How to: plaster a wall


If you’re a beginner, start with a small area then build up to a larger one. The trick with plastering is to clean as you go as dry plaster is really hard to clean up and will affect your finish if it dries on your tools.

Level of difficulty

Level 2: Intermediate

Things you’ll need

Plasterer’s trowel
Wooden batten
Spot board
Deviling float
Mixing stick

The steps to follow

1. First, mix the undercoat plaster using an equal amount of water and plaster and stir with a stick

2. Tip the plaster onto a board and knead the mixture with your trowel. Sprinkle more plaster into the mixture if it’s too thin

3. Mix the undercoat plaster to a thick consistency and measure out two buckets to begin with

4.Before you start plastering, nail battens vertically, 60 cm (2 ft) apart from each other. These battens will act as guides to level the plaster

5. Practice loading and unloading the plaster onto the hawk with a trowel

6. Scoop off the plaster. Level the hawk and tip the plaster back onto it

7. Apply the plaster onto the wall. Push the trowel upwards, steadily reducing the angle of the blade as the plaster is spread onto the wall, until it is parallel with the wall

8. Press and squeeze the plaster against the wall. Try to get a 5mm coating

9. Quickly scoop off the practice layer, and begin applying the floating coat in strips, from the bottom right hand corner

10. Use a batten, level the plaster to create an even surface. Slide the tool from the bottom of the area, to the top

11. Scrape the whole floating coat with a devilling float (a wooden float with nails). This ensures that the next coat of plaster adheres properly

12. Spread another layer of plaster from top to bottom

13. With your trowel, smooth the surface using a wide sweeping motion

14. Let the finishing coat dry and harden

15. Dampen the blade of your trowel and sweep the surface again

16. Remove the battens and fill the gaps with plaster

17. Again, level the surface with the batten

18.Smooth the entire area with your trowel

19. Allow 24 hours for the plaster undercoat to dry. With gypsum plasters, you’ll be able to apply a finishing coat as soon as the undercoat is dried

Please note that all our DIY guides and ‘Expert answers’ advice have been written strictly for reference only. Rated People do not accept any liability for any damage caused to an individual, property or anything else as a result of following our DIY guides and using our ‘Expert answers’ advice.


About Author

Melanie Jarvis is the Editor of My Renovations Magazine and the Community Manager for The Sussex Newspaper, the largest online newspaper in Sussex, UK. She is also the Editor of the social media guide – How to use Facebook for Business.
Alongside her editing roles Melanie Jarvis is the Project Manager for extension specialists, Onebuild. Not only does she oversee all of the residential builds, she also places supervisors on extensive commercial works in London.

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