How to apply plaster to a wall

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How to apply plaster to a wall

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Plaster is a long-lasting, durable wall finish that has largely been replaced by drywall. Drywall is manufactured in 4-by-8-foot panels and can easily be cut and fastened to a wall with screws. However, plaster is spread onto a wall and the installer can manipulate the applicator to add a custom texture — something that takes extra steps with drywall. To plaster a wall, you first need to cover the wall, then apply the plaster.


Place wallboard against the wall frame and fasten it to the frame studs with screws, using a screw gun.


Tape the seams where each wallboard meets with seam tape, then roll out plastic sheeting onto the floor. Apply a clear base coat with a paint roller. The base coat is a used as a type of foundation for plaster and other faux finishes.


Pour plaster into a plaster tray and slowly add water with a hose. Let the water soak into the plaster for a couple of minutes, then stir with a paint stirrer until a paste-like consistency forms.


Scoop out plaster from the tray with a trowel and scrape onto a hawk -- this will "hold" your mixed plaster for fast access while plastering. A hawk is a square, flat metal holder with a handle to hold with one hand, leaving the other hand free to spread the plaster with a trowel. Quickly pick up some of the plaster from the hawk onto the trowel and spread it over the wallboard going from bottom to top, spreading it back and forth to make it textured.


Mix more plaster as necessary and spread it onto the wall to cover the wallboard completely. Use a sponge to make the texture of your choice while the plaster is still wet, if desired. Let dry for 45 minutes to an hour before priming and painting.


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