To Plaster A Wall, How Plastering A Wall

Working as a mason in our house makes us feel a creator of something new for ourselves and overall this is a beautiful feeling.

Talking about works for house improvement DIY, among the various works that give great satisfaction, there is the work on the walls like to plastering a wall.

We have already talked about beautiful type of wall finishing, like the Venetian Plaster, but let us say that there are also plasters more modest, but equally valid and pleasant.


In order to well plaster a wall it is necessary first of all making a good preparation of the wall surface, whether we have a surface of normal plaster or a surface of rustic plaster .

The plaster is a layer of mortar or other plastic material used to cover a rough wall. That work does not have only the function of giving a better appearance, but also is made to protect gthe integrity of the wall from atmospheric agents .

The work of plastering with cement mortar can be a bit difficult for a DIY beginner, especially if the surface to be covered is quite wide.

However, for DIY lovers, on the market there are many products easy to apply, such as plastic plasters ready-to-use that are much more workable and very simple to use (these products are readily available in shopping Centers specialized in home improvement and articles for the house and garden or even in stores that sell products and construction equipments).

To get a good job there are some simple rules to keep well in mind in order to have the plaster well fitting to the wall, specifically:

  1. the wall does not have to be recently built. In fact it is better to wait at least 30-40 days before working on a new wall, otherwise you will always see the signs of underlying bricks (and this means that the wall was not was not completely dry when it was plastered).
  2. the wall surface should be well wet and, if it’s made of stone, it would be better to hammer adequately the surface to ensure a better grip.

The two general rules above mentioned have just one exception, when the wall is made of concrete. In this case, in fact, it should be more appropriate (and so advisable) to apply the plaster immediately taking advantage of the gripping effect of the damp concrete .

Going back to the generality, we must say that the composition of the mortar should be related to the type of wall that you have to plaster, type of plaster and the general context (geographical area , altitude, average level of humidity, etc.).

Among the various types of plasters, two are the most popular:

  • Ordinary Plaster which is applied with two coats of mortar (2 parts hydraulic lime, 3 parts fine sand. Mingle first then dry and add water gradually until dough is firm)
  • Roughcast (Rustic Plaster) that is applied with only one coat of mortar and that it is suitable for exterior walls or uninhabited rooms (such as basements, attics, garages, etc. )

Over the years, several types of internal plaster have been used for the walls. The basic types were plaster on timber framework, plasterboard or dry lining plaster on masonry wall,

It should be said that a repair of an internal plaster wall must be done with the same materials and used to build the original wall. In fact, for instance, the traditional lime putty plaster of the old buildings is often far softer and pleasant than recent  gypsum plasters and it is unappropriate to mix the two techniques.

If the surface to be covered is very extensive, to obtain an homogeneous plaster’s thickness it is necessary to have two reference lines that can be obtained by making vertical strips of mortar for approximately ten inches wide and 1/2 inch thick and then, with the trowel, we throw a small quantity of mortar between one strip and the other and then level them off with a clapboard by sliding it downwards resting it on the two guides with the movements to the right and left.

For the first times you do this work, instead of making mortar stripes, you can use strips of wood ½ inch thick to be nailed temporarily to the wall as ‘ guides, over time and with practice you may go to the method indicated before, which allows you to proceed much more quickly.

For the leveling work (also said smoothing) you may use a flat plastering trowel and, after having duly wet the plaster with a brush, proceeding with a twisting motion until the surface becomes very well smooth.

In the case of a rustic plaster roughcast, the work can be here considered ended.

Instead if we want to obtain a fine and smooth plaster (for the internal walls) we must make a second coat of plaster and then give the eventual plaster finish. In this case, the plastering trowel should be used with an inclination of 45° with respect to the wall, using a plaster’s dough rather liquid (remember to prepare only small quantity of it, because it’s a product that becomes dry very soon) and spread it from the bottom upwards.

For the final touch you may use a sandpaper to obtain a perfect smooth surface of the plaster wall.

At this point it is preferable waiting at least 40-45 days before paint the wall to prevent that permanent stains of humidity appear.


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