Plastering a wall or ceiling may look easy, but anyone who has had a go themselves will know just how tricky it really is. A good plasterer is so highly skilled in his or her craft that they can make the job look effortless. Smooth, creamy plaster glides onto the surface and dries out evenly and perfectly flat – but only when the job is done well.
Most building services companies include plastering in their range of services. When they find someone good, they hang on to them as a valuable commodity. Plastering, like every trade, has some highly skilled craftsmen and women, but many more who are still learning or just don’t take care to get it right.
From mixing up the plaster to preparing the surface to applying a smooth coat, there are many things to take into consideration. A good building services company will understand this and respect their plasterer’s art. For example, the humidity and temperature on the day of plastering will affect the consistency of the mix and the drying time. If plaster dries too quickly it will crack. The characteristics of the surface being plastered are important too. It won’t stick to a damp or glossy surface. Knowing how to get all of these elements right is a skill that most people aren’t aware of.
The part of the job that people do notice is the speed and art with which the plaster goes onto the wall or ceiling. With quick and steady sweeps of the arm, a smooth surface is created. Watching this being done well is an impressive sight and has inspired many amateurs to embark on their own projects, with disastrous consequences. Another sign of good plastering skills is the care he or she takes to avoid creating a mess. It is important to take the time to lay out dust sheets, loosen sockets and switches and vacuum the floor after you’ve finished.
Plasterers are often retained on a monthly wage by building services companies so that they can be sure that they are available when needed. Often a project such as an extension or a renovation will involve several tradesmen trying to work around each other to get everything completed in time. Plastering is one of the final tasks and cannot be done until the electricians, plumbers and joiners have all done their bit. The building services company is usually in a hurry by the time it calls in the plasterer, so availability is crucial.
Most people, whether they are managing their own building work or employing a building services company appreciate the skill and art of plastering once they have seen both good and bad examples.