Plastering Wallboard

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Remodeling    by: ITC

You need only apply two very thin finishing coats directly over the drywall.

The plaster needed for the job is sold ready mixed or in a powder form requiring only the addition of water. It is mixed in the same way as other plasters and has a creamy texture.

Because you are only applying a finishing coat to the drywall board there is no need for thickness guides, except at any external corners.

It is a good idea to practice scooping the plaster from the hawk on to the trowel first, using a spare piece of drywall to try your hand at spreading the plaster and making it stick to the board_ The technique is to hold the hawk in your left hand (or right if you are left handed) so the top is level and set the trowel blade on edge, so it is at right angles to the top of the hawk. Use the trowel to push some plaster towards the edge of the hawk, scooping it off at the same time as tilting the hawk towards you. The whole is done in one smooth movement.

The first job is to seal the joints between the individual panels of gypsum board, reinforcing them with perforated paper tape or nylon tape to prevent the plaster cracking. The standard paper tape is available in 2in wide rolls of 50-500 feet.

Cut strips of tape to run the length of each joint, including any horizontal ones, before you begin plastering. They must be exactly the right length and should not overlap or be folded, otherwise the plaster will not grip the wall properly.

To seal the joint, spread a thin layer of plaster, about 4in wide, along it from bottom to-top. Hold the trowel so that the blade is at an angle of about 30° to the wall, reducing it as you move up the joint and the plaster on the trowel thins.

While the plaster is still wet, press the tape into it. The easiest way to do this is by draping one end over the blade of the trowel and pressing this into the plaster at the ceiling. Then gently slide the trowel down the plaster, positioning the tape with your other hand. Once the tape is in place, run the trowel carefully up the plaster to make sure it is bedded properly. Treat all the other joints between the panels in the same way.

When the taped joints have dried — which should take about 11/2 hours — fill in the areas between them with more plaster. Work upwards from the floor, spreading the plaster in thin vertical strips and being careful not to build up ridges at the joint positions. Stop just short of the ceiling and work downwards from there to get a clean, sharp angle.

Unless you are working on a very small area, by the time you have finished putting on the first coat, the area you started on will be ready for the second coat. This should be about 1/sin thick and applied with long, sweeping strokes to eliminate ridges. Start at the bottom corner of the wall and work upwards and along to make one continuous coating.

Allow the plaster to set slightly and then go back over it with a clean trowel to smooth off the surface. Finally, when it has hardened fully, “polish” the surface by splashing clean water on to it with a paintbrush (about 4in wide) then sweep the trowel back and forth lightly. This will give a smooth, matt finish ready for decoration.

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