How to find a good plasterer

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We all look at plastering and think I could do that.  The simple truth is, you couldn’t, otherwise we would all be able to do it.

Plastering is a professional skill that takes many years to master.  An experienced plasterer with precision in their work, will have been in the trade for 20 years, any less than that, they are still learning.

There is a lot of science behind plastering which only an experienced plasterer will know about.  A skilled plasterer will know what products need to be used, what they need to be used on and when they are to be used.If you find a good plasterer, their trowels will be expensive, well worn but well looked after.

If you find one quote is ridiculously cheaper than the highest and you go with the cheaper quote, there will be a reason for this – you will get what you pay for.  Do not expect to pay peanuts for beautifully finished walls and ceilings.  If you want a flawless finish, you cannot expect to pay silly money for it.  Pay the going rate and you will get the results you want. There is nothing worse than getting a cheaper plasterer in, then having to pay a better one to come along to put it right.

Plastering can look good for now, but in a years time it can crack and may not be sound if it hasn’t been prepared right.  You should not see any streaks when the job is complete.  If you do, your plasterer is still in the learning phase.  You should therefore not be charged very much and you will more than likely have to get it done again in the very near future.

A lot of houses have lath and plaster with rendered walls and ceilings.  5 times out of 10, the render is very old and will have started to crumble behind the surface.  You must bear in mind that some may need to be taken off if it is showing surface signs of weakness.

Follow this guide:

  1. You should get three quotes (if possible) from local tradesmen (or word of mouth recommendations).
  2. Your plasterer will need to see your home before they are able to give you a realistic quote.  This allows the tradesman to assess the condition of the areas that you require to be plastered.
  3. Your plasterer will check the existing render underneath the areas to be plastered where applicable.  If the render is blown or damp, it will need to be hacked off and replaced which will bump up the cost.  There is no point in plastering over something that needs to be replaced – with added weight, the newly plastered wall may come down by itself along with the old render.
  4. Check how long they have been in the trade – this is a key point.
  5. Ask them if they are on a tradesman website, if yes, check their reviews.
  6. Research online, check their website, ask for a reference if that gives you more comfort.
  7. Check for an address and double check that address on Streetview.
  8. Get a price from each in writing including materials, labour and VAT.
  9. Quickest and cheapest is not the best.  Plastering should never be rushed.  Once you have located a decent plasterer, with a reasonable amount of experience, try to negotiate a price but don’t squeeze too much or they will have to cut corners to get the job done.

Top tips:

  1. Once plastered, allow it to dry naturally, do not try to speed up the process, this can damage the plaster.
  2. Try not to have any external plastering done in the cold or damp months of the year. Once frost kicks in, it stays in and you may see the after effects later by way of cracks and flaking.

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