Table of Contents
Before we say too much about the costs of plastering let’s talk about the specific tasks involved in the trade.
- Patch Repairs. This is a relatively simple task involving filling a small area that has come loose or has developed a hole from physical damage. Sometimes, depending on the size of the patch and whether there are any joining lines visible it might be a good idea to overskim the complete wall. Ceiling repair will often cost more than repairing a wall.
- Overskim a Wall. This is basically skimming another coat of plaster on top of an existing layer. Before overskimming, a solution of PVA adhesive is applied to the surface to allow the plaster to stick. Skimming walls costs less if you already have a good surface to which you can apply another coat. The secret of good plastering is to spend time on the preparation and first coats.
- New Plasterboard & One Wall Plaster. If the existing plasterboard is particularly bad then it will require removal and replacement with new one and a layer of plaster.
- Plaster Overskim to a Room. If the wall is extremely tatty, any loose plaster or paint is removed and repaired followed by an application of PVA solution as a bonding primer. Next, the entire room is overskimmed with either one or two coats of plaster. The total cost per room are often cheaper than separate quotes for skimming walls, costs for preparation, and to plaster ceilings. Prices for materials such as skimming costs surprisingly less than one would expect. A bag of skim plaster (sometimes called finishing plaster) cost between £6 and £10 per 25kg bag.
- New Boards & Plaster, Entire Room. Removal and replacement of all existing plasterboard followed by two layers.
Do You Need Scaffolding?
This depends on the access to, and height of the walls and ceiling surfaces. As a general rule, if the tradesman has to lay plaster above shoulder height to a wall, or when plastering a ceiling, if the plasterer’s arm is bent to an angle of more than 90 degrees at the elbow, he or she will need some kind of access platform. The platform in most cases will only need to be between 300mm and 600mm above floor level if ceilings are of standard height, but will need to be higher if the ceilings are above standard height.
The best types of scaffolding to use are prefabricated folding platforms that can be rented from the local hire shop. These can be used for particularly high ceilings and can be adjusted to suit the required height. Otherwise, most plasterers use upturned plastic beer bottle crates with scaffold boards resting on top, this gives just the right elevation to reach a standard ceiling.
The rental cost of a folding platform can be for a day, weekend or a week. There are many hire shops in the UK, both small independent and large national companies. Although different, all their rental costs will be approximately the same.
|First 24 hours||Next 24 hours||Weekend||Week|
If you decide to hire, ensure you know how to erect and use the platforms safely before you attempt to use them.
Plastering Cost for Ceilings
The cost of plastering a ceiling is generally more expensive than those for walls, simply because it is more difficult to work above the head and definitely more tiring. Having said that, if the workman is skilled he can probably skim a ceiling faster than a wall. The following table shows typical tasks and corresponding prices.
|Small ceiling removed, plasterboarded and plastered||1.5 days||£80||£400|
|Medium room. Fit plasterboard under the existing ceiling.||1 day||£60||£250|
|Large room. Just needs plastering||0.5 days||£60||£150|
Saving on room plastering costs
You probably won’t be able to save that much money on the costs to plaster a room unless you want to have a go yourself and put up with a poor quality job. Plastering is not as easy as it looks. You can save money however by taking over the non-plastering jobs.
- Removing old and fixing new plasterboard is something that most DIY amateurs can manage. You usually won’t have to pay trade rates to dispose of the old boards too.
- Offer to organise and buy the materials yourself, direct from the merchant. Remember that the tradesman may get preferential costs from the merchant so it may be cheaper to leave it to the professional.
- Clear the room of furniture and carpet before the work begins.
- Clean up any mess afterwards.
- If you know what you are doing some tradesmen may allow you to work as their labourer.
- If you intend having many rooms done, ask for quotes for each of the rooms as well as the cost of plastering a house. You may find a larger job cheaper.
- You will find that doing the walls cost less if you have them done at the same time, rather than on two separate occasions. It’s all a matter of minimising unproductive time.
Tradesmen Typical Day Rates
Most plasterers will charge by the day or by the half day (and this is probably also his minimum charge) or they will charge a fixed rate. You won’t get many charging an hourly rate, it just isn’t worth their while. The day rate will depend on the skill of the tradesman, the difficulty of the job, the size of the job, and what the average plastering prices and cost to do a room are in the local area. Remember that the rates mentioned in this article are for a skilled tradesman providing a quality product, you will probably find cheaper day rates but you will also probably get poorer quality. Remember too that most plastering jobs require the assistance of a labourer whose job is to keep the tradesman supplied with wet plaster and to help with fixing plasterboard, this will increase the price somewhat.
|Average Price||£120 to £160|
The costs per room will depend on the minimum tradesman’s rate. You will find that small jobs such as filling a few holes will cost almost as much as a reskim job. This is because, with both jobs, the tradesman has the same travelling time and setup time before he can start work. He will then only spend an hour or two filling holes as opposed to spending half a day for a reskim. Because of this most tradesmen charge a minimum sum which will probably be the equivalent of either half a day or a whole day. The following are typical costs.
|Operation||Materials (approx.)||Labour (approx.)||Waste Disposal|
|Patch Repair||£10||£75 to 150||N/A|
|Overskim Wall||£20.||£150 to £200||N/A|
|New Plasterboard & One Wall||£75.||£150.||£25|
|Overskim an Entire Room||£75||£175||N/A|
|New Plasterboard & Plaster. Entire Room||£300||£250||£50|