Working as a plasterer

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David Webb is a solid plasterer – applying wet finishes to walls, ceilings and floors. Fibrous plastering is another form of the trade, which involves making ornamental plasterwork in a workshop.

How did you get into this work?

I became an apprentice after leaving school. That is the best way of learning a skilled craft job as it proves that you have been fully trained over a period of time.

What are the pros and cons of the job?

I like plasterboarding because it is quick and I can complete a job and see the result almost immediately. The part I dislike most is plastering ceilings, which involves hard and backbreaking work.

What is involved in solid plastering?

Solid plastering is mainly carried out to the walls on the inside of buildings and includes putting down solid flooring and fitting cornices and mouldings. I also fix plasterboard to wooden joists and stud partitions. Floors are built up in the same way using cements and different aggregates depending on how hardwearing the floor needs to be.

Do you always work inside?

No. Often we have to do the outside of buildings as well. On some outside walls a mixture of sand and cement is normally used, instead of plaster. I can apply different finishes, such as pebbledashing or textured surfaces, and some may be painted with a roller or sprayed.

What equipment do you use?

Trowels, spirit levels to measure everything is even, hardboard and tape. The hardboard is for skimming the plaster or plasterboard to ensure a smooth finish. That is the really skilled part of the job. I also use a hoist for lifting materials.

What skills and qualities are needed?

A plasterer needs a good eye to produce professional work. You must have pride in what you are doing as the end result is there for all to see afterwards.

David's route to his job as a plasterer.

  • GCSEs.
  • Modern Apprenticeship.

David's tips working as a plasterer

  • Take up a construction apprenticeship.
  • Go to college to learn the job properly.

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Salary working as a plasterer

  • Starting salary rates for a plasterer working for a building contractor or local authority will start at about £215 a week, although actual salaries will be boosted by overtime and bonuses.
  • However, most are self-employed and can command rates between £300-£700 a week.

Working as a plasterer

  • Most people train by finding work with an employer as a construction apprentice.
  • There are NVQ/SVQs in Plastering (Levels 1 2 and 3) and a City & Guilds certificate in Basic Plastering Skills (6101).
  • In Scotland, you need to do a selection test to get onto a construction apprenticeship.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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