Plaster refers to the material that is applied in wall finishing to produce a surface that is amenable to decoration. Mastering the art of plastering takes years, but with time it is something you can learn to do by yourself if you are keen enough. Therefore you should not expect to produce a smooth, attractive finish after a couple of attempts. Here are a few DIY plastering tips that will help to get on your way to becoming a competent plasterer.
Plan the job
For a beginner, it is advisable to start small and not to bite off more than you can chew. Therefore do not try to work on all four walls at once since this may sour the whole experience and result in a situation where nothing gets done to a satisfactory level.Try to focus on one surface at a time and leave the bigger walls until last.
It is also useful to assemble the requisite tools before embarking on your plastering DIY project. Some typical tools include hard (or wire) brushes, trowels, cutting tools, mixing buckets and plastering tape.
Practice builds confidence
As a novice, you can benefit from starting in a spare bedroom with a poor finish that needs improvement. This is because successful plastering has a lot to do with confidence and practicing in an area where there is little pressure will stand you in good stead when you start working on the main project. Try to plaster skim over the walls as many times as possible to perfect your skill.
Cement and sand
Using cement and sand works great if you want to improve as a beginner. This is because the mixture takes 24 hours to dry, and therefore you have enough time to experiment and work on your skill.
Preparing the area to be plastered is critical so as to eliminate any unevenness in the final finish. Using a hard brush, delicately remove any dust, loose particles of existing plaster and crumbly material from the surface. This will help you achieve a superb, smooth and durable finish.
After brushing, you also need to give the surface a good washing before applying your primer. This is normally a mixture of water and PVA glue. An initial coat of primer gives a good foundation to your plaster and minimizes the possibility of the wall sucking out moisture which may result in the plaster becoming powdery and brittle and then drying and cracking. You can then apply a second coat of the primer, and this should be moist before application of your new plaster. This will be the bonding surface, and will make the application of a new and smooth plaster easy. It will also make your plaster long-lasting.
Successful plastering is heavily influenced by the cleanliness of your water and the tools you use. Any little contamination will render the attainment of a perfect finish nearly impossible. Even tiny flakes of old plaster will leave unsightly marks on your hard work. This can be quite frustrating, but can be correctly easily if you observe high levels of cleanliness.
Many DIY plastering enthusiasts try to make everything perfect the first time. Use our trowel to judge the application process of each stage. Each swipe of your trowel will enable you to assess how smooth your plaster is. It is always useful to undertake a practice run initially in order to get a proper feel of the mixture of plaster that you intend to use.
Focus on flatness
Flatness is key when plastering. Many people focus on attaining a smooth surface and totally forget this. Smoothness will be achieved through repeated skimming so concentrate on making your plastered surface flat.
You should also pay special attention to the corners, which must be completely flat. For internal corners, the right and left corners must be totally flat when you hold a straight edge vertically. Likewise, the top and bottom must be flat when you hold a straight edge horizontally.
For external corners (on outside walls), the angle beads must be straight and should be in line with surrounding frames or walls.
Ensure you apply firm pressure on your trowel to eliminate bulges. The trowel must also be held at the correct angle. As a result, the plaster will be pushed across the entire length of the trowel and will be forced into all holes on the plaster surface.
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