Plastering and rendering – How to get a professional finish

Plastering and renderingPlastering refers to the method of creating plasterwork, where a layer of plaster is used to cover an interior wall, whilst rendering makes walls weatherproof, as well as ensuring they look “finished off.”

Rendering the outside of a building usually involves at least one coat render – and in some instances two and possibly even three –  of cement and sand. The last coat can be “rubbed up” with a trowel to achieve a smooth finish.

Although there are various plasters, the three main types are gypsum, cement based and lime. Gypsum plasters are used indoors only because the mixture will crumble and breakaway if subject to damp. Comprising of a soft mineral, it is favoured for finishing purposes. You might know it better as Plaster of Paris.

Cement based plasters are not susceptible to cold and wet conditions and therefore can be used outside or on inner walls if the area is prone to damp or the wall requires a greater thickness of cover. Lime plasters are used when working with traditional wooden laths rather than the more common plaster boards.

Before any plaster work is carried out, the surface needs to be prepared and readied by a plastering professional. For outside work, plasters and renders must adhere to certain important characteristics. Namely, to be weatherproof and withstand temperature changes and provide protection against moisture and rain.

Plasters that are lime-based and cement-based meet these requirements particularly well. Plaster for internal use needs to be breathable, resistant to abrasion and able to withstand decorating and being covered with paint, wallpaper and tiles.

What are the most commonly used types of plaster/render?

  • Thin coat renders
  • Cement render
  • Gypsum plaster
  • Clay plaster and render
  • Lime render and plaster

The trick to plastering is practice and good technique

Plastering isn’t a particularly easy job. Large jobs, such as plastering a ceiling, can be fiddly and tricky. On the whole, the secret to perfect plastering is lots of practice and a good technique. DIY enthusiasts may be keen to try their hand at plastering walls. There’s certainly enough guides out there offering handy tips and advice. But given the nature of the job and how the right technique can greatly influence the end result, in most cases plastering and rendering will be a job for the professionals.

Builder Guide has a host of professional plasterers for internal plastering and external rendering jobs. Professional plasterers are also skilled in artexing, dry lining, screeding, plaster boarding and coving and cornice plastering work.

It’s best to find a member through Builder Guide who is registered with the Federation of Plastering and Drywall Contractors, or FDPC.

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