There are many reasons why homeowners would want interior design advice and help with plastering their walls. Plastering is one of the final steps in finishing an exterior or interior wall. You need to do this when building a new house or adding a new room.

Plastering also becomes essential when you need to refinish a wall. If you have had stucco walls for several years and now want a smoother finish than you would need to plaster the walls to smoothen it out. Of course, you can hire a professional plasterer, but their services might not be within your budget.

DIY Plastering

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Instead, you could try learning how to plaster a wall yourself. Watch some videos on how the professionals plaster walls and read the following steps to guide you through the whole process. You’ll be adding another skill to your arsenal that will help with any future house renovation plans.

Plus, doing your own plastering means you’ll be able to save some money. This is especially handy if you’re redecorating on a budget!

The art of DIY plastering will be difficult to master at first but with enough practice, you’ll get the hang of skim coating and will be able to refinish any wall in your house at will.

Tools to prepare for plastering walls

There are several tools you will need before taking on the project yourself.

  • PVA Primer
  • Bag of plaster
  • Paint rollers
  • Painters tape
  • Five-gallon buckets
  • Bucket of clean water
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Wooster brush
  • Putty Knife
  • Stirring rod
  • Mud pan
  • Squeegee knife
  • Plastic tarps or newspapers

Once you have all the correct tools you can move on to plastering your first wall!

How To Plaster A Wall

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Plastering a wall is similar to painting it, the only difference is the consistency of the material being applied to the wall and the process used. Skim coating a wall can be easy provided that you follow these straightforward guidelines.

Step 1: Cover the floors

The last thing you want is to have a lot of mess to clean up after the work is done. Cover your floors with a large plastic tarp or a drop cloth to protect the carpet, hardwood floors, or floorboards of the room you will be working in. Don’t forget to cover any furniture that is near the wall that will be worked on.

Secure the tarp or plastic cover with painters tape so that it does not dislodge when you are walking around the room. Covering the floors and furniture will prevent any unnecessary clean up later.

Step 2: Repair any holes

It is best to use expanding foam insulation for any large holes in the wall before applying plaster. Look for any visible holes in the wall and apply the foam insulation directly into the wall to fill and patch any holes. The foam will expand and completely fill the gap.

Cut out the excess using your putty knife, there won’t be any need to apply joint compound to smoothen the surface since you will be skim coating the entire surface of the wall anyway.

Step 3: Prepare the workspace

You would need to make sure that all the required tools are clean before starting the project. Each tool that will come in contact with the wall needs to be clean. Using tools that are covered with dust, grime or plaster from a previous job will affect the integrity of the work.

The same thing needs to be done to the walls that will be worked on. Clean the walls to remove dust and debris from every square inch of the wall. Use a bristle brush with a long handle to scrub clean any hard to reach areas.

A clean wall is a necessity before applying the PVA primer. If the wall is dirty, these loose materials will mix in with the primer, and it will negatively affect the outcome.

Step 4: Apply PVA glue primer

Once the wall has been cleaned it is ready to apply the primer. You need to apply the PVA (PolyVinyl Acetate) glue since it is an adhesive, it will prepare the wall to bind to the plaster. If you do not use the PVA primer, the plaster will not adhere to the wall and will fall off.

Read the instructions on the label of the PVA package and get a batch of PVA glue ready. The water to PVA ratio to make the PVA mixture is 3:1. So, to prepare the PVA glue mix three parts water for every part of PVA.

Use a large bottle and fill it with the correct quantity of water then add the appropriate amount of PVA mix and shake thoroughly. Pour the PVA mixture in the painter’s tray or bucket and dip the paint roller in the PVA.

Roll it through the Wooster brush to remove excess amounts of the PVA then take the paint roller and proceed to apply the PVA to the wall. Start applying the PVA on the top left of the wall, work in long sweeping motions until the entire wall has been coated with PVA.

Wait until the first coat of PVA primer has dried and then apply a second coat. Make sure to clean your tools while you wait for the second coat or use a new set of clean tools.

Step 5: Mix the plaster

Don’t pour the plaster into an empty bucket, and add water, that is the wrong way to make plaster. The plaster will harden too quickly and leave you with a useless batch. The correct way to mix plaster is first to fill a bucket with clean water and then slowly add the plaster.

As you add the plaster, make sure to mix the water in the bucket continually. The correct rate of water to plaster is 1:1, so for every part of water add an equal part of plaster. Allow the plaster to set for two minutes before you start mixing.

Use a stirring rod to mix the plaster or a power drill with a paddle attachment will work wonders for mixing the plaster. The plaster should have the consistency of mud, that will tell you that it is ready to be applied to the wall.

Step 6: Apply the first coat of plaster

Pour the plaster into a mud pan, and you can use a clean paint roller to apply the plaster to the wall. If you want to practice using a trowel and hawk then go ahead. However, using a paint roller to apply the plaster is very easy to do and is pretty much foolproof. It’s just like painting a wall.

Using a trowel will take a little more getting used to. When applying plaster using a trowel, scoop up some plaster with the trowel and start from the bottom part of the wall the move upwards. Smear the plaster onto the wall and in a gentle arc slide the trowel going up.

Make sure to hold the trowel at a slight angle with one side directly on the surface of the wall and the other side just on a slight angle. You need to repeat this process until you have covered the entire surface of the wall.

The first coat needs to be about one centimetre thick as this will more than cover any imperfections on the wall and make it look brand new. Let it dry for about fifteen to twenty minutes before applying the second coat.

Step 7: Smoothen to a finish

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For good measure apply a second coat of plaster using your preferred method, either paint roller or trowel. Make sure to apply the second coat evenly to the entire wall.

The simplest method to smoothen the first coat of plaster is to use a squeegee knife. If the plaster is a bit dry, take a spray bottle filled with water and spray directly into the wall. The water will moisten the surface just enough to be adequately smoothened.

Use the same process if using a paint roller, except with the squeegee knife you will need to apply slight pressure with your thumb on the left side to keep the squeegee at a slight angle. Scrape any excess plaster into the mud pan and repeat the process until the entire wall is smooth.

Now you can start DIY plastering your walls

Plastering a wall yourself will leave you pleasantly surprised with what you can accomplish. Just follow the guidelines listed above, use a paint roller for easy DIY plastering. If you’re extra brave, you can experiment with how to plaster a wall using a trowel and hawk. You can even help and teach loved ones once you master DIY plastering yourself.


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