Plastering Techniques

Different Techniques for Plastering Walls and Ceilings, Styles of Finish, Dry Lining, Wet Plastering

If you have ever noticed carefully, you'd have found that most historical masonry buildings have plastered surfaces. That's because, plastering walls and ceilings was considered to be the best way to get an even and smooth surface finish over masonry. Today, the types and forms of plaster and its elements have changed from the olden days. As newer and more innovative ways of using plaster based finishes keep emerging, it becomes important to understand the different plastering techniques. As you follow the article you will be able to familiarise yourself with the various plastering techniques in some detail.

Different Plastering Techniques and Tools Used

Everyday plastering doesn't require many tools. However, an experienced plasterer will always carry a set of tools like hammers, screeds, trowels, floats, hawks, Stanley knives, scratching tools, laths among other things.

Plastering Techniques

There are many different techniques for plastering walls and ceilings. The techniques used can be based on the client requirement, nature of the space, and other requirements. Below are some of the most standard plastering techniques used for walls and ceilings.

Dry Lining: Over the past so many years, traditional English homes used wet plastering technique to give a smooth finish to walls and ceilings. However, there has been a significant swing towards the use of dry lining or dry plastering in the last three-four decades. This bias is largely based on the ease and use of plasterboard. Since plasterboard is sold in the form of sheets in a standard size of 2.4m x 1.2m, it is not just easy to handle but also to put up. Moreover, it is a completely dry procedure and can be fixed quickly with tape etc. Paint can be applied on the surface to give a welcoming, warm finish.

One of the biggest reasons for builders to use dry lining is because of the speed of its installation as well as reduced load on the structure. Since plasterboard walls are lightweight, they offer greater flexibility on the drawing board, while allowing the freedom to change and create different interior spaces based on the family's needs. Today, dry lining is the most preferred method of construction in timber frame structures. Dry lining is one of those plastering techniques that help save time and money.

Wet Plaster: It is one of the most commonly used of all plastering techniques wet plaster finish is obtained by covering the surface to be plastered in mortar and smoothened with trowels to produce a clean finish. The dried wet plastered surface can be papered or painted according to preference. However, like most plastering techniques, wet plastering job requires a skilled hand and sufficient time for drying. Unfortunately, wet plaster is also prone to cracks, shrinkage, and in frequent need of re-plastering to cover up the cracks.

Screeding: Yet another traditional plastering technique used in Britain, screeding is not as simple as it looks. A time consuming and labour intensive job, over the last decade or so, ready mixed screed is now being used on construction sites. This is extremely advantageous to all parties included as the mix is quality assured and helps save on time, labour, less wastage. Unfortunately, ready mixed screed isn't a cheap option. One cubic meter of ready mixed screed could cost £100 or more as compared to £80 for onsite screed mix.

Screeding as a plastering technique has also made some more advances and today cement screeds have been replaced by gypsum or calcium sulphate-based ones. These screeds are easier to handle, quicker to be laid, without compromising on the strength despite lesser depths as compared to the traditional screeds. But once again, the cost is more and could be a deterrent for many home owners. You must remember that all types of screed require plenty of time to completely dry out. Expected time period for which screeds should be left open is around 70 days.

External Plastering: Plastering techniques such as external plaster are also known as Stucco. When planning the type of external plaster to be used, it's important to keep in mind the wear and tear and weather damages that may occur to make the right choice. Some of the exterior plastering choices you have include -

Besides these plastering techniques there are decorative finishes like plaster mouldings including cornices and straight mouldings for you to decorate your home with.