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Plastering - skimming plasterboard 1

Skim coat

Skimming is a term used for applying a thin coat of plaster to a wall or ceiling to provide a smooth uniform surface. The plaster used is generally called 'board finish' and comes in a variety of pack sizes. The amount needed can be worked out by area/weight. 10kg should be sufficient to cover about 5 sq m at a thickness of 3mm. Only buy plaster when you need it, as the shelf life is minimal, and ensure it is kept in a dry room.

Preparation for skimming

Before starting, you should clear out the room and dust down the plasterboard. The idea is to get rid of as much dust as possible since, oddly enough, surfaces need to be kept as clean as possible. Dirt and dust can cause untold problems later and the short time spent cleaning up will pay dividends.

A useful tip is, when sweeping up sprinkle a little water on the area to be swept, this keeps the dust to a minimum.

Check out the video for a quick intro to skimming walls

Tools Required

Spirit level
Steel float
Mixing utensils (as described)
Hacksaw or tin snips
Claw hammer
Plasterers trowel
A spot board (as described)

Taping the joints

The first job is to 'tape' all the joints. This helps with the integrity of the surface and reduces the risk of cracks along the joints between boards. Fortunately, there is now no need to use paper tape or hessian (scrim) on the joints. The latter was a messy job as it had to be stuck to the boards with plaster. There is now a self adhesive board joint tape which although more expensive, makes life a lot easier. It can simply be unrolled and stuck over the joints like masking tape. Butt join the tape rather than overlapping to avoid 'bumps' in the finish.

If you have a lot to do, a neat trick is to fit an old toilet roll holder to your belt to act as the tape dispenser. This leaves both hands free but, perhaps more importantly, keeps the tape clean - dust will stop it sticking to the boards.

Angle or plaster beads

Any external corners will need to have angle beads fitted to enable a sharp square corner to be produced. These are right angled, galvanised metal strips which have holes in the side fins for nails to go through for fixing. To cut them, simply measure and mark to length then use a pair of tin snips or a junior hacksaw.

The edges tend to be sharp so, wear work gloves and take care.

To fix in position place the spirit level on the corner to be beaded, if it is plumb nail the bead on using galvanised plaster board nails. Nailing up the bead in a uniformed manner keeps the bead square all the way up and down the corner. If the corner is out of plumb, hold the bead at the prominent part of the corner and nail at that point. Taking hold of the bead above, then below, use a spirit level to adjust before nailing in position. Make use of the spirit level's straight edge to keep the bead in line.

Plastering - skimming plasterboard 2

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