Hiring a plasterer; what you need to know

Planning on building an outside wall? Need a ceiling resurfaced? It could be time to call a plasterer!As the name suggests, plasterers are tradesmen whose expertise lies in anything plaster-related. Plasterers can help build and restore floors, ceilings and walls – as well as creating outdoor walls and decorative fixtures.Plastering is a broad term and you will find that plasterers tend to specialise in certain areas of the trade so it is important to know what sort of plasterer you are looking for.As with most skilled craftsmen, good plasterers are in short supply and therefore it is difficult to contract a good one, which is essential if you want a good job and a fair price.

When might I need one?

There are two main categories of plastering work: solid plastering and fibrous plastering.Solid plastering means applying plaster finishes to creative a smooth finish on surfaces like walls, floors, and drives. Adding protective layers such as pebble dashing on outside walls also falls within this category.Fibrous plastering is the name given to ornamental plastering. Examples include creating ornamental columns or ceiling roses, often using moulds and design workshops. This work is far more design-based and there will often be some collusion between the plasterer and an interior/exterior designer on such a project.You might need a plasterer if you need any of the following jobs performed:
  • Applying a new finish to a ceiling or wall;
  • Restoring a ceiling or a wall;
  • Having screed (a sand and cement mixture) laid on a floor;
  • Creating decorative finishes, such as cornices;
  • Having an outside wall pebble dashed.
In addition to these common jobs, a plasterer should be able to provide a ‘dry lining’ service, which is a term used to describe the building of indoor wall and floor partitions using plasterboard. Not all plasterers will offer this service, but most large firms will have several plasterers on their books and will be able to offer the full range of services.

What are the benefits of using a professional over a D.I.Y. job?

If you only need to apply a small amount of plaster to an area, like an outside garage, where aesthetics are not of major importance, you might be tempted to do this yourself. However, more complex tasks are normally way beyond most home owners’ level of expertise: not only is plastering physically draining, but it is also a highly skilful trade.Unless you are confident, and have some prior plastering experience, it is probably best to leave plastering jobs up to the professionals – the finish will be much better (if not, you can always tell them you expect more and have them improve it), and you will save yourself a lot of time and potentially money.Besides this, a plasterer will have years of expertise and know-how, and will often be able to finish a job far quicker than you will, in addition to giving you peace of mind. Also, bear in mind that a job may require specialist tools or knowledge that you simply do not have access to.One last, and fairly major, advantage of using a plasterer as opposed to doing a D.I.Y. job is this: you will have someone to go back to if something should go wrong a few months down the line. When you consider the cost of re-doing an entire job, in terms of time and money, this becomes a major advantage.