Prepare for Change – Learn Everything About Plasters, Their Tools, and Work


Plastered walls – they exude a feeling of class and finesse, don’t they? For a person who has never observed the process of plastering, it might feel like a gargantuan task, only fit for experts.

But, after reading this article, we believe that even people with no experience will be prepared to take on a plastering job. And do not worry veterans, we have not forgotten about you. In fact, we have something for everyone. So, read along to find out everything you need to know about plastering tools and how to use them.

Prepare for Change – Learn Everything About Plasters, Their Tools, and Work

What Plastering Tools Do I Need?

To get started with plastering, you will need the following tools.

  1. Plastering Trowel

So, this is one of the fundamental tools you will require for plastering. Plastering trowels are used to apply and spread plaster on a wall. Now, there are quite a few types of trowel available on the market. And choosing the right one can be quite a hassle. But do not worry, we will help you choose the trowel which is best suited to your abilities.

What is the ideal trowel size?

The answer to this question depends on your expertise and strength. If you are just a novice in this field, you should start off with a shorter trowel ,11 to 12 inches in size. With a short trowel, you will have more control on applying pressure at the correct angle to ensure a fine and flat finish.

Before we proceed to the benefits of using a longer trowel, we must address a misconception regarding small trowels. Some people think that shorter trowels are responsible for leaving more trowel marks as compared to a longer one. However, that is not the case. In fact, the opposite can be true – if the trowel is larger than necessary and appropriate pressure is not applied, it will result in a poor finish.

Now, if you are experienced and strong enough, using a longer trowel makes perfect sense. The obvious benefit of using a longer trowel is the efficiency. You will save more time with it, but only if you use it in the appropriate way.

  1. Bucket Trowel

Before you use your plastering trowel to apply plaster on the wall, you will need to scoop it out of the bucket. And this is where the Bucket Trowel steps in.

There are hundreds of bucket trowels available on the market right now which can make the process of buying one needlessly complex. Just remember to buy one with a grippy handle and good build quality.

  1. Plasterers Hawk

Just like the Bucket Trowel, the Plasterers Hawk is a simple tool but one that makes the process of plastering highly convenient. So, what is it exactly? It is a flat board which lets you hold a small amount of plaster after you scoop it up from the bucket using a Bucket Trowel.

There are essentially two types of Plasterers Hawks available in the market today. The first one is the Foam / Plastic Hawk. This type of Hawk is perfect for novices or beginners.

Why, you may ask? Well, they are not only cheap but also extremely light. And that makes a big difference if you are not used to the strenuous task of plastering. Although this might not look like a big deal, holding a Hawk for hours will make your muscles ache. A lightweight Hawk can make a significant difference, especially for novices who are not used to it.

The other type of Hawk is the Aluminum Hawk. Now, they are not as lightweight as a Foam / Plastic Hawk. But, they are significantly stronger than those and can easily last a lifetime. Sure, they are more expensive. However, in our opinion, they are well worth the investment.

  1. Mixer Drill / Paddle Mixer

Back in the old days, it was quite a hassle to mix plaster. People had to use spades and manually mix it. Now, you can imagine the trouble of mixing a large quantity of plaster without any electrical tool to assist you. It would not only take up a lot of time and effort, but also the plaster mixture might not end up with the ideal consistency.

Thankfully in the 21st century, things are very different. You no longer need to prepare your plaster mixture manually. There is a wide range of Mixer Drill / Paddle Mixer products available in the market. And the right one will mainly depend on the quantity of plaster you need to mix at one go.

These products usually range from 800 Watts to 1800 Watts according to power output. Simply put, you can go for a low powered mixer tool if your plasterwork is not as demanding. However, if you need to mix a large quantity of plaster at a time, go for a Paddle Mixer tool that is rated 1600 Watts or higher.

  1. Water Brush / Splash Brush

This is one tool you will surely need if you are starting out in this field. The Water Brush is always used towards the end, usually on the final coat of plaster. In case there are imperfections on a freshly plastered wall, you can use a Splash Brush / Water Brush to splash water on it. That will dampen it, giving you the opportunity to work on the imperfections.

Although you can go for a low-cost product in case of some of the items featured on this list, we suggest you purchase a high-quality Water Brush. This will ensure that no bristles are left behind on the wall. And trust us, they can be a pain to remove. Moreover, high-quality Water Brushes have higher water retention which makes things more convenient.

  1. Buckets / Mixing Buckets

Last but not least, is a Mixing Bucket. And you might have already guessed its purpose – this bucket is used for mixing your plaster. These buckets vary greatly in size and quality. And just like the earlier items, it depends on your requirements.

If you do not do any demanding work, go for a small bucket. A small builder’s bucket of 10 – 15 L capacity should do the trick. Otherwise, go for a capacious tub which can hold 100 L or more. And remember, whichever bucket you go for, be sure to clean it up and dry it properly before you mix your plaster. Moreover, always wash your bucket thoroughly before the plaster dries out.

That brings our article to an end. Whether you are a novice or a veteran, we hope it helped you one way or another. If you are looking to get started or want an upgrade, do check out this one-stop shop for plasterers tools.

Featured Image Michael Thews@mthews