plaster types

Plaster Types — The Top 11 in 2024 (and how to use them)

Bonding plaster, One Coat plaster or Tough Coat plaster? We all want that smooth, high-quality finish on our ceilings and walls, but what plaster types should we use?

Getting a good finish on your first attempt at plastering a wall is difficult and is almost impossible to learn from videos (I know because I tried!). It’s a skill best learned from having a go. Trust me; practice makes perfect!

How To Choose the Right Plaster Type

There are many plaster types available in the UK. In this guide, I’ll show you the most popular and versatile types, including which ones are best for what job and how to use them. You can then choose a plaster that suits your budget and your requirements.  

Each plaster is used under specific conditions, with different ones needed for various backgrounds and mixed to a specific thickness to get the best results. For example, bonding plaster is a perfect base for walls that don’t have a key. It turns out not all plasters are created equal!

The Top 11 Plaster Types in 2024

Below is our list of the 11 most important plaster types, plus how to use them in your next DIY Project:

1. Bonding Plaster

A base plaster for smooth surfaces.

bonding plaster

When To Use Bonding Plaster

This versatile base coat plaster can be applied to various surfaces. It’s ideal for walls and ceilings with a smooth finish, where other plasters struggle to bond without a key.

Also, bonding plaster is great for putting a base coat on surfaces such as concrete.

One of the advantages of bonding plaster is that you can apply it relatively easily, and you don’t need an absorbent surface.

The consistency of bonding plaster allows you to spread it smoothly and get a good finish. 

How To Use Bonding Plaster

For a step-by-step tutorial, check out our guide on plastering a ceiling.

Pro Tip: Scratch the surface with a nail to create a ”key” for the next layer to stick to.

2. Hardwall Plaster

Similar to browning plaster, a high-impact resistance base coat.

hardwall plaster

When To Use Hardwall Plaster

Hardwall plaster has high impact resistance. It is one of the quickest-drying plasters, which is great for most masonry surfaces.

Before applying, you must add water to hardwall plaster. However, don’t overmix it because it can lose some qualities.

How To Use Hardwall Plaster

Apply to the wall pressing the plaster with high pressure to get the best result.  You can also spray it, which makes it easier to use. It tends to be a favourite plaster of many for this reason.

I like Hardwall plaster as it’s hard-wearing (around high-traffic areas with children and pets, it’s a must), it’s quite easy to use, and it gives an amazing smoothness to surfaces.

Pro Tip: Working on a damp (but not dripping) wall will help the application. Use a large emulsion brush and a little water to dampen the wall before you start.

3. Tough Coat Plaster

Hardwall plaster’s tougher brother.

tough coat plaster

When To Use Tough Coat Plaster

​Tough Coat Plaster is even tougher than hardwall plaster.

Another hardwearing base coat plaster. This particular type is fine for most masonry walls.

Unlike other plasters, the way you apply Tough Coat Plaster varies. You can either spray apply or apply by hand. Either way, you should get an amazing smooth look.

How To Use Tough Coat Plaster

Tough Coat Plaster is already mixed with aggregate. However, before using it, you should mix it with water. Ensure you mix it in a clean tray; otherwise, it can lose its power. If you spray it, spray in a circular motion for the best results.

Tough Coat Plaster should be protected from long-term moisture. Otherwise, you might notice imperfections appearing, and persistent exposure to moisture can weaken it and affect adhesion.

Pro Tip: Add plaster to water, not water to plaster!

Planning on repairing your wall or ceiling with patching plaster? Check out our step-by-step guide on How to repair Walls and Ceilings.

4. One Coat Plaster

A base coat and finishing plaster in one — ideal for repairing ceilings and walls.

one coat plaster

When To Use One Coat Plaster

​One Coat plaster, or patching plaster as it’s also called, is brilliant for repairing and filling in patches.

What makes it so good is that it’s both the base coat and the finishing plaster. Not only that, but you can apply it much thicker. Some manufacturers say you can apply up to 50mm! You might be best sticking with around 25mm for the best results.

According to, one coat plaster is their go-to choice for the best finish over any other combo of base coats and finishing plasters.

How To Use One Coat Plaster

When you mix up this plaster, use a ratio of 25kg of One Coat plaster to 5-7 litres of water, then leave it for 3-5 minutes before applying.

5. ThistlePro DuraFinish

A long-lasting plaster that can handle tough environments.

thistlepro durafinish plaster

When To Use ThistlePro DuraFinish

According to British Gypsum, ThistlePro DuraFinish is a whole 60% tougher than standard plaster. It does well against chipping or scratching and is handy for re-plastering, repair work, undercoating, and skimming.

DuraFinish plaster is great for high-traffic areas, including corridors, stairwells or hallways. A great choice if you have a busy house like mine.

How To Use ThistlePro DuraFinish

Different brands of plaster will each recommend a specific thickness to get the best result. According to British Gypsum, ThistlePro DuraFinish should be applied to a thickness of 2mm to get the best results.

6. Board Finish Plaster

The best finish for your plasterboard wall.

board finish plaster

When To Use Board Finish Plaster

Board Finish plaster does what it says on the tin, well, bag, at least! This is the plaster you need for a top-quality finish over plasterboard.

How To Use Board Finish Plaster

Simply add clean water, mix and apply. You should remember that this plaster may lose its strength if the previous mixes contaminate it, so ensure you clean all the equipment you use to mix it. You can also mix it with your hands or use mechanical mixing, which can be a little easier.

Pro Tip: Whilst you can skim an MR grade board with Board Finish Plaster, according to British Gypsum, it’s better to prime the board with a product like ThistleBond-It.

For a long-lasting finish, you should protect your plasterwork from damp because persistent exposure to a moist environment can weaken its adhesion, and it might come away from the wall.

7. Thistle Bonding 60

Fewer worries about cracking and shrinkage.

thistle bonding 60 plaster

When To Use Thistle Bonding 60

Thistle Bonding 60 offers a quick solution to repair damaged walls with a minimum risk of shrinkage and cracking.

It sets in under 60 minutes, making it ideal for quick repairs and patching at speed. For this reason, many use Thistle Bonding 60 rather than bonding plaster.

Use this plaster on backgrounds with medium to low suction levels for best results.

For more tips on how to use Thistle Bonding 60, check out this guide on patching plaster.

How To Use Thistle Bonding 60

To prepare Thistle Bonding 60, you only need to add clean water. Ensure you mix it in a clean bucket because mixing it with contaminates may weaken its strength. Note: You should never mix this plaster mechanically.

You should apply this plaster to walls and ceilings with firm pressure and ensure you get the thickness right, as putting it on too thick can cause issues. 

According to British Gypsum, Thistle Bonding 60 performs best in dry conditions. Therefore, exposure to moisture should be avoided as it may cause loss of adhesion.

8. Multi-Finish Plaster

Multi-finish for a variety of surfaces.

multi-finish plaster

When To Use Multi-Finish Plaster

​Multi-Finish Plaster is perfect when you have a variety of backing surfaces to cover, and it works best for low to medium-suction backgrounds.

The setting time for the Multi-Finish Plaster is a speedy 90 minutes.

You’ll get a high-quality and smooth look with this plaster. It can even provide a viable base if you feel brave and fancy applying some decorative finishes.

How To Use Multi-Finish Plaster

For best results, make sure you apply it with firm pressure.

Want to know how to paint your newly plastered wall? See our handy tips on painting fresh plaster.

9. Dri-Coat Plaster

Use this plaster after your damp-proof course.

dry-coat plaster

When To Use Dri-Coat Plaster

Dri-coat plaster is designed for plastering over a damp-proof course. It’s ideal because it doesn’t have as much moisture and doesn’t cause issues with your new damp-proof course.

Apply Dri-Coat plaster at around 2mm.

Pro Tip: Remember that Dri-Coat plaster’s shelf life is only 6 months. Note the use-by date, and don’t use it past this point.

How To Use Dri-Coat Plaster

Before applying Dri-Coat plaster to your wall or ceiling, ensure the background is properly dried out, or you might find it creates damp problems.

Another tip is to remove any of the salt used during drying. Otherwise, that might create continual damp problems.

10. ThistlePro Magnetic

Magnetic by name, magnetic by nature.

thistlepro magnetic plaster

When To Use ThistlePro Magnetic

​Forget which plaster is ideal for what job and which surface, ThistlePro Magnetic wins hands down for me as it has a special ability to create interactive walls due to the presence of magnets in the plaster.

To my children, this is essentially a magic wall!  Applying this plaster 3–5mm thick ensures you enable magnetic attraction.

Even better, although it is magnetic, it doesn’t interfere with any electrical items or wifi.

Check out some fab uses of magnetic plaster in this video from British Gypsum:

YouTube player

How To Use ThistlePro Magnetic

ThistlePro Magnetic works best on both low to medium-suction-level backgrounds.

Like all other plasters mentioned above, it should be mixed with clean water before use to get the best results.

It can be mixed by hand or by slow and steady mechanical mixing.

Over-mixing may result in distortion of its characteristics. Therefore, you should avoid overmixing.

There are several mixers available in the market. My advice is to see what fits your budget and preference.

When storing Thistle Pro Magnetic, make sure you store it in a dry place because if it gets exposed to moisture, it may lose strength.

Ensure you note down the use-by date, as it has a shelf life of six months.

11. Thistle SprayFinish

In a hurry? This plaster is worm pump spray machine compatible.

thistle sprayfinish plaster

When to Use Thistle SprayFinish

This smooth finish plaster is best used for large projects where a plaster spray machine will save you hours. Works best on low to medium-suction backgrounds, such as plasterboard.

How to Use Thistle SprayFinish

  1. Mix. Empty the bag into the spray machine hopper. The machine should automatically mix the plaster to a consistent mix.
  2. Spray. The mix should be sprayed to an even thickness of 2mm. The first 1mm layer should be sprayed horizontally, with the second 1mm layer sprayed vertically. This cross-hatching technique fosters an even application.
  3. Flatten. Wait 5 to 10 minutes before flattening the surface with a wide spatula.
  4. Trowel finish the surface.

Pro Tip: Treat Plasterboard with Thistle Bond-it before applying Thistle SprayFinish plaster

How Much Plaster Do I Need?

For British Gypsum plaster, use their handy plaster coverage calculator to determine how much plaster you need.

Final Thoughts

Above is my round-up of go-to plasters. I particularly like Thistle because they have a plaster for every use imaginable, even for magnets!

It’s so important to get your plasterwork right for that professional finish. A bad job will ruin the look of your room and come back to bite you when you have to make repairs down the line.

For information about plastering, check out our guide to plastering a ceiling.