Great Tips for DIY Plasterers

If you’re new, or fairly new, to DIY plastering then this article will provide some assistance on a few things to keep in mind for your next plastering project.

#1 – Love Thy Trowel!

The primary tool that you have to apply, smooth, repair, flatten and polish your plaster with is your trowel. This is the sole connection that you have to the surface you’re working on, and this is why you have to love it. You need to ensure that the trowel is always clean and that you are using the right type.

You should not use ay old trowel that you happen to find lying around. You need to have a true plastering trowel if you want to plaster correctly. These trowels are widely available and will not be expensive.

The trowel will need to be in good condition, and it can be well-worn. While the trowel might have some patination and seen a lot of use, it will need to be very clean, highly polished and smooth. As you use the trowel, it will become sharper and possibly develop a convex curve. This will actually help you get a better finish when plastering.

It is possible to buy a pre worn-in trowel. Marshalltown is one of the biggest names in trowels, and they will offer you the pre worn-in ones that you might be looking for. However, they are not going to be cheap because they are the preferred trowel for professionals.

As a beginner, you should look at using a standard 11-inch trowel. When you start to speed up, you can start to use a larger trowel. It is important to note that these larger trowels will be harder to control. The other common trowel sizes will be 14 and 20 inches.

A pro tip for keeping your trowel very clean and free of rust will be to polish it occasionally with some fine wet and dry paper. There are some plasterers who ground the tip of sharp corners to provide a rounded edge. This will reduce the chance of chipping and marking when you are working.

#2 – Use Tin Snip To Cut Angle Bead, Not A Hacksaw

A pair of tin snips should be used to cur angle bead because a hacksaw will generally become jammed in the beading.  Tin snips will make the job much more accessible and are an essential tool if you are going to be cutting more than a few pieces.

Before you cut, you should mark this out with a pencil.  You can then use the tin snips to first cut one of the flat sides up to the corner.  You should then turn the beading over and cut the other side so that it is only held together with the corner bulge.  You should then press the bead in both hands and carefully bend it a few times at the cut.

You need to be careful with this and not compromise the angle of the edges.  A few bends will be enough to fatigue the metal and snap the corner joint.  It is essential that you wear gloves for this task as the cut angle bead will be razor sharp along the edge.

#3 – For All Skimming Jobs, You Should Stick To Thistle Multi-Finish

You should never be tempted by the one-coat plaster or any other brand or finishing plaster. Almost all professionals will make use of Multi-Finish from Thistle as it is the ideal plaster for the job. This plaster is easily identifiable by the bright orange label, and you can find it in all major DIY stores.

This plaster is the most popular choice among professionals as a finishing plaster for undercoat plasters or plasterboard. The plaster will mix to a salmon-coloured and smooth creamy paste which can offer a smooth eggshell finish that you can polish further. You will be able to apply the plaster up to a thickness of around 3mm and should always do this in 2 separate coats.

When it comes to buying the right amount of plaster for the job, you can use a simple calculation. This is to use one 25kg bag of plaster for every 9 square meters. You should also ensure that you buy one extra bag before you start the job to be on the safe side.

#4 – Do Not Sand Down Plaster

This is something that many people disagree on, but you will generally only need to sand down the plaster if you have done a poor job in the first place.  This could be down to you not following the correct steps or something going wrong that you had not planned on.  In general, plastering is 10% skill and 90% sticking to the exact formula of the six stages of plastering that you need to know about.

If you have followed the six stages correctly, you should not need any help in getting the perfect finish for your plaster.  The ideal finish will be beautiful smooth walls which come from applying the plaster correctly at all stages.

This leads to the problem with sanding plaster.  The first issue is that it will not fix a poor job regardless of what you might think.  It is also an excellent excuse for rushing when it comes to plastering because you feel that you can fix any issues later.  The last problem is that sanding plaster is harder work, will be more tiring and provides you with poorer results than merely doing the job correctly in the first place.

The primary problem is what plaster does to a sander.  When you start to sand plaster, you will clog your sander.  You will then have to rub harder which will force the plaster into the paper more and jam it more.  This will also result in you rubbing a smooth surface against a flat surface which means that you are polishing it.

Unless you are willing to use a warehouse full of sandpaper, you are not going to be able to get the results you want when you do this.  At the end of your sanding, you will be able to notice all of the imperfections in the wall more.  This is because you are not sanding it instead you are polishing it.

There is also an issue with the amount of dust that you will be creating when you sand plaster.  Even a small section of wall will create a significant amount of dust in your home.  This will result in you spending a lot of time cleaning up, and you might find some of this dust months later.

The most important tip that you need to know when it comes to plastering is the fact that it is effortless when you follow all of the stages of plastering to the letter.  When you do this, you cannot go wrong, and you will get the perfect results that you want.  It is possible for a complete novice to achieve the ideal plastered wall if they take the time to learn how to do this.  Of course, you should also ensure that you have the correct tools with you, that you have the right trowel and that you never think that you can come back to the plaster to fix it later.

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