How Much to Plaster a Room?
Let me guess, you need to hire a plasterer to plaster a room, maybe because the walls are bare or the existing plaster is worn? And you are wondering how much it costs to plaster a room? Well, look no further. I am here to answer your questions. But before I can do that, I have to ask some of my own, like what does the job entail?
Is it to plaster a bare wall(s)? Maybe because you just moved into a new house or built an extension? If that is the case, this kind of plastering job is called fresh plastering. It is usually the most expensive, between £600 to £1,500 for all four walls, depending on room size.
Or is it to patch damages on certain parts of a wall(s)? This is called patch repair and it costs between £70 to £500.
Or to replaster an entire wall(s)? This is called skim plastering and it costs between £350 to £700 for all four walls. However, it can become almost as expensive as a fresh plastering job, depending on the condition of the existing plaster.
Or to plaster ceilings? This will cost between £200 to £550.
So you see – it all depends on the job and room size. The latter usually determines each wall’s surface area. Other factors affecting plastering prices are the condition of existing plaster, the ease/difficulty of accessing the wall(s) or ceilings and the cost of plastering material itself. Each of which I will discuss below.
How much does it cost to plaster a room?
Table 1: average cost of 4 different types of plastering jobs for a 3 different room sizes
|Type of Plastering Job||Small room (£)||Medium room (£)||Large room (£)|
|Fresh plastering||600 – 680||580 – 950||1000 – 1,500|
|Skim plastering||350 – 500||430 – 550||570 – 700|
|Ceiling plastering||200 – 400||290 – 450||350 – 550|
|Patch repair||70 – 500||70 – 500||70 – 500|
Most plasterers charge hourly rates between £35 and £50 or daily rates between £100 and £200. However, although timescale is important, it is not a great idea to focus on hourly and daily rates. Instead, focus on getting a quote for the entire project. Just like in the estimates table. This way, plasterers won’t be tempted to inflate working hours to make more money.
So when you approach tradespeople, ask how much it will cost to plaster a room of so-so size. They might want to inspect the room first before quoting costs. And when they do give those quotes, it will be close to, if not exactly, as estimated.
However, there is also something you can do to get closer figures than estimated on the table. Plastering costs between £6 to £10 per square metre. So all you need is to measure the wall space in the room(s) and multiply it by that rate. Then move on to the next section, on cost factors, to see why prices vary.
What Are the Factors Affecting the Price of Plastering a Room?
Understanding the factors that affect plastering prices could save you some money. You can use this knowledge to make supply purchasing decisions or negotiate better labour rates.
Size of the room
Whether the intent is to plaster just one or all the walls in the room, the cost will be higher for bigger rooms. Just look at table 1. You will notice that prices increase gradually, with the small room costing the lowest and the large room costing the highest. Likewise, a large ceiling will cost more to plaster compared to a small ceiling. It’s the same for all kinds of plastering jobs.
Room size is the most influential factor affecting price. That is why table 1 is organised the way it is and why I suggested measuring the dimensions of the room or wall space to calculate costs.
Type of plaster
A higher quality and more aesthetically pleasing plaster will cost more. Just take a look at table 3. You will notice that Venetian plaster costs a lot more than the others. However, it is a luxury type. The average type of plaster will cost less than £1. 5 per kg.
The point is that they all have their pros and cons. And come at different price ranges.
The condition of the existing plaster
Let’s take another trip back to table 1. You will notice that the cost of plastering a room depends on the condition of its walls, with fresh plastering being the highest and patch repair the lowest.
To paint a better picture, I have to say something about how plastering is done. It usually involves applying two coats of plaster for internal walls and three for external walls. The first coat is called the base coat, while the second is the top coat.
For fresh plastering, both base coat and top coat plaster are required. For skim plastering of already plastered walls, only the top coat is required. However, if the existing plaster is too old, it will need to be removed.
This process “to remove existing plaster” is called stripping. After stripping, old plaster has to be disposed of. That is an extra £80 to £150 added to the budget.
Convenience and ease of access
Everyone, including professional plasterers, will want to charge higher if the job is more difficult to execute. In this case, that difficulty depends on access. How easy is it to access the room and plaster the highest parts of its walls?
Ceilings are generally more difficult to access, so they cost more to plaster per surface area. High ceilings will cost more. So will high walls. Even if your plasterer didn’t charge higher rates because of this, plastering costs may still rise if you need to hire scaffolding.
Cost, mainly labour costs, will vary depending on your location. Expect to pay more if you are in London or other major cities. Plasterers usually charge around £200 per day in big cities but closer to £150 per day in smaller cities.
You may also pay more if you are in a remote area and have to call in a plasterer over a long distance. Ultimately, location can affect the total cost.
What are the Additional Costs of Plastering a Room?
Table 2: Additional costs
|Scaffolding||70 – 50 per week|
|Painting||350 – 600|
|Wallpaper||300 to 740|
|Waste disposal||80 – 150|
If you are thinking about plastering a room, you will probably also have to spend money on the following. Some are involved with the plastering itself, while the others come after.
- Scaffolding: As said earlier, the plasterer may need scaffolding to reach high walls and ceilings. They are usually available at daily or weekly rates. However, you may not need them if the ceilings and walls are not that high. In these situations, plasterers sometimes use tables and ladders. Anything that can serve as an elevated platform.
- Waste disposal: If the job involves stripping, you will have more waste to deal with. So, waste disposal costs will increase because you may have to hire a skip to get rid of all the old plaster.
- Painting: Painters charge daily rates of £100 to £150. However, as I always say, ask for quotes for the entire room, not hourly or daily rates. Most times, this will result in better rates. Like plastering costs, painting costs will also depend on room size and paint type.
- Wallpapering: You can use wallpaper instead of or alongside paint. Although I have given estimates, the costs will depend on room size and type of wallpaper.
Types of plastering jobs
Here are common plastering jobs that you may encounter. We have already gone through them in the introduction. This time, we will go a little further.
- Fresh plastering: Adding fresh plaster is usually the most expensive kind of plastering job. You may have realised that this is not just about plastering bare walls. It can also mean re-plastering if existing plaster needs to be removed.
- Patch repair: This is usually the cheapest because it involves limited plastering to fix cracks, holes or flaking plaster on an existing wall. Usually, the plasterer will first inspect the wall(s) to decide if patch repair is enough or if it’s better to do full replastering.
- Skim plastering: also known as skimming or replastering. When skimming walls, only one coat of plaster, a top coat, is used. The top coat (aka skim coat) is usually thinner than the base coat (aka first coat or undercoat). Its job is to create a smooth surface, void of blemishes for paint or wallpaper to attach.
- Rendering: While this article is about plastering interior walls, we also have to talk about exteriors. Rendering is the process of plastering external walls. It is often more expensive because it involves using three coats of plaster.
- Plastering ceilings: This often only involves a single coat of plaster. However, it is still relatively more expensive per square metre because it is much more difficult to accomplish and may need scaffolding.
Wet Plastering vs Dry Plastering
The price estimates and pretty much everything in this article are about wet plaster. However, there are only minor differences for dry plastering, also known as dry lining. As the name suggests, wet plastering involves applying wet plaster to walls. Dry lining involves having plasterboard nailed to a wall.
The former is more common, and the result is much smoother and long-lasting. Meanwhile, the latter is faster to execute and less prone to cracking.
Some Popular Types of Plaster
Table 3: Popular types of plaster
|Plaster type||Cost (£) per kg|
|Venetian plaster||7 – 10|
|One-coat plaster||0.60 – 0.90|
|Browning plaster||0.40 – 0.80|
|Bonding plaster||0.40 – 0.80|
|Multi-finish plaster||0.40 – 0.80|
|Dri-coat plaster||0.80 – 1.20|
There are a lot more plaster types and brands out there. We will only cover six. I suggest talking to a plasterer first before making a purchase.
- Venetian plaster: This is hands-down one of the most aesthetically pleasing and classy plasters today. It is also one of the most expensive and most popular right now. You may have heard people referred to it by its other names, Italian plaster or polished marble.
- One-coat plaster: It is mostly used for patch repair works. That is why it is also referred to as patching plaster. It can be used for concrete, brick or plasterboard alike.
- Browning plaster: It is mainly used as a base coat for absorbent surfaces like concrete and brick. Browning plaster is popular and long-lasting but prone to crack.
- Bonding plaster: It is also a common base coat often used for rougher, less absorbent surfaces.
- Multi-Finish Plaster: It is mainly used as a top coat for all kinds of surfaces. Durable and versatile, the only issues are the time it takes to apply it and the fact that it doesn’t do well when used outdoors.
- Dri-Coat Plaster: It is a cement-based plaster mostly used as a base coat. It is waterproof but unable to withstand low temperatures.
How to Plaster a Room
The point of this section is to give you an idea of the process, not to encourage you to undertake the plastering yourself. That is not to say that you can’t do it yourself. I just don’t recommend it.
However, whatever you decide to do, here are the steps.
- Clear the room: Remove all furniture and wall decorations. This protects them from being messed up by plaster while also getting them out of the way.
- Strip off old plaster: This will make the new plaster stronger, especially if that old plaster is compromised and you want to begin on a fresh note. A hammer and chisel will do the job.
- Repair and prime the walls: This is the time to check for and fix holes and cracks. Then apply a primer like PVA. The primer is not compulsory but helps the new plaster stick and dry faster.
- Mix the plaster: Plaster slurry is just a mix of water and plaster powder, usually cement- or gypsum-based. It is all about getting the ratio right, or it won’t stick to the surface.
- Apply first coat: Use a trowel and other tools to apply plaster. Remember, the first coat is thicker, and both coats have to cover every part of the wall or ceiling. Wait for 20 minutes between coats.
- Smoothen: Smoothen plaster until flat and evenly distributed. You can also scrap to correct lumps. Smoothing is one of the hardest parts.
- Apply the second coat: Apply skim plaster, smoothen, splash with water and then smoothen some more. You can also use a wet brush alongside the trowel this time around.
- Leave to dry: Plaster turns from dark brown to light pink as it dries. So, watch out for this colour change.
Should I Plaster a Room Myself?
You are probably on this page because you don’t want to or can’t do it yourself. If it was just a small wall or patch repair, I might have a different answer for you. However, for a full room, I recommend paying for professional plastering. There are several reasons for this. A professional plasterer will have the right plastering tools and experience, resulting in:
- In a better and faster result
- Lower risk of making mistakes while mixing plaster or in other stages during plastering.
- Lower risk of injuries
- Less messiness.
How Do I Find a Good Plasterer?
Check with local and reliable trades-circle and ask friends and families for recommendations. Then do the following-
- Make sure the plasterer has Level 2 NVQ.
- Ask if they belong to professional bodies like NVQ or City & Guilds qualification or the British Gypsum Certified Plasterer Scheme. This is not necessarily a deal-breaker.
- Ask for proof of past projects.
- Ask for written quotes from at least three different plasterers and ensure you know what it covers.
- Ask if they have public and employer’s liability insurance
How Do I Know if a Room Needs Plastering?
As plaster ages, it may start to shed and flake. But if it hasn’t reached that level, there is a test you can do to detect blown plaster.
Using your knuckles, give the wall(s) a few gentle knocks. If the plaster is blown, it will make hollow sounds.
How Can I Reduce Mess During Plastering?
Here are three things you can do.
- Clear the room and cover anything that can’t be evacuated.
- Lay down dust sheets or polythene bags.
- Isolate the room.
Do I Have to Board Before Plastering?
No, you only need to do this for dry lining. It is not needed for wet plastering.
How Long Does It Take to Plaster a Room?
It takes between one to three days, depending on the type of plastering job and room size.
- Fresh plastering takes 2-3 days for a small to a medium room and 3-4 days for a large room.
- Re-plastering takes 1-2 days for a small to a medium room and 2-3 days for a large one.
- Ceiling plastering takes 6-1o hours for a small ceiling, 8-12 hours for a medium-sized ceiling and 10-15 hours for a large ceiling.
- Patch repair only takes a few hours for any room size.
How Long Does it Take for Plaster to Dry?
Between 4-6 days for wet plastering and 2-3 days for dry lining.
You can also hasten drying by manipulating ventilation and heat. Just don’t use too much heat or the plaster could crack.
How Long Should I Wait Before Painting New Plaster?
At least a week, but this may also differ by brand. When you finally decide to paint, start with a primer like mist coat before adding top coat. We have an entire article on mist coats if you need help.
What Are Some Alternatives to Plastering?
You can try:
- Feature wall: If using aesthetically pleasing building materials like bricks and natural stones.
- Upholstery: Although it takes up more space and can make the room look like a studio.