Auckland's House Painting & Commercial Painting Specialist

It’s that time of year where you might have a bit of free time, and there’s still things around the house that need to be done. Perhaps there’s a whole in the wall or in the ceiling that needs patching up? We’ve put this guide together for those who are giving it a go themselves.

plastering-house Easy Guide to Plastering a Ceiling Yourself (DIY)

Mastering the techniques of effective plastering requires patience and experience but it’s not to say it cannot be done by someone that hasn’t done it before.

Here’s a step by step guide to help you if you’re looking to plaster a ceiling:


  1. You’ll first need the right tools

Before you begin anything, double check the list of tools you’ll need – a lot of this you can get at your local hardware store such as Bunnings or Mitre10.

Essential equipment and supplies for plastering a ceiling are as follow:

  • Sandpaper;
  • Ladder;
  • Sponge and clean water;
  • Plastering trowel;
  • Plaster;
  • Mixing stick;


  1. Prepare the area

Plastering a ceiling can be a messy job and it also involves standing on a ladder, and staying balanced while you’re truing to apply the plaster. So it’s almost unavoidable to make a mess around the area you’re working in, and no doubt plaster will drop on the floor.

So make sure to put down drop sheets, cover furniture (it will get dusty) and put always things that you don’t want getting dirty in the process. Also wearing a mask and putting on old clothes might not be a bad idea – it gets dusty when you need to sand down the plaster later on.


  1. Prepare the surface that is getting plastered

Make sure to first sand down any uneven patches on your ceiling. Once finished, you’ll want to wash the ceiling with a sponge and warm soapy water – remove all the dirty (and cobwebs if any). Once done, make sure the surface is completely dry and ready for plastering.


  1. Mix the plaster or purchase premix plaster

It is pretty much easy to mix the plaster. Use equal parts of plaster and water for mixing the plaster as well. We suggest buying premixed plaster if you’re just plastering a small area in the ceiling – and especially if this is your first time.


  1. Plastering the ceiling

You are now ready to apply the plaster to the ceiling. Always have someone to securely hold your ladder when you plaster the ceiling because this may take a while.

Add a small quantity of plaster to the edge of your trowel which contains the plaster to be applied to the ceiling and try to spread the plaster in rows for doing your job conveniently. Try to keep the thickness of the coat thin and even throughout when you’re applying.

Use the rough edge of your trowel when you spread the plaster. It will assist you to create scratches or scrapes in the plaster. One you’ve applied enough plaster to the ceiling (no need to be perfect at this stage, just enough) then allow 48 hours for it to dry. Once dry, you can now apply a second coat and still using the skim coating technique.  Once your plaster is properly set you can use the second coat and continue to using the skim coating technique.


  1. Sanding the surface

Don’t worry about not being able to create an even surface when you’re applying the plaster, because no doubt there will be some uneven surfaces. Here’s where the sandpaper comes into play, this will be even out all the bumps and thicker parts of the plaster. Keep sanding down the surface until you’re satisfied.

Note: try to use a sandpaper with a grit of 80-100


Cost to Plaster a Ceiling

There are normally 3 considerations when it comes to the cost of plastering a ceiling.

  1. The size of the ceiling that needs to be plastering
  2. Preparation work required prior to plaster (repair work)

In order to get an accurate estimate of plastering costs for your ceiling. Start by measuring the square footage and then multiplying it by market average (generally between $35 – $55 per square metre)

Size of Ceiling
Time to Complete (including time to dry)
Plaster Small size ceiling (25 SQM)$875 – $1,3752 – 3 days
Plaster Medium size ceiling (35 SQM)$1225 – $1,9252-4 days
Plaster Large size ceiling (50 SQM)$1,750 – $2,7503 – 5 days


Again there’s quite a wide range in the pricing and it’s due to being the wide range of conditions – but this is just to give you an indication of pricing if you were to get a professional to plaster the ceiling for you.


Curious about the cost of plastering your home?

Try our Plastering Cost Calculator tool to get a quick estimate within 2 mins.


Plastering is a specialist job most people prefer to leave to the experts. But if you feel you are quite handy when it comes to practical DIY jobs and you know how to work in a slow, methodical and neat fashion, this step-by-step guide to plastering will ease you through the job. Hopefully this article helps you and if you do have any questions, feel free to get in touch.


If you are also exploring the idea of hiring a professional to help you with plastering, we’ve put together a Cost Guide to Plastering in New Zealand so you know what to expect.


For more information about our services as well as a free quote over the phone, contact us today!


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