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Have you been meaning to update that cracked and crumbling old brick wall at home? You’ve probably been putting the project off because a professional plasterer gave you a heart-stopping quote.
The good news is you can take on this project by yourself.
Plastering your brick wall requires a steady hand and attention to detail, but it’s a great DIY skill to add to your arsenal. If you have a free weekend and you don’t mind getting messy, this is the perfect job for you.
You’ll need to have all the right tools to do the job which can be a bit pricey, but doing it yourself will save you plenty of money in the long run.
Pay close attention in this tutorial as we are going to show you exactly how to plaster a brick wall with hardwall plaster.
Recommended Tools & Materials Checklist
- Step Ladder
- Hawk (board used for plaster)
- Float (rectangular trowel)
- Electric Drill with Mixing Paddle
- Wire Brush
- Utility Knife
- Mixing Buckets
- Eye Protection
- Protective Gloves
- Dust Mask
1. Assess The Wall
Assess the wall and make sure it’s in good condition. New plaster will not adhere to a crumbling brick wall. Make sure there are no loose bricks as they will immediately crack your new coat of plaster.
2. Prepare the Work Area
Plastering your brick wall will get very messy. You’ll want a few large canvas drop cloths to cover your whole floor with.
As splatters and spills are part of the process, make sure any surrounding furniture is protected, or better yet removed. For more tips on how to prevent mess, check out this post on preparing your work area.
Make sure to wear your proper PPE (personal protective equipment). Safety goggles, a dust mask and some old clothes you don’t mind ruining will do the job. You’ll also need a few buckets on hand for mixing the plaster and a bucket of fresh water for cleaning your tools.
3. Clean Up Brickwork And Tape Up Light Fixtures
Remove any nails or screws from the brick. Go through with a wire brush and brush off all loose dirt and brick on the wall. Make sure all light fixtures are taped and covered up before you begin.
4. Wet The Wall
Wetting the wall will improve adhesion. Run a wet sponge over the wall. Make sure to get in between all cracks and crevices.
5. Mix The Basecoat Plaster
You’ll need to apply two coats to the brick wall as the brickwork will show through with only one coat of plaster.
The first coat is a bond that will seal the brick and allow the final coat of plaster to stick to it. A plaster such as Thistle Hardwall should be suitable for the job. Follow the mixing instructions on your bag of plaster. This mixture should be coarse and thick as you’ll want to thoroughly cover the wall.
6. Trowel On The Basecoat Plaster
Scoop a generous amount of plaster on to your Hawk and begin to trowel on the basecoat plaster. Look for a thickness of around 1.5-2mm.
Fully cover all brickwork and work from top to bottom and from right to left. Evenly spread the plaster across the wall and try for a smooth and even finish. Fill in all cracks and patch all holes in the brick.
7. Float The Bond Coat
Quickly float over the bond coat of plaster as this will level any high spots. Floating the bond coat will also help the final coat of plaster adhere to the wall.
8. Allow The Bond Coat To Dry
Allow Bond Coat to dry for 45-90 minutes depending on the thickness and environment that it’s drying in. When its no longer wet to the touch you are ready for the finish coat of plaster.
9. Mix Final Coat Of Plaster
Prepare the finish coat by mixing it so that it has a smooth and non-grainy texture. Mix the finish plaster to a slightly wetter consistency so that application to the wall is easier. A finish plaster such as Thistle Durafinish is recommended by professionals.
10. Trowel On The Finish Coat Of Plaster
Begin to trowel on the finish coat. The finish coat should be 2-3mm thick. Ensure everything is even and there are no high spots. Keep the plaster as consistent as possible and look for a smooth finish. Fill in all blemishes before the plaster gets hard.
Check out this video by British Gypsum for tips on applying the finish coat.
11. Screed The Finish Coat Of Plaster
Screeding is the act of taking a straight edge and running it up and alongside the wall knocking off any high spots of plaster. Run the straight edge up and down and side to side until you have an even and level finish on the brick wall.
If you’d like to learn how to screed, check out this video from Bunnings Hardware at the 1:56 mark.
12. Float The Finish Coat Of Plaster
Wait 20-30 minutes for the finish coat to harden. You are now ready to float the plaster. Take your float and carefully work the bottom to top. Float until you have a smooth even finish and no trowel lines or blemishes are present.
13. Let Plaster Dry Out And Paint
Allow the Plaster to fully dry for at least a day. After the plaster has hardened it’s now ready for a fresh coat of paint.
14. Clean-Up Time
As mentioned earlier, plastering is extremely messy. While cleaning up and carrying tools through your house, make sure not to track plaster throughout your floors and carpets. Rinse out all of your mixing buckets and give your tools a final wash.
Although plastering is a professional skill that takes patience and time, it is a handy skill that can be learned.
If you carefully follow the steps outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to a newly plastered brick wall.
We hope you learned some valuable skills today and you’re now ready to turn that old brick wall into a freshly plastered masterpiece. If you feel like a friend or family member could benefit from this tutorial please share it.