Plastering Supplies: Professional Contractors Checklist
Cracks, bumps, and rough spots…oh my!
As a tradesman, you can probably spot a botched plastering job from 50 meters. It takes skill and an artistic touch to create a smooth, unnoticeable plaster surface.
But to do this, you need the right tools and supplies.
Check out this article for a professional contractor’s checklist of plastering supplies. Plus, we’ll give you some bonus tips on how to improve your plastering skills.
Have These Plastering Supplies On Hand
This checklist will keep you organized and help cut down on waste. Use it to ensure you’ve got everything you need before you start your next job.
Plasterboard, Plaster, & Screws
Your supplies list differs based on the type of plastering you’re doing. Wet plaster requires more plaster mix. Whereas plasterboard requires tools and supplies to secure it in place.
When ordering plasterboard from your local supplier, be sure to order some extra sheets. You may need to get around awkward corners. Or work around doorways and window frames.
You’ll attach the boards to the wall studs with screws or nails, depending on your preference. Again, make sure you order some extra screws so you don’t find yourself short. Plan for enough screws to drive them every 150 mm along the length of the wall studs.
And, of course, you’ll need to order plaster. The quantity depends on your technique. Plasterboard requires much less plaster than wet plastering.
Other useful supplies for securing plasterboard:
- Stud adhesive
- Joint tape
- Plasterboard lift to hold the sheets up when installing on a ceiling
Utility Knife & Level
In a perfect world, the walls would be exactly the same size and shape as your plasterboard, but we all know that’s not usually the case.
You’ll need a sharp utility knife with plenty of extra blades to cut the boards down to size. Don’t forget to invest in a longer level, like a 122cm level, to provide a long straight edge in addition to leveling ability.
Bucket or Wheelbarrow
You’ll never go wrong with a high-quality wheelbarrow because you can use it to mix other things too, like cement. This is the best way to mix large batches of plaster.
You also don’t want your plaster mixture to get too dry. Use a clean bucket for smaller jobs, and make sure you have access to plenty of fresh water when it’s time to mix the plaster.
Mixing Paddle for a Power Drill
You can mix plaster by hand using a shovel, but it’s best to get a special mixing paddle that attaches to your power drill.
These paddles are worth the investment because they save you time. They come in different shapes and sizes depending on how thick you plan to mix your plaster. Best of all, they make the plaster much smoother than mixing by hand.
Hawk/Trowel Combo & Sandpaper
The hawk and trowel have been around for centuries, and they’re still the best way to apply plaster to a wall.
The size of your hawk/trowel combo depends on your preferences. For larger jobs, you’ll want larger tools, but you may want to have smaller trowels in your toolbox for more precision work.
Once you’ve applied plaster throughout the room, sand down rough areas for a seamless wall. Use sandpaper or sanding blocks to achieve this look. A pole sander is a great tool for sanding high walls or ceilings.
Safety Equipment & Proper Clothing
Anytime you’re working with heights, ensure that you and your crew are safe by investing in the right safety equipment.
As we mentioned earlier, a plasterboard lift is essential if you’re applying plasterboard high up. It takes the brunt of the weight off your shoulders and cuts down the risk that you might drop a heavy piece of plasterboard on your head.
If you’re using a ladder, follow ladder safety guidelines. This applies to scaffolds too. Consider using safety harnesses for high scaffolds.
Make sure everyone in your crew has safety gloves and glasses. Use hardhats if doing any work on the ceiling, and make sure that everyone uses a dust mask, especially during the sanding process.
Plastering Tip #1: Prep the Walls
Once you gather the right tools, it’s essential to prep the walls before you begin. If you’re using a wet plaster technique, you’ll need to prime the walls first with a specialty plaster primer. This primer gives the plaster a tacky surface to stick to.
Also, determine the suction level of the wall surface before you start plastering. The suction level varies depending on the wall material and affects how you mix the plaster.
Mix up a small batch of plaster and apply a test spot to the wall using your trowel. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then check the test spot for consistency.
If the plaster is dry and powdery, then you’re dealing with a high-suction wall. If the test spot is still wet and tacky, you’re dealing with a low suction wall. Most plasterboard is low-suction.
Plastering Tip #2: Get the Right Mix
If you can, dedicate a bucket or wheelbarrow to plastering jobs only. This ensures that you don’t muck up your plaster with other construction materials.
Mix up your test plaster using 1 part water to 1 part plaster. You’ll see how the wall surface reacts to this mixture in the previous step. Adjust your water to plaster ratio according to the wall suction.
A good rule of thumb is to make your plaster so that it supports itself in stiff peaks, but not so stiff that it’s difficult to work with. Keep mixing it periodically as you work to make sure it doesn’t separate or dry out.
Great Tools Make for Great Work
The right plastering supplies make for beautifully seamless, plastered walls. Use this checklist to keep you organized when you’re working on a plastering job.
Remember that your supplies will vary depending on the type of plastering. Plasterboard requires a few more supplies than does traditional wet plastering. Plan for extra when ordering supplies.
At CDBS, we’ve got a large selection of high-quality tools for the experienced tradie. Check out our general building supplies page to find everything you need from shovels to safety gear.