Plastering is one of the last steps in finishing a wall, whether it’s on the inside or outside. Although plastering is a highly technical process best left to the professionals, any homeowner can do it themselves if they follow a few simple guidelines. Plus, paying a contractor to do a job in your own home can be prohibitively costly at times. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment when you can fix problems around the house without having to call a professional. Since it sets and hardens so easily, plaster of Paris can be difficult to work with. So before starting your work, make sure you have all your tools and equipment available, and work quickly once the plaster is mixed. Here are some simple steps you can follow to successfully plaster a wall in your home.

How to Plaster A Wall on Your Own

Tools

First, prepare your working tools and check if they are in good shape. Plastering trowels, bucket trowels, hawk boards, mixers, and water brushes are the most basic must-haves for the job.

Preparation

Once you’re done with accumulating clean tools for your work, you need to prepare your wall and workspace aptly. Begin with stripping any wallpaper you may have on your wall. Then wash your wall down to free it from all the grime and dirt. Scrub the entire wall with a dry stiff-bristled brush, paying particular attention to places where there is a lot of buildups. To pick up what you loosened with the brush, wipe the wall with a damp rag. If you have any cracks in your walls, now is the time to apply the scrim tapes too. Also, don’t forget to affix PVA to your wall for it slows the rate of suction making it easier to plaster. In a disposable paint tray, mix one-part PVA glue with four parts water thoroughly. PVA should be rolled or brushed over the entire wall to ensure complete coverage. The plaster should be added when the PVA coat is tacky but not fully dried for better results. A primer coat also protects the substrate from absorbing moisture from the plaster, which can lead to cracking. Don’t forget to layout drop-clothes to keep your work area clean. It’s important to cover your floors well as plasters can damage or scratch wood or laminate floors. Now, mix your plaster in a bucket by adding plaster mix into the water and stir it repeatedly until it’s sufficiently thick. Once that’s taken care of, you’re ready to start your work.

Initial Coat

  • Using the tip of the trowel, scoop the plaster out of the bucket. You may easily drag the plaster onto the hawk if you’ve moved it to a different surface, such as a tarp or mixing table. Pile it on so you don’t have to stop what you’re doing to add more. The plaster does not stick to the hawk if correctly mixed. 
  • Now, slide the trowel’s flat edge under one end of the plaster and scrape up enough to layer a line from floor to ceiling. Make sure the plaster is sitting directly in the middle of the trowel to ensure precision and quality. Begin with a small amount of plaster and build up as required.
  • Next, to enter the higher sections of the wall, crouch down and drive the plaster up the wall in a gentle arc, standing as you move. Slide the trowel over 2-3 inches at the top of your stroke, then reverse the motion and bring it down again. Apply the plaster using the same technique, a little at a time. Continue working your way along the wall, spreading the plaster from bottom to top. Pause as needed to scoop more plaster onto your hawk board. Repeat this pattern until the plaster has been spread evenly over the entire surface.
  • Clear the trowel and run it across the wall in both directions until the plaster is in place. Apply even pressure, concentrating on areas where the plaster is thicker or where the higher edges have formed seams. Re-wet the first pieces of plaster with a spray bottle if possible. Touching up tricky edges and corners with a wet high-quality paintbrush can be useful. To build a stronger foundation for the second coat, score the wet plaster. With a deviling float or a notched trowel, rake the plaster vertically from one end to the other. Scoring produces shallow grooves that increase the wall’s total surface area and improve the adhesion of the second coat.

Finishing Coat & Polish

  • Apply the second coat in the same manner as the first, making sure there are no visible holes or seams. You might use your trowel to smooth out the skim coat or move to afloat for the finishing touches.
  • Glide the float gently over the wet plaster’s surface in all directions to smooth out any lumps, lines, gaps, or thickness inconsistencies. Be patient. Smoothing plaster is a tedious process, but one that must be completed correctly. Don’t over-polish the plaster as it can weaken the grip of paint and wallpaper.
  • Finally allow the plaster to set in. The new plaster will take anywhere from 2 to 5 days to completely harden, depending on the conditions. As the fresh plaster dries, avoid touching it. Any flaws it picks up during this time will show up in the final product. Drying times are affected by a variety of factors, including the composition of your plaster, the temperature of your work area, and the amount of moisture in the air. Before you apply paint and other decorations, make sure the wall is completely dry.

Plastering walls is a simple task if you have any prior DIY experience. The process can take up some time, but the time you invest in it is totally worth it when you see your results. You can contact Newform Group for any further inquiries or assist in your plasterwork from any corner of Ireland. You can contact us on our website, send us an email, or simply call. Be sure to follow the instructions above or contact us and you’d be good to go.