How to apply finishing plaster guide

Whether it’s redecorating your bathroom walls or adding a smarter finish to a kitchen ceiling, applying a finishing plaster can be a great way of providing a high quality and smoother finish to indoor surfaces.

So when it comes to doing this yourself, you can rely on our helpful HOMYZE How To Guides to teach you all you need to know about ensuring your home’s walls and ceilings are finished to the highest quality.

How to apply finishing plaster step by step

1) Tools and materials

The first step when carrying out any DIY work is to make sure you have all the required tools and materials to hand, as abandoning a project midway because you forgot that essential item can be a frustrating and time-consuming mistake.

To successfully apply finishing plaster within your home, you will need the following:

• Mechanical whisk
• Trowel
• Hawk
• Bucket
• Plastering beads (if working with corners)
• Small brush
• Clean water
• Protective clothing
• Dust sheets

This is what a hawk looks like - how to apply finishing plaster

2) Prepare your workspace

Making sure that your wall or ceiling, as well as the surrounding area, is fit for the work to take place is paramount for a successful job. So before you get to work on your wall, you will want to check the following:

• That your wall or ceiling is strong and stable enough to support the work you plan on carrying out.
• That any furniture in the room is removed or safely covered.
• That your surface and the general area are free of any dust or dirt.
• That your wall and ceiling are dry and the general area is protected from the effects of the weather such as rain or freezing. You will also want to make sure that your room remains at a steady temperature throughout the work.

3) Mixing your plaster

After ensuring that all your tools are clean and ready for use, and you’ve laid down your dust sheets, you’ll want to move onto mixing your plaster. Start by measuring out the correct amount of clean water needed for the plaster mix of which you will find listed on the packaging instructions.

Next, slowly add the mix to the water, before gently mixing the two together with either a mechanical whisk on a slow setting or simply by hand. Once all the lumps have been removed from your mix, you should be all set for the next step of applying the plaster.

4) Applying your plaster

First, use your trowel to cut away at a large section of the mixed plaster before moving it onto the hawk. Start cutting away at the plaster on the hawk with your trowel before firmly pushing the plaster onto your wall. Work in vertical and horizontal strokes going from top to bottom until your surface is completely covered. If applying a two coat plastering you will want to build out to approximately 8mm, while a skim plastering only requires 1mm thickness.

Try to work in sequences to avoid the plaster hardening before you’ve finished. It’s important to remember that plaster takes roughly 90 minutes to set, so try to avoid any unnecessary distractions throughout the work.

5) Wait and apply again

When you have covered the entire surface you will need to leave it for roughly half an hour. Once the plaster is starting to harden, but still slightly damp, go over the surface with the trowel to smooth it out while making sure to fill in any small depressions you may have missed.

Again, wait for around another half an hour before repeating the smoothing process. If the plaster has hardened too much, dampen the area as you work. Use a small brush to help finish off any areas, such as corners or edges that are difficult to finish with your trowel. And there you have it, your new smooth surface.

This is what plastering looks like - how to apply finishing plaster

How do I plaster a corner?

Plastering a corner is often a rather difficult undertaking and many are put off by this difficult part of the job. However, with a bit of know-how and the right tools to hand, you can put to rest any fears that you may have for tackling those tricky corners.

The best method if you plan on attempting the work yourself is simply to use a corner bead, as this will also ensure a straight edge when plastering. To begin, simply cut the corner bead down to the correct size before attaching it tight to the corner. Apply the plaster mix directly over the corner bead to guarantee your corners have the perfect smooth finish.

Those looking for an alternative to corner beads can use a simple corner trowel to smooth down the edges. And while this doesn’t give the clean straight finish that using a corner bead offers, it does help create a nice, rustic edge that some may prefer depending on their home aesthetic.


How do I plaster a brick wall?

The idea of plastering a brick wall may feel like a DIY job too far for some, but it’s actually a fairly simple process that follows the How to apply finishing plaster step-by-step guide above just with a few simple differences.

First, your brick wall must be in a good condition before being plastered, any signs of crumbling or damage can potentially lead to problems in the future. To clean your wall, simply scrub it down with warm water to remove any crumbling brick or dirt. However, if there are still signs of damage to your wall after being cleaned, you may need to call in an expert to take a closer look for any long-term, lingering damage.

After allowing your brick wall to dry, the next step is to apply a bonding coat plaster. Regular plaster will often struggle to hold to brick walls so a bonding agent, such as bonding coat plaster, must be applied beforehand. To do so, simply use a paintbrush to paint the bonding coat plaster onto the brick wall ensuring you completely cover the surface area. Wait for roughly an hour for the bonding coat plaster to dry before then applying the initial layer of plaster.

Peeling plaster on brick wall how to apply finishing plaster

What is Thistle Plaster?

Made by British Gypsum, Thistle Plaster is a highly popular plastering choice for plasterers and other experienced tradesmen. Known for its high quality and ability to be used by both machine applications and by hand, Thistle plaster provides walls and ceilings with an excellent finish while still remaining incredibly durable.


What is board finish plaster?

Designed for use with low to medium suction backgrounds such as plasterboard, concrete and flat surfaces that have been treated with any bonding agents, board finish plaster provides a smooth high-quality finish to surfaces. Board finish plaster’s durable base also makes it a great choice for those looking to add decorative finishes to their walls or ceilings, while the presence of gypsum within makes it a great fire resistant option for within the home.


What is bonding coat plaster?

Bonding coat plaster is typically used as an undercoat before plastering a wall or ceiling. Due to its sticky nature, bonding coat plaster can be applied to a variety of walls and ceilings, as it does not require an absorbent surface to bond with, making it an ideal option for bare brick or other low suction surfaces.


In Summary

Plastering a wall or ceiling yourself can be a great way of carrying out home improvements without the added expenses of hiring a tradesman. However, a poor job can make all that money saved and effort a complete waste, not to mention having to resolve any further issues you may have created. If you would rather hire a professional plasterer to carry out the hard work for you, get in touch with us here at HOMYZE. No matter the job, our trusted professionals will happily undertake the work for you.

READ OUR Step by step GUIDE ON HOW how to repair plaster walls