I never intended to plaster; it seemed well and truly a job for the professionals, but 20 months after the walls came down, and the money tree has failed to grow, I thought it was about time I tackled it myself.
I’d already done the holes in the kitchen walls, so I had a trowel. Really I also needed a hawk and (having done a google search) a ‘featheredge’. So off to Focus. I know Focus is useless, but I thought I’d try anyway. They had one hawk, which had a hole in the packaging through which the handle had fallen out; and no featheredge. So off to Right Price DIY in Shepton Mallet, the place that gets a lot of our custom, but doesn’t deserve to. The staff don’t want to help and can be downright rude sometimes. I bought a hawk, but received a blank look when I asked for a featheredge. Through lack of experience in the plastering trade, and lacking confidence now in my google search, I bought a flat plasterers’ trowel instead.
So that was Monday. After a 40 minute wait at the pharmacy while they sorted out 2 prescriptions that I had put in on automatic repeat so I didn’t have this problem, by the time I got home I was fed up and no plastering got done. Tuesday was Tesco day, but in the afternoon I did get started. I used up the last of the bag of plaster (Focus one coat) I had left over from the kitchen. This was difficult because it kept drying up so quickly and I kept on having to add water and re-mixing. So on Wednesday I thought I’d better read the instructions. It said, when you add the powder to the water, to wait a minute before mixing. So I did that, and whether that was the cause of the previous problem or the fact that I started a new bag, all went smoothly after that and I really got a move on. On Friday afternoon I finished.
Getting the plaster on the wall was no problem. On the ceiling – not so easy. The consistency of the plaster was more important, and I made it slightly thicker. Still, I had several dollops on my shoulders by the end. My biggest problem was timing it right to come back and press it flat with the plasterers’ trowel. It’s meant to be about 45 minutes after putting on, but I always got distracted with eating lunch; or impatient because I wanted to get it done before the kids came home. And I still kept making lines with the edge of this trowel. However, at the end of it, I’m very impressed, even if I do say so myself (and no-one else will). The result is by no means professional, but it matches the rustic look of the rest of the house!
The main problem is I now know I have to go back and re-do the bits in the kitchen, because I can do them so much better. Annoying! Rain is happy because her room is now a lot warmer without the breeze getting through the cracks in the walls and the gaps in the plasterboard on the ceiling. Should have done it before another winter really.
You may notice I used Focus one coat plaster. Rain’s bedroom is in the extension built in the 1980s from breeze blocks, so no
need to worry about the walls needing to breathe. I’d have used clay paster anyway for eco reasons, if I hadn’t previously discovered that, contrary to advice I’d been given from SPAB, modern plaster is actually much easier to use.
(SPAB = Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, or something like that.)