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The Beginner’s 6-Step Guide to Applying Plaster on Walls


Plastering is a technique that involves applying a smooth coating of plaster to walls, ceilings, and other surfaces to create a finished and polished look. Plastering is a skill that takes time and practice to master, but it is an essential part of any construction or renovation project.

Plaster is applied to walls for several reasons. It creates a smooth and even surface that is easy to paint or decorate, making it an excellent option for homeowners who want a customised home. Conversely, plaster is also used to cover up imperfections in the wall, such as cracks or uneven surfaces, with the benefit of added insulation. Applying plaster is similar to paint, but the tricky part is achieving a consistent, level finish.

To help you with this, we will guide you on how to apply plaster in this article. The steps are as follows:

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Materials

Before starting the plastering process, gather all the necessary tools and materials. Here is a list of things you will need:

  • Plaster
  • Water
  • Mixing bucket and paddle
  • Trowel
  • Jointing knife
  • Hawk
  • Paintbrush
  • Sandpaper
  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask
  • Protective clothing (long-sleeved shirt, pants, gloves)

All these materials are vital because they help to protect the individual from potential harm and injury while performing certain tasks or activities during the plastering job. However, it’s worth noting that these materials should be used following the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines and worn at all times when required.

Step 2: Clear the Surrounding Area

Before starting the plastering job, it’s important to clear the surrounding area of any items that could be damaged or obstruct the work. Move furniture and remove any decorative objects from the walls to prevent accidental damage and make the work area safer and more efficient.

Covering certain home fixtures is also vital, especially if they cannot be easily moved. This applies to big furniture, light fixtures, switches, and outlets that cannot be removed from the room. Cover them with plastic sheets or drop cloths to protect them from plaster dust, debris, and splatters.

Step 3: Scrape and Sand the Walls

To prepare the surface of your walls for the plaster, you need to scrape and sand them to remove any loose or flaking paint, wallpaper, or debris. You can use a scraper or putty knife to remove any big chunks, and then sand the walls using sandpaper or a sanding block to create a smooth surface that will allow the plaster to adhere properly. The time it takes to do this usually depends on the size of the area you are working on and the condition of the walls, so you must be patient yet thorough.

Step 4: Mask the Edges or Any Uncovered Parts of the Wall

Masking the edges or any uncovered wall part before plastering is essential because it protects areas you don’t want to get plaster on, such as mouldings, baseboards, and window sills. You can use painter’s tape or masking tape to cover these areas. Apply the tape tightly so it won’t peel off during plastering. Also, cover any electrical outlets or switches you don’t want to get plaster on to make the cleanup process much easier.

Step 5: Moisten the Walls

Plaster is a water-based material that needs a damp surface to adhere to. Before plastering, moisten the walls with a spray bottle or a damp sponge. This will help the plaster stick to the wall and prevent it from cracking or falling off later. Wet the entire wall evenly, and don’t let any water pool on the surface. Leave the wall to dry just to have enough moisture for a few minutes before applying the plaster.

Step 6: Apply the Plaster and Smooth It

The bulk of the plastering job lies in this step. Mix the plaster according to the manufacturer’s instructions until it reaches a smooth, workable consistency. Apply the plaster onto the wall in a thin layer using a trowel by starting from the bottom and working your way up, covering the entire surface evenly. For the final touch, use a plastering float to smooth out the surface of the plaster, making it level and uniform. Continue working in small sections until the entire wall is covered. If you notice any lumps or bumps, use the trowel or float to smooth them.


Plaster is an excellent option for wall finishes as it is durable, long-lasting, and can be moulded into various shapes and designs. For this reason, applying plaster must be done correctly, especially since it will stay on your walls until they need a new layer. This way, your home will get a smooth and even finish that will last long.

If you are looking for plasterers in Brisbane, We Plaster & Recruit can help! Our professional contractors use high-quality materials to ensure your home gets long-lasting plaster for affordable prices. Request a quote from us today!

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