Most of the internal brick surfaces in our homes these days are plaster-finished. This allows many options when it comes to choosing the final decorative touch, such as papering, tiling or even simply painting. As with any DIY task, achieving a smooth finish comes with practice. It may pay you to find a plasterer and see how they go about plastering your wall first – sort of paying for your education in a way!
The plaster mix is as important as having the right equipment. It is well worth investing in a good set of plasterer’s tools, especially if you plan to do several jobs. A good start point is always planning and preparation. Make sure the surface is clean and properly prepared to receive the plaster. Remove any loose material, and clean off dust with a damp cloth. If you are getting nervous about what lies ahead, consider getting a plaster quote from Mr-Skill instead.
Now, you are ready to start the job. Begin by mixing the quantity of plaster-mix you will need in a plastic bucket or a basin, following the maker’s instructions carefully. Adding the plaster to the water helps prevent lumps and air pockets forming. Use a wooden spoon or paddle to mix to the right consistency. Apply clean water with a block brush to dampen the surface you are about to plaster – this assists greatly with the bonding process.
Load up your trowel and apply the mix to the wall surface, keeping the tool at an angle to spread it easily. Using a strong upward stroke, flatten the angle of the trowel to the wall as you work. After the surface has semi-dried out, apply a long ruler or straightedge to the surface to level it, beginning at the bottom and working from side to side and upwards.
When the plaster coat has dried solid, scan for any hollows or imperfections from your first attempt, and fill them with fresh plaster before levelling off again. You may need to repeat this process several times until you get the hang of it. The final skin of plaster should be left to stiffen and almost dry before sanding smooth.
Here’s a useful tip from one of our London plasterers – always rinse your bucket thoroughly before mixing fresh batches. This will prevent lumps of old dry plaster getting into your new mix. Don’t forget to clean up nicely when finished!