re looking to save money you could go there.
The other option is to get the solid mixing buckets. These last longer, are defiantly stronger and much easier to mix your plaster with. Due to its tall shape, they prevent your mix splashing everywhere.
They are a bit more expensive and generally don’t hold as much plaster. However, In terms Of longevity, they are much better.
The Faithful 25l bucket on Amazon costs around £9 – not too bad.
Finally, you will need some water buckets. You can pick these up from B&Q for about £1 so there an absolute bargain. You should aim to get at least 3 buckets.
Get the 12L ones because they are ideal for a bag of plaster. One bucket of water mixes a bag of plaster so it’s the perfect measuring tool!
This concludes our list of the plastering tools you will need to start skimming. As mentioned before you will eventually buy a lot more tools but this is the perfect starting point. The only thing you need now is the walls to practice on.
Good luck and I hope you found this article useful. For more information on plastering check out our main website and join our free welcome course! We’ll show you how to plaster your first wall with helpful guides and videos teaching you the full process.
If you are interested, check out this link to our main Plastering For Beginners website page. All the information is there…what are you waiting for 😉