Plastering tips

Discussion in 'Other Trades Talk' started by Charlie21, May 20, 2005.

  1. Charlie21

    Charlie21 New Member

    I'm new to plastering and have done a couple of rooms following a course. I've got 5 questions here:-

    1 - Amount of plaster used in 1 day (approx 7-8 hours)

    I used up 2 bags of plaster yesterday 1 at time and had a job to trowel them in the time before it went off (I was mixing and cleaning up myself). What do you guys think is the average for a plasterer to use in one day if you are working alone?

    2 - Order

    If you are doing a room including the ceiling, what order would you do it in? Ceiling first? Ceiling and 1-2 walls first?

    3 - Troweling process

    I learnt:-

    1st coat
    2nd coat to fill holes (shouldn't need flattening)
    wet trowel (when near touch dry)
    Dry trowel

    I've spoken to another plasterer who does only 1 coat and another that said he does many trowels, 2 wet, 2 dry etc. I'd be interested in what you guys think.

    4 - Sponge

    Do many people use a sponge float? I take it that it's used for the wet trowel part?

    5 - Time to plaster 1 bag.

    It took me 2 hours 40 mins to mix, apply, work and finish 1 bag's worth of plaster. How long do others take?

    Sorry there's so many points. It's cos I'm new to this and still learning. Feel free to tell me to get stuffed...

    I've read many of the points in this forum and learnt several things so thanks for that.

    Charlie in Norwich.
  2. wgr

    wgr New Member

    i normally use about 4-5 bags a day, always best to do ceilings first.

    plastering, everyone is different, first coat is a key get it on just make sure no mountains in it.

    me i get second on leave it 5 before even try to flatten it, let it key then just trowel it in, some flick water i dont i just trowel it with a wet trowel til its nearly set and then a dry trowel

    its a learning curve mate, it takes years to get it to an art and still learn years into it, no job is the same, evry wall is different, drying times, humidity...

    keep at it, takes time
  3. Stoday

    Stoday New Member

    If you are doing a room including the ceiling, what
    order would you do it in? Ceiling first?

    Always plaster the ceiling before the floor. :)
  4. Mr. Handyandy

    Mr. Handyandy Screwfix Select

    Whenever I've seen plasterers at work, they've always
    done both at the same time. :)

    Mr. Handyandy - really
  5. newey

    newey New Member

    charlie 21

    Every job is different. The amount of thistle you use in a day depends on what you're doing. I sometimes work alone, I hate it but it happens. If you're alone, you have to mix, lay it on, lay it in, trowel up and finish, wash out the bucket, move the milk crates and boards out for ceilings, as well as have something to eat to keep the energy levels up. I usually manage to get through 4 to 5 bags in a day, but it's hard work. Just work at your own pace and quote accordingly. I work with someone who's 68, he's been doing it for 40 years, I can't keep up with him, i'm half his age. Experience takes time. I'd generally do the ceiling first, this stops splashes on the walls. I'd not do all together as you need to move the scaffolding about too much and if you're alone, this takes valuable time.
    Troweling Process. 1st coat to lay in then lay it down (flatten). 2nd coat to lay in then take it as it comes. Wet trowel, dry trowel, do whatever it takes. Every job is different. You'll soon learn, you'll make mistakes, but the one thing I've been told is to never panic.
    Keep up the work, don't panic, just do what you can. you'll get quicker, like everything else, experience takes time. Just don't try to run before you walk. After a while you'll get to know how much you can do. Sometimes i have to sit and wait for the thistle to go off, other times i work like heck to keep up with it. There are so many elements that interfere with what you're doing, you'll learn in time. Goooood luck!
  6. wgr

    wgr New Member

    aint that a blag newey when you just know its drying to quick and you having to kill yourself to keep up with it....
  7. Charlie21

    Charlie21 New Member

    Thanks for the replies to my questions guys. Useful stuff.

    Doesn't anyone use a sponge float? Waste of time? I thought they were supposed to save time but I wasn't sure at what point to use it. Thanks again.
  8. Tangoman

    Tangoman Well-Known Member

    I tried using a sponge float, but on the thistle stuff the finish is not as good.

    I have a couple of questions though myself:
    1) What is the purpose of the final dry trowel?
    2) Saw a plasterer's work recently and by the time his wall had dried it was like marble on top. My plastering never sets as hard on the surface (although my work is flatter :)). What's the secret of this - am I leaving it too late before doing my wet trowel, too early, Not pressing hard enough?
    3) What's a good source of milk-crates for doing ceilings?


  9. wgr

    wgr New Member

    if he is flicking water on dry troweling basically just runs all the water over the top hense the marble finish
  10. newey

    newey New Member

    come on guys, where's best to find milk crates? no local dairy. Have made several hop-ups, but you all know, crates are light wieght and blooming hard to get hold of!!!
  11. bathstyle

    bathstyle Active Member


    A lot of parts of Europe sell crates of soft drinks or beer with glass bottles. You get charged a little extra for the crate and bottles and when you return the empties and crate you get the money back. I've got a couple of the beer crates and they are perfect for plastering. So if you're ever going to France then keep this in mind!
  12. Boff

    Boff New Member

    You can get a good aluminium step from dare I say it - B&Q for 20 - 30 quid. Probably the best thing they sell.
  13. Charlie21

    Charlie21 New Member

    Since putting up the question, I've done 4 days of plastering. I'm turning out some decent stuff and learnt some things from your comments so thanks for that.

    Any opinions on light? I cocked a wall up a bit when there was a lack of light. Then worked with some 500w halogens, sweated my nuts off and the plaster hardened too quickly for my liking! Best room was the one with windows so I could really see the surface.

    Someone questioned the purpose of the final dry trowel. I saw on some of the walls I did I think the last trowel I did was a wet one. The walls need cleaning/dry troweling to get bits of dust/**** off before painting. I think plaster can also bubble up a bit as it dries so the dry trowel is meant to flatten these out.

    Maybe hotels are good for crates as they sell plenty of big bottles of sparkling water to your reps and ponsy britvics to Aunt Sally, the crates of which would be good for low ceilings. Made to measure.

    Yesterday I got 3 bags of plaster on the walls and ceiling and even had a cookery lesson from the friend of mine who runs the restaurant where I'm working. I got mixed up though and started doing the walls with a delicious cheese sauce.
  14. Tangoman

    Tangoman Well-Known Member

    You can slow down plaster drying with some mortar plasticizer in the mix.

    I like to work with a single halogen light source I cart around, when doing walls. Placed at one end of the wall it is great for seeing any imperfections in the finish.

  15. sooperman

    sooperman New Member

    i prsonally cant stand guys like you that do a quick course and then think u can catch up with the big boys. i personally went to college 4 yrs in all 2 for plastering then another 2 for fibrous but here goes. always plaster in to coat work. 1st coat leave to go off then flatten with a 18 inch dry trowel. second coat mix with dirty water it will go off quicker if u want speed. again flatten with the 18 wet trowel. to avoid waives never plaster in different directions always go up down the only time you go across is to dry trowel 15- 30 mins after completing a wall. tips, wet trowel with clean water only with a drop of pva the painter will love you. add dirty water only to 2nd mix to make water go off always clean angles out that is the true sign of a master plasterer add pva to slow down mix and finally never panic only put on as much as you can handle and work only in a clear room. i personally use about 7-10 bags depending most done in 1 day 160 metres. good luck
  16. dj.

    dj. New Member

    so you mix with dirty water, which british gypsum don't reccomend, to speed up the setting process. then you put pva in to slow the setting process which isn't reccomended either!!
  17. layiton

    layiton New Member

    using dirty water can effect the strength of the plaster so in some cases when trowelling off the plaster starts to break down causing it to flake. thought you were a master plasterer? sound like a bodger to me! 160m a day either ******** or a very bad job! you would have had to use about 15 bags of powder for that area! me thinks you lying!! bye for now.
  18. nearnwales

    nearnwales Member

    hello all

    I've been plastering for 15 years and was tort by the best plasters i know, my father and my grandad they made a great team my grandad is 80 now and still working.

    This is how I work and as I am concerned the only way to plaster . I always get 3 mixes a day in 4 it's to much. 1st one 8:00 till 10:00 , 10:30 till 12:30 and 1:15 till just after 3 ish and then I put beads on scrim up for the next clean up ect .

    I always use clean water for my mixes. 1st coat the walls opposites only . Your 1st coat shouldn't need flatting get it right in the first place, 2st coat when you finished the first coat but clean your trowel first. Don't let the first coat get dry as am reading here.

    soon as you finished the second coating clean your tools if its the first opposite wall just clean the wood work if it the second opposites clean the angles down with clean water . you should have a clean bucket of water next to your spot , change it when its dirty!!.

    First trowel should be a dry trowel no water but this depends on the suction so no real rule here . second and third trowel with water start at the top of the wall .

    It should be about 10:00 now go and have break hard trowel the wall after break to a nice finish ,clean wood work .

    Ive used a sponge float a few time cant get used to it tho cant see the benefit of it too
  19. layiton

    layiton New Member

    each to there own in regards to how you plaster, personally i think you have to let the first coat stiffen a bit and flatten before laying down if you lay it down straight away and the first coat is still slashy you might as well just put one coat on! just my opinion though.
  20. dj.

    dj. New Member

    each to there own in regards to how you plaster,
    personally i think you have to let the first coat
    stiffen a bit and flatten before laying down if you
    lay it down straight away and the first coat is still
    slashy you might as well just put one coat on! just
    my opinion though.

    totally agree, let it go in a bit, flatten then top coat.

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