Plastering is an expensive process due to several things; however, time and labour is the most significant factor in the cost of getting plastering work done. Plastering is a process that can’t be rushed, which means it requires more time on the part of the tradesman or artisan.
Plastering is a Skilled Trade
It can be easy to overlook the fact that a job like plastering actually requires a lot of skill. Granted, it doesn’t take a huge amount of ability to throw some plaster on the walls and give it a rough semblance of smoothing over. Still, most people want a professional job, and if you want a professional job, you have to pay professional rates.
Good plasterers often have years of experience under their belts and can not only do the work to a higher quality but also complete it in a shorter space of time. Of course, this doesn’t always translate to less expense on your part, since a more experienced plasterer may charge a higher rate, but you should not dismiss the value of that time factor. Plastering is typically a disruptive process, often making a space unusable during the plastering process. Having a plasterer that can not only do a high-quality job but also do it in a shorter amount of time can be a real bonus.
Time is of the Essence
Of course, when we talk about how quickly a plasterer can complete the work they do, we’re talking about the time spent preparing the area and actually plastering it. There is a significant portion of the job that is merely waiting, and the experience level of your plasterer will not affect this waiting period. Plaster needs time to dry properly; rushing it can cause problems such as cracking.
That means setting up a dehumidifier to suck out the moisture in the room and turning the heating up to full may leave you with more significant problems than the job taking too long. The other downside to this aspect of the job is that it places constraints on your plasterer’s time. Sure, they don’t need to sit and watch the plaster dry before they continue their work, but they sometimes need to consider their time. For example, if a plasterer finishes your room in the early afternoon and has to wait until the following day before they can continue, they may not be able to fit in another job on that day.
The result of this is that even though they are not working on your job that afternoon, they have been prevented from doing another job the same day. These are things that your plasterer will factor in when quoting, and you should not be surprised to find you are basically being charged by the day, rather than the hour, in some cases.
Wet Plastering Vs Plasterboard
Plastering is not the only option when it comes to finishing your surfaces; you can also have them finished with plasterboard. As with many things in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Firstly let’s cover the differences. Wet plastering is the process of applying plaster directly to the surface. This is usually done in two stages, with an even coat of plaster being laid down first, and a finishing coat of plaster to cover.
Plaster-boarding involves fitting special boards that are made of plaster and a finishing material much like paper over the surfaces that need plastering. A coat of finishing plaster may be applied for a smooth finish; however, the surface of the plasterboards is ready to paint, so it is not uncommon to just use finishing plaster to cover the seams where the boards meet.
So, what are the advantages of each? With wet plastering, you typically get a better seal than plasterboard. There are different methods for affixing plasterboard to the outer structure; however, they all leave hollow spaces behind the board, which can leave the wall susceptible to things like damp. Similarly, plasterboard is not as resistant to impact as wet plastering. It is more prone to dents and other damage, and if there is a hollow space behind the area that is impacted, it could even result in a hole. None of this is an issue for wet plastering, of course, as it is essentially solid all the way through. Another advantage of wet plaster is that it is suitable for most areas, whereas plasterboard is challenging to use in tight spaces and awkward shaped surfaces.
Of course, this makes it sound like there are no advantages to plasterboard, which may make you wonder why people might choose it. Well, the first reason is that it is considerably cheaper, especially if you are opting to just plaster the seams rather than the whole wall. The material costs may actually end up being a little higher, but the time spent completing the job will be considerably less. Another reason is that the plasterboard does not require as much skill as wet plastering, which may also help drive the cost of the work down. There is also no risk of plasterboard cracking, such as wet plaster would when dried too quickly.
You can, of course, get the best of both worlds by having plasterboards with a finishing coat of plaster on top; however, you will add more time to the job, and you will need a skilled plasterer to do a sufficiently good job. If the plastering isn’t perfect, you would have been better sticking with the bare plasterboard.
There is a third type of plastering job, however, this one is very specialised, and the cost will differ dramatically from job to job. Ornamental plastering is the process of using plaster to create decorative effects. These are often intricate in their designs and take a lot of time, effort, and skill to complete. Examples of this kind of plastering include decorative arches and columns.
It should go without saying that this kind of work is more expensive than regular plastering and certainly more expensive than plaster boarding, but the level of skill required for this kind of job is considerably higher than a regular plastering job.