How to become a Plasterer

plasterer careers

What does a Plasterer do?

Plasterers mix and apply different kinds of plaster to provide a plastering finish to internal surfaces such as walls, floors and ceilings. They may also be involved with mixing and applying plastering finishes for external walls using sand and cement, pebble-dash or stone-effect materials.

Jobs in plastering range from new-build housing or commercial developments to small-scale domestic extensions, repairs and restoration. There are two main types of plastering work:

  • solid plastering - applying wet finishes to walls, ceilings and floors, or putting protective coverings such as pebble-dashing on external walls, using a range of hand tools and sometimes spraying equipment
  • fibrous plastering - making ornamental plasterwork such as ceiling roses, cornices, ornamental columns and architraves from a mixture of plaster and short fibres, often following drawings produced by an architect, artist or interior designer, using tools including moulds and casts. Some firms employ fibrous makers and fibrous fixers.

A third, rapidly growing area often associated with plastering is dry lining. Essentially, this is a generic term used to describe the construction of internal partitions using plasterboard or wallboard. Wall and floor partitions are constructed by fastening boards together onto a timber or metal frame ready for decorating. See also Ceiling Fixer.

On large projects, plasterers may work in teams on different sections of wall at the same time.

What's the working environment like working as a Plasterer?

The usual working week is 39 hours, Monday to Friday, although overtime at weekends or evenings is common when deadlines must be met.

Solid plasterers and dry liners normally work indoors, but conditions can be cold and draughty. Fibrous plasterers are usually found in workshops, but sometimes visit sites. Plasterers may have to work at heights from ladders, platforms or scaffolding, and protective clothing and headgear is normally required.

Plasterers travel from site to site to complete jobs and although not essential, a driving licence would be useful. Depending on the contract, they may have to work away from home for periods of time.

What does it take to become a Plasterer?

To be a plasterer you should:

  • have good coordination and practical ability
  • be able to work quickly and as part of a team
  • have good numeracy skills for calculating surface areas and volumes of materials required
  • have creative ability for fibrous plastering and other decorative work
  • be physically fit
  • be aware of health and safety issues.

Plasterer Career Opportunities

Plasterers work for specialist plastering firms, building contractors, local authorities and other public organisations. Many are self-employed and work as sub- contractors, working as 'labour only' with materials supplied by the building contractor. There may be opportunities to work abroad on contracts.

It may be possible for plasterers to progress to supervisory roles or other related areas, such as estimating and construction management.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Plasterer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Bircham Newton
King's Lynn
PE31 6RH
Tel: 01485 577577

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
Tel: 0870 417 8777

Equal Opportunities Commission