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Easy Guide to Plastering a Ceiling Yourself (DIY)

Easy Guide to Plastering a Ceiling Yourself (DIY)

Plastering a ceiling can be challenging and requires time, effort, and patience. However, it is an essential process that smoothens rough surfaces and enhances the appeal of your home.

Want to know how you can manage to plaster our ceiling on your own? This easy guide provides step-by-step instructions for mastering the art of ceiling master plastering:

Step 1: Gathering the Right Tools

Before starting your DIY plastering project, ensure you have all the necessary equipment. You can get all the tools at your local hardware store or opt for purchasing the supplies online:

  • Plaster or plaster mix
  • Bucket
  • Mixing stick
  • Hawk
  • Plastering trowel
  • Spray bottle
  • Sandpaper
  • Brush
  • Sponge and clean water
  • Ladder

Step 2: Preparing the Area

Plastering can be messy, so protecting your floor and furniture is important. Cover them with large pieces of cloth to prevent spills or splatters. Since you’ll be working on the ceiling, it’s recommended to wear safety goggles and protective gloves, as advised by Plasterers Auckland. Wearing a dust mask can also be a good idea as it gets dusty when you need to sand down the plaster later.

Step 3: Preparing the Surface for Plaster

Prepare the ceiling by removing any nails or screws. Tape and cover light fixtures to protect them during the plastering process. Sand down any uneven patches on the ceiling. Next, wash the ceiling with warm soapy water and a sponge. Once the surface is dry, it’s ready for plastering.

Step 4: Mixing the Plaster

Create the plaster mixture by combining equal parts of plaster and water in a bucket. It is important to remember that you should always add the plaster to the water and not the other way around. Start by filling a bucket with clean and cold water about one-third of the way up. Then start adding your plaster until the heap rises above the water surface. Use your mixing stick to mix the plaster at a slow speed.

Alternatively, you can use a premixed plaster. Ensure the mixture has a consistent texture and is neither too solid nor too runny. There should be no lumps in the mixture. If desired, you can use a mixing paddle instead of hand mixing.

Step 5: Applying the Plaster

Using the hawk, scoop generous amounts of plaster and then transfer a small amount to your trowel. Keep your hawk tilted towards your direction and start applying the plaster to about 2mm onto the ceiling in thin, even rows. It is recommended to start from the edge of the wall as it helps in making sure you are covering the whole ceiling easily.

Use the rough edge of the trowel to spread the plaster, maintaining consistency and avoiding lumps. Keep your trowel angled away from the ceiling at the beginning. As you proceed, reduce the angle until all the plaster is used. With this process, you can avoid spillage and efficiently complete your first coat.

Before you begin the process of applying the second coat, clean your buckets and get ready to mix another batch. The second coat is usually thinner as compared to the first coat and is applied to about 1mm. If you have additional plaster mixture remaining, you can also reuse it by diluting it with water. Now repeat the process once the ceiling is dry (allow 48 hours). Another important thing to remember before you start the second coat is to make sure not to start from the edge. By doing this, you can avoid lumps of plaster clumping in the corner.  You can also use a damp brush to polish off the edges of the corners.

For the second coat, you do not have to worry too much about trowel marks on your ceiling. Keep applying the plaster in sweeping movements to ensure the thickness of the ceiling plaster is even.

Step 6: Smoothing the Plaster

In this step, you can take care of all the uneven surfaces or the trowel marks left while you were applying the plaster. Before you start with this step, clean all your tools, and give them a quick wash to ensure a proper smoothening process.

This step is also known as trowelling up where you ensure there are high spots and the whole ceiling is even. Fill any blemishes and work the plaster back and forth with the trowel for a smooth, consistent result. Before the final trowel, fill up your spray bottle with water. Now keep spraying the wall while you smoothen the surface of your ceiling before it fully sets.

Step 7: Sanding the Surface

The final and crucial step in DIY plastering is sanding. Even after trowelling, there will likely be uneven surfaces. Use sandpaper to smooth the plaster, ensuring no bumps or uneven areas and the entire ceiling has an even finish. After this process is complete, it is clean-up time. Give all your tools a final wash, and clean your buckets as well as mixing gear. You also need to make sure that there is no track plaster throughout your floors and carpets.

Tips for plastering your ceiling:

  • Do not stand directly under the towel when you start applying the plaster. By doing so, you can avoid plaster directly falling into your face and eye.
  • It is important to find the right height for you when you are plastering. Since you need to balance on a ladder and apply the plaster, stand about a splayed hand’s width between the top of your head and the ceiling.
  • If standing on the ladder is difficult, you can also implement alternative techniques by installing scaffolding or stilts.

In conclusion, plastering your ceiling can be accomplished by following these seven simple steps. It is advised to first practice plastering on a small area on a wall or a spare piece of drywall so that you can get familiarised with the technique. This will make it easier for you to complete the ceiling plastering quite easily and neatly. Once you have completed plastering, consider painting the ceiling to enhance its appearance.


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