DIY Plastering Expectations vs Reality

Old plaster

There are all sorts of jobs that the average DIY enthusiasts can do around the house: fitting new lightbulbs, erecting shelves and making small tweaks to the plumbing. But there’s one thing that even the keenest of do-it-yourselfers should avoid: DIY plastering.

DIY Plastering Expectations

DIYers often believe that they will be able to recreate a plastering masterpiece like the Sistine Chapel after watching a couple of tutorials on YouTube.

But getting plastering right is exceedingly difficult and takes several months, if not years to perfect.

Plaster mouldings

It’s not the sort of thing you can pick up on a whim on the weekend and get right first time around.

Skill, trial and error, and an understanding of the process are all essential.

Without substantial training, the reality of your DIY attempts will fall short of expectations.

Common DIY Plastering Mistakes

Amateurs make the following mistakes when plastering:

  • Failing to mix the plaster properly, resulting in lumps
  • Not finishing the plaster according to the ‘provider’s instructions
  • Failing to let the plaster dry adequately
  • Using incorrect plastering tools
  • Using improper technique
  • Lacking the skill to apply plasterwork in tight corners
  • Failing to prepare the area for plasterwork

What Can Happen When DIY Plastering Goes Horribly Wrong?

There are all sorts of ways that DIY enthusiasts can get plastering horribly wrong.

The results of incorrect preparation and application can include a lumpy finish, plaster than peels off the wall, and lots of time wasted.

Crumbling plaster

Some DIY enthusiasts rush to get plastering done quickly – it’s not the most enjoyable job in the world.

But in their rush to speed things along, they don’t allow the plaster enough time to do its work.

Plaster needs time to dry out

There are numerous examples of people plastering a wall as fast as they can, painting over it, only to find that the plaster later crumbles off, creating loads of extra work and expense.

Using out of date plaster

Plaster tends to lose its desirable properties over time.

It starts pliable and fresh but can become lumpy and more difficult to manipulate as it gets older.

The problem with out-of-date plaster, however, is that it behaves okay while you’re applying it.

DIYers often believe that they will be able to recreate a plastering masterpiece like the Sistine Chapel after watching a couple of tutorials on YouTube.

But when you leave it to dry, it becomes hard and lumpy and, frankly, looks terrible.

When that happens, you’ve got no choice but to rip it all out and start again – there’s often no way to rescue the situation.

Poor Plaster Preparation

In order to do a good plastering job, you need to prepare the site to receive the plaster.

Without preparation, you could encounter a whole host of preventable issues.

Many DIYers, for instance, don’t ensure that their walls have had a coat of PVA.

They also often neglect to skrim tape all cracked areas and joints and apply the correct backing agents.

Failing to do these things will make plasterwork disappointing.

No, you won’t end up with a total disaster on your hands, but you will wonder why it doesn’t look as good as on YouTube videos and in magazines.

Clean plastering tools

Finally, when plastering, it’s vital to clean your tools.

If your tools are covered in old plaster then, guess what; that old plaster will make its way onto your walls and look awful as a result.

DIY plastering with dirty tools creates rough plaster

Nothing looks worse than old plaster mixed with new, or other debris caught in the plasterwork, like stones, grit and sawdust.

Always Choose A Professional Plasterer

The good news is that there is a way to get around disastrous DIY plasterwork: hire a professional plasterer to do the job for you.

Professional plasterers aren’t just people who get paid for doing DIY work: they’re skilled artisans with years of experience plying their trade.

Professional plasterers take precautions such as regularly cleaning tools, adequately preparing the area to be plastered, and ensuring that they use the right equipment.

Doing so reduces the chances of ending up with a diy plastering disaster.

When you think about it, it’s just not worth trying to do plastering yourself.

You might think that you’re saving money by doing it yourself, but when you get it wrong, you’ll have to undo the damage – something that could take hours.

It’s not uncommon for a DIY enthusiast to believe that they can complete a plastering job in a few minutes, only to find out once it has dried that they need to strip it all out and start again – a process that can take an entire afternoon. Don’t waste time: hire a pro.

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