How to Plaster a Wall

Plastering a wall is not an easy task to accomplish but you can do it if you follow a few steps. If you can you should prop a PVA coated panel somewhere, preferably outside or in the garage, and practice spreading the plaster before trying to do the real job if you have never plastered before. This can only make you more comfortable when you do the real job.

Many professional plasterers recommend that each layer of the plaster is laid in two applications in order to get the best results. You can add a second layer when the first layer has not completely dried but has become stiff. You “key” or scratch the surface on order to make it so the second layer sticks better.

In order to do a good job plastering you need to use the right tools. Here are some of the tools you will need for plastering:

* A bucket
* Stirring rod or mixer drill and paddle
* Plasterer’s bead or timber grounds
* Spirit Level (as long as possible)
* Spot (layer of board supported on a crate)
* Plasterer’s trowel
* Plasterer’s float (the stainless steel ones work the best)
* Straightedge or feather-edge
* Splash Brush or water spray bottle
* Ladder or plastering stilts

Now that you have the correct tools you should always follow these procedures:

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Always make sure that you use clean tools for the plastering job

* If you are plastering onto either masonry or bricks you should use a stiff brush in order to remove any dust, dirt, or loose debris.

* In order to get the best plastering results you should apply a diluted solution of PVA bonding to the wall and allow it to become dry. By doing this it will help the plaster stick to the wall, prevent it from drying out while you are working on it, and prevent it from cracking.

* If you are plastering onto plasterboard you should make sure that all the joints have been taped over. You can butt the lengths of the tape up to each other but make sure not to overlap them. The tape is applied using a thin layer of plaster so that the mesh can still be seen from the surface.

* In order to provide a guide for thickness and getting flat surface you can fix timber grounds or plasterer’s beading at intervals of 3 feet. Timber grounds are vertical battens of wood that are cut to the depth of the plaster that you have and have edges that are beveled in order to help remove them after your finish plastering.

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The beading for plastering will come with prefabricated shapes for edges, corners, and internal sections. This is better when it is fixed to the plaster and stays embedded in the plasterwork when it is finished. You should always use gloves when handling.

* Make sure that each and every ground piece of beading has been set to a perfect vertical line using a spirit level.

* When you mix the plaster use cold water and add the plaster to the water, not the water to the plaster. Briskly stir them with a smooth stick or by using a mixer drill and paddle the mix until there is a creamy consistency. Make sure there are no lumps in the mix. Now put the mixer plaster on a spot board that is dampened beforehand.

* Place your hawk with plaster from the spot by using a plaster trowel as this will keep your float clean.

* When you start to plaster the wall you should work from the bottom left hand corner moving up and filling a complete vertical section between the grounds or beads before you move on to the next one. When you are plastering the ground floor leave 2 inches on the bottom of the wall.

* From the plaster on the hawk push it onto the wall using the float. Keep the float at an angle that is narrow to the wall and spread the plaster firmly upwards and then flatten the float out towards the end of every sweep you do.

* At every section between the grounds or beads is finished you should run the straightedge from the bottom up in a motion that is left to right in order to level off.

* If applying a second coat remember to “key” or scratch surface before it becomes too stiff so that the second layer can adhere to the wall better.

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To clean up the edges that has spread onto adjacent surfaces use a wet brush.

* After waiting around 20 minutes you can run a clean float over the wall in order to get rid of any marks, as well as flatten it so it has a smooth finish.

* After you have waited around 40 minutes and you are ready to put the final layer on you need to begin “polishing” it off. Spray a little bit of water on the wall using the brush and then run a clean float over it. When you do this the water acts as a lubricant so it will let the trowel run over the surface picking up loose particles and placing them in tiny holes. This will give you a smooth finish to your wall.

Author: Jason Green