Auckland's House Painting & Commercial Painting Specialist

Are you think of plastering the wall yourself? You’ll be surprised by how common this is for Kiwi’s to do this on their own – and it’s probably not worth getting a professional in if it’s only a small area that needs re-plastered. So we’ve decided to put together some tips on plastering a wall if you are deciding to do it yourself.

First of all, if you are plastering the wall yourself and if you haven’t done it before – we would normally advise against this only because we know how important a good plastering job is in the final finish once the painting is done. With that said, here we have given a basic guide to plaster a surface like a pro. It contains information on what is involved in exterior and interior plastering. It also gives information on using the right tools and how to skim plaster a wall.


plastering-house How To Plaster A Wall Yourself (DIY) – Tips by Superior Painters
New Plasterboard Installed, then Plastering Done

Your shopping list, to get started on plastering a wall:

Most of this you can pick up at your local trade store like Bunnings or Mitre10.

  • Spot board
  • Finishing trowel
  • Scraper
  • 1” and 4” clean paint brush
  • Mixer
  • Hand board
  • Flexible bucket
  • Bucket trowel


So how do you plaster a wall exactly?

Plastering a wall is one of those things that can be learned but takes time to master to get it perfect and this is where practise comes into play. But it’s not to say that it can’t be done by someone who haven’t done it before – but it’s 100% noticeable if we compared a job done by a professional, and on that was done by a beginner. As mentioned before, the quality of the plaster will determine the quality of the final finish once the paint is on.

How important the final finish is may help you determine whether it’s worth doing it yourself – for example, if you’re looking to sell the property then it may be better to get a professional plasterer to do the job and perhaps you focus on the painting aspect if you’re trying to keep costs down.


Curious about the cost of plastering your home?

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


There are different types of plastering jobs that a DIYer can perform confidently. It includes:

  • Installing a plasterboard to a stud wall, ceiling with screws or nails or wood frame;
  • Skimming a surface plasterboard and re skimming a whole room.
  • Repairing the plaster surfaces by using a bare brick with a patched skim finish;
  • Installing a plasterboard on solid walls by using plasterboard adhesive known as “dot and dab” or “dry lining”.

However, you will need to pay particular attention to the final finish of the plaster and make sure it’s evenly done otherwise the cost of plaster repairs may be far more expensive then getting a professional to do the plastering in the first instance.


How to install a plasterboard

If you want to avoid replastering over old wall

Installing a new plasterboard instead of plastering old wall will help minimise the need for using traditional techniques of wet wall plastering and also help save you a lot of time. It is a whole a lot easier for a DIY’er to plaster a new wall because it takes out the need for prep work.

There are a wide variety of Plasterboards available in the market based on their thickness and sizes. Thus, always make sure to discuss the installation of plasterboard with one of the representatives at the store, or a local contractor.

First thing you’ll need to do is to cut the plasterboard to size, when fixing the plasterboard to a stud wall you will cut to the centre of the noggin or joist. Basically, you will need the following equipment’s to cut the plasterboard tools:

  • Rasp
  • Straight Edge
  • Retractable Knife
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Pad Saw

Step 1

Start by measuring the sheets so they’re 12mm less than the floor-to-ceiling height.

Step 2

Mark the cutting line on the ivory side of the plasterboard, then cut along it using a craft knife and straight edge.

Step 3

Turn the plasterboard over and fold the end along, then cut to snap the board. Use a craft knife to cut through the paper backing.

Step 4

Get someone to help you attach the plasterboard to the frame – it’s much easier with two people. Wedge a bolster chisel at the foot of the board, slide a wood off-cut underneath and use your foot to press down and force the board hard up against the ceiling. Make sure you fit the plasterboard with the ivory side outwards.

Step 5

Fix the board in place with 32mm plasterboard screws at roughly 150mm intervals, 15mm away from the edges. Carry on fitting whole boards in the same way as before, cutting them to fit above the doorway and against the adjacent walls. If you also have a skirting board, you’ll need to notch the plasterboard to fit around it.

Step 6

Remember to finish off the joints with plasterboard tape, to give your wall a smooth finish.


plastering-house-2 How To Plaster A Wall Yourself (DIY) – Tips by Superior Painters
New Plasterboard Installed, then Plastering Done


Applying the undercoat plaster to wall

Now you’re ready to plaster the wall, place the mixed plaster on your hawk by taking two full trowels at a time. Spread it evenly and slightly – don’t make the layer too thick. Pull upwards after pushing the straight edge reverse the beads. Then, slide it side to side as you proceed. Scrape off the excess plaster back into the bucket and go back to your trowel and hawk.

You may repeat the same process a few of times until you get a smooth finish over the section; After completing 2-3 sections the plaster would be becoming hard. After some time you will get a smooth area under your touch; Use a small tool to fill any narrow surfaces like a gap between a doorframe and an adjoining wall. The undercoat plaster will be dry and hard after sometime.

After the first coat of plaster has been applied, wait approximately 20 minutes in order to let the plaster dry slightly. You can then get rid of lumps and bumps by smoothing over with the trowel. You also need to smooth out all the corners and ends such as the bottom and top of the wall. These are usually difficult areas to plaster correctly. Use a wet brush to even the edges out.


Scratching or Scraping the wall

This is normally done by professionals before the application of the second coat, and this makes sure the second coat adheres properly. The easiest way to do this is by using a tool called a devilling float, which is specially designed for this – it’s a wooden float with nails in it. You can also scratch the surface using an old kitchen fork.


Applying the second coat of plaster to the wall

After devilling or scratching the first level of plaster you can apply a second and final coat. This should be of a thinner consistency than the first coat so make sure to dilute the plaster mixture with some more water. Aim to only plaster a thin 2 mm layer. Then leave the plaster to dry slightly.


Curious about the cost of plastering your home?

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


Final Touches

Make sure to flatten out any bumps in the plaster while it’s still slightly wet – once it hardens, you can still use sandpaper to remove excess plaster and to even out the surface prior to painting or wallpapering.

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!


Get In Touch, Free Color Consultation

Are you looking get an estimate for your painting needs? Need help choosing your paint colours or putting together a complete exterior or interior look for your property? Then request a visit from a Superior Painter Colour Consultant.

During the color consultation, you’ll receive:

  1. Professional advice on color selection and design for your home
  2. Free on-site project appraisal based on your needs
  3. Plan of action/ proposal for your project
  4. And get all your questions answered with no obligations

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