We have a side utility room (side entrance/washing machine/etc) which I have
just finished plasterboarding to make it more respectable. Its 2 X 16ft
Now the question is should I have a go at skimming the plasterboard myself?
I'm a reasonable confident DIY but plastering is one thing I've never really
done. Its not a main room so it would be a good place to start learning or
is skimming plasterboard really only for professionals? I'm getting married
this year so pound notes are tight
Also, I've used butted square-edge plasterboard, what the best way to join,
some people are saying adesive tape, other say scrim tape.
Thanks in advance
Well, I'm a reasonably confident (and hopefully competent!) DIY-er, but I
wouldn't tackle a wall of that size. But the professionals must have had to
start somewhere! So if you fancy it, give one wall a go to start with. If it
all goes pear shaped, rip out and replace the plasterboard and get a pro in.
It will only have cost you four 8 x 4 sheets of plasterboard - which are not
If you've never tried it, don't touch the room. Get another sheet of
plasterboard, some new multifinish or plasterboard plaster (as someone says,
make sure it's fresh- the stuff sets in minutes if it's old and has to all
come off again) and have a crack on the spare plasterboard. Make the mix up
quite runny- I typically get a bucket of water and a drill-based mixer and
add plaster until it's the consistency of whipped cream. A guy who used to
do skimming for us told me once a common error is to make the mix too dry,
and it becomes more difficult to work. Prepare the surface either by washing
(to make wet) or PVAing (to seal) and then apply the plaster. The first
challenge, particularly overhead, is to stop the stuff falling straight off
again having not stuck to the surface :)
Assuming you get it all on, make reasonably smooth with the trowel and leave
for a while. 10-20 minutes. It should now be firm but not set and you can
use a wet trowel to continue smoothing the surface as far as necessary. Do
it long enough and the final result (after drying) feels absolutely smooth
with no grittiness.
After it's dry, look at an angle and see all the lumps you thought you'd
smoothed out. If you're happy with the result, have a crack at the walls,
one at a time. Make sure all the nails in the plasterboard are galvanised or
otherwise rustproof, otherwise the heads will rust and expand and circles of
plaster will pop off a few months down the line. If you're not happy, try it
again- it improves with practise and you're better off wasting plasterboard
that isn't on the wall.
Dr. Craig Graham, Software Engineer
Advanced Analysis and Integration Limited, UK. http://www.aail.co.uk /
Bloody hell! I never knew that - was scratching my head last night
having had a ghastly attempt at skimming (I have to try it about once
every five years, just to *prove* to myself I really, really can't do
it). I unearthed an old bag from the back of the garage, must have
been years old.
So, guess what muggins will be doing this evening... :-(
It's useful to hang on to an old bag specifically for this reason
(providing it hasn't gone all lumpy). If you have a small amount
to do, then it can be useful to have some plaster which will go
off fully in 30 minutes rather than having to hang around to
polish it over ~3 hours.
I was always crap at plastering so we got someone in to skim the kitchen
when needed. I quized him on what I had been doing wrong.
He gave me 4 bits of advice:
- Fresh plaster is vital.
- Mix it till you think it is wet enough and then add more water. It should
be much wetter than most people imagine.
- Slap it on, don't play with it. Leave it for 20-30 mins and don't worry
that it looks pretty crap at this stage.
- polish with plenty of water and plenty of effort
Since following this advice I have become rather better at plastering. I
guess I now rate as crap instead of totally useless :-)
Another tip is - if you are doing a ceiling and also wear glasses then
wear a baseball hat with a big visor. The stuff can drop off with no
warning and you can be suddenly blinded and having to struggle off
your scaffolding to find a tap and wash your glasses, not to mention
getting it out of your mouth, hair, ears etc.
This is more likely to happen if you pva or wet the boards first. This
is not a good idea.
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