plasterboarding a brick wall

Plasterboarding a Brick Wall (Step-by-Step DIY Guide)

Plasterboarding a brick wall, which, if done correctly, produces a nice smooth finish that you can decorate immediately.

There are two main ways to fix plasterboard to your wall:

  1. ​​Stick directly onto walls with adhesive.
  2. Nail/screw to a timber/steel frame attached to the walls.

In this post, I’ll cover #1.

Don’t fancy doing this job yourself? Find top-rated plasterers in your area by clicking the button below:

Plasterboarding a Brick Wall – Pros and Cons

Dry lining is well within reach of a handy homeowner, as it doesn’t require any special skills as you need for wet plastering. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a simple job for a novice. As an experienced builder will tell you, plenty of gotchas can trip you up when it comes to dry-lining.

Fear not, though. In this guide, I will walk you through the process step-by-step, but first, let’s look at the pros & cons of dry lining when compared with wet plastering:

Faster to install, especially when stuck to walls using adhesive. I.e. the dot & dab method.Plasterboard may not support heavy items attached to the wall.
No drying time is required. This can save you weeks of waiting time.Boards can be fragile.
Little moisture is introduced into your home.Boards can be expensive.
Much easier to produce a smooth finish, making decorating easy. 

Tools & Materials

Important safety tip – always wear safety goggles and a dust mask when carrying out this work. Also, remember to use gloves when handling plasterboard.

For Preparing and Fitting Plasterboard


  • Tape measure and spirit level.
  • Chalk, marker pen, marker spray and pencil.
  • Knife with replaceable blades. I recommend using specialist plasterboard blades as these are quicker, safer and give you a cleaner cut.
  • Plasterboard rasp.
  • Combination square.
  • Plasterboard saw (for difficult cuts).
  • Bucket for mixing adhesive.
  • Mixer (either a standalone mixer or an attachment for your power drill).
  • Builder’s float and pointing hawk.
  • Heavy batten to tap the board flat against the wall (a long piece of 50x100mm timber).
  • Board lifter.
  • Step ladder.


  • Plasterboard sheets (see common sizes in step 2 below).
  • Plasterboard adhesive.
  • Masking tape.

For Taping and Jointing


  • Bucket for mixing jointing compound.
  • Taping knife.
  • Scissors.
  • Decorators sponge.
  • Filling knife.
  • Internal and External corner trowel.


  • Jointing compound.
  • Jointing Tape.
  • 220-grit sanding block.
  • Paper-faced metal angle bead.

Storage and Handling

Most plasterboards will come with a protective plastic coating, which should be left on until you’re ready to do the work.

Store the boards in a dry environment and on a flat surface to prevent bowing. If the boards get damp, wait until they’ve completely dried out before commencing the job.

When handling the boards, always carry them on their edge to minimise the risk of damage.

It’s also worth having a second pair of hands, as even the most experienced plasterers can damage boards when working alone. If you cannot get anybody to help, another option is to buy smaller boards that one person can handle. The trade-off is the cost (you must buy more boards) and time (you must fit more boards).

Preparing for Plasterboarding a Brick Wall

To ensure your plasterboard is straight on the wall, you must mark guidelines on the walls and ceiling to help you align the boards correctly.

Before you start, clean your wall and dampen it to remove any dust and dirt. 

1. Measure Board Widths

measuring board widths
  • Measure the width of all four walls to determine how many vertically fixed boards you need.
  • Start by first measuring away from a window opening. Place an off-cut plasterboard piece against the window reveal and measure the full width across. Allow an extra 10mm adhesive to fix the window sections to the reveal. Repeat for the other side of the window reveal.
  • Measure the width of the other three walls. Remember to allow for the plasterboard thickness (12.5mm) and adhesive (10mm) where the ends butt up against each other.

2. Measure Ceiling Height

Measure your ceiling height and purchase plasterboard that covers the floor to the ceiling with one board. Typical plasterboard sizes are as follows:

  • 2400x1200x12.5mm.
  • 1800x900x12.5mm.
  • 1220x900x12.5mm.

Most UK ceilings are a standard height of 2.4m, so this shouldn’t be a problem for most homes. If it is, you may want to consider fixing the plasterboard horizontally.

3. Mark Vertical Plumb Line

marking vertical plumb line

Using a laser spirit level or plumb bob, mark a vertical plumb line from floor to ceiling. Extend the marks onto the ceiling and floor.

4. Draw a Vertical Chalk Line

drawing vertical chalk line

Draw a vertical chalk line down the marked plumb line. This line will act as your guide for the first board. Continue marking the board positions across your room.

5. Mark A Line Across The Ceiling

marking a line across ceiling

Mark a line across the ceiling which is 25mm from the wall. I mark 25mm as this factors in 12.5mm for board thickness and another 12.5mm for adhesive.

As you start sticking boards to the wall, this line will help you keep the face of the boards level. 

Measuring and Cutting Plasterboard to Fit

For simple straight cuts, follow the four steps below. For more complicated cuts (e.g. around window sills), follow the three steps under How to make difficult cuts.

Make sure you have all your cuts ready before moving on to the fixing stage.

How to Make Simple Cuts

1. Measure and Mark

measure and mark plasterboard

Lay the sheet flat on the floor. Using the measurements you made previously, mark your dimensions on the board.

2. Cut Through the Outer Paper Layer Only

cutting through plasterboard outer paper layer

Using a knife against a straightedge (e.g. steel ruler or spirit level), cut through the top paper layer, but no deeper. You may find that you have to run the knife over the cut line two or three times to achieve this, so don’t try to force it on the first attempt.

3. Break Cleanly Along The Cut Line

breaking plasterboard along cut line

Lift the sheet off the floor and firmly push one side of the cut. You should find that it snaps cleanly along the line you cut.

4. Cut Through the Paper Layer On The Other Side

cutting through plasterboard paper layer on other side

Use the knife again to cut through the paper layer on the other side. If necessary, use a Plasterboard rasp to smooth any rough edges.

Pro Tip: Cut larger pieces first, and then use off-cuts to fill gaps.

How To Make Difficult Cuts

To produce a professional finish, you must make clean cuts in the plasterboard to fit around obstacles like window sills.

A Plasterboard saw is an ideal tool for making intricate cuts. Its pointed narrow blade can easily cope with awkward shapes, and its coarse teeth quickly go through plasterboard.

In the example below, I go over how to make a slit in the plasterboard to fit around a window sill. 

1. Measure Window Sill/Plasterboard Overlap

measuring window sill for plasterboard

Make a mark on the wall where the width of the plasterboard sheet will end. Measure from the mark to the window sill edge using a combination square and tape measure.

2. Mark Window Sill Height And Overlap On Plasterboard

marking window sill height and overlap on plasterboard

Stand the plasterboard next to the windowsill to see the height at which the slit must be cut.

Mark the plasterboard sheet with the measurements you made. Add a little bit extra so you have room to play with. Note: You can fill any additional space after you have fitted your plasterboard.

3. Cut Window Sill Slit Out Of Plasterboard

cutting window sill slit out of plasterboard

Using a plasterboard saw, cut out the windowsill slit.

Pro Tips: Cutting Holes For Sockets.

  1. Run red lipstick around the perimeter of your mounting box.
  2. Hold and push the plasterboard against the outlet to leave a clear outline of where the socket will go.
  3. Create a pilot hole in each corner of the outline.
  4. Turn the board around and join up the holes with a pencil.
  5. Cut the square with a plasterboard saw.
cutting holes in drywall

Fitting Plasterboard

The seven steps below explain how to stick plasterboard directly to a brick wall using adhesive. Remember, plasterboard adhesive sets quickly, so it’s a good idea to do just one area at a time.

Pro Tip: If your wall is uneven, attach timber studs to the walls and nail the plasterboard to the studs. If your wall is uneven or in poor condition, attach a framework of timber studs before dry lining. 

Another benefit of using timber studs is that it provides an opportunity to fit thermal insulation between the timber studs and plasterboard. You could also use sound-deadening plasterboard to make your wall soundproof.

To learn more about fixing plasterboard to stud walls, check out Dry Lining Tips – How to Plasterboard Stud Partition Walls.

1. Mark the Position of the Adhesive Dabs

mark position of adhesive dabs on wall

Use a marker spray to mark the position of the adhesive dabs 400mm apart (or whatever the adhesive manufacturer’s instructions advise).

2. Mix Plasterboard Adhesive

mixing plasterboard adhesive

Mix your plasterboard adhesive according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It dries fast, so only mix enough for one wall.

3. Dab Adhesive On Walls

applying adhesive on wall

Using a builder’s float and pointing hawk, put dabs of adhesive on the walls. The dabs should roughly be 250mm x 50mm and no thicker than 25mm.

There should be lines of dabs running from top to bottom of the wall, but don’t bridge the joins between sheets of plasterboard.

4. Lift Plasterboard Into Place

lifting plasterboard into place

Lift your plasterboard into place so it’s in line with the chalk lines on the wall and ceiling.

5. Tap Board Flat Against Wall

level plasterboard

Use a heavy batten to tap the board flat against the wall. A long piece of 50x100mm timber is perfect for doing this.

6. Check Board Is Level

checking plasterboard is level

Check the board is vertical with a spirit level. If not, adjust the board’s position before the adhesive dries.

7. Fit Board Tight Against the Ceiling

fitting plasterboard tight against ceiling

Make sure the board fits tight against your ceiling. If it doesn’t, lift it with a board lifter. Repeat for the other sheets of plasterboard.

Fitting Corners

You’ll find that walls and corners are rarely straight. If you want a neat fit, you’ll need to cut a plasterboard sheet to the shape of the wall.

1. Measure the Gap

  • Measure the gap between the top corner of the wall and the closest sheet of plasterboard.
  • Make a small off-cut the same width as measured above.

2. Trace The Corner Shape

tracing plasterboard corner shape
  • Position a sheet of plasterboard half the width of the off-cut away from the top corner of the wall. For example, if the off-cut is 500mm, place the sheet 250mm away from the top corner of the wall.
  • Place one end of the off-cut against the top corner of the wall and the other end overlapping the sheet. In the example above, 250mm of the off-cut should overlap the sheet.
  • Slowly move the off-cut down to the floor while tracing the shape of the corner on the sheet while you go.

3. Cut Along the Trace Line

cutting plasterboard along trace line
  • Cut along the traced line you made. You should now have one side of the plasterboard matching the shape of the wall.
  • Use a plasterboard rasp to neaten the edge.

Fitting Window Recesses

For a neat look around your windows, you’ll need to cut pieces of plasterboard to fit around the window reveal.

1. Cover the Side of the Window Reveal

covering side of window reveal with plasterboard
  • Measure the height and depth at the side of the window reveal.
  • Cut plasterboard sheets to size and stick them in place with adhesive.
  • Use masking tape to hold the plasterboard in position while the adhesive dries.

2. Cover the Top of the Window Reveal

covering top of window reveal with plasterboard
  • Measure the width and depth at the top of the window reveal.
  • Cut a piece of plasterboard to size and stick it in place with adhesive.
  • Use timber supports between the plasterboard and window sill to hold the top part of the plasterboard in place while the adhesive dries.

Taping and Jointing

Tape and joint the plasterboard joins for a smooth finish.

1. Mix and Apply Jointing Compound

applying jointing compound

Mix the jointing compound in a bucket and smooth it along the joint with a taping knife.

2. Apply Jointing Tape

applying jointing tape

Cut a piece of jointing tape the length of the joint with scissors, and then press the tape in place.

3. Cover Tape with Jointing Compound

covering tape with jointing compound
  • Use a taping knife to spread and press the jointing compound along the taped joint until the compound is flush with the surface of the tape. The tape should end up encapsulated in jointing compound.
  • Quickly smooth the surface with a clean and slightly damp decorating sponge.

Pro Tip: Keep rinsing the sponge and wringing it thoroughly, as too much moisture will weaken the joint.

4. Smooth Joint

lightly sanding bumps with sanding block
  • Leave the compound to dry.
  • Lightly sand any bumps with a 220-grit sanding block.

For more information on how to tape and joint, here’s a great video from Silver at Siniat:

YouTube player

Finishing Internal Corners

To get a neat finish along internal corners, use a paper-faced metal angle bead stuck in place with a jointing compound.

1. Measure and Cut Angle Bead

measuring and cutting angle bead
  • Measure the height of your wall.
  • Cut the angle bead 12.5mm less than the height of your wall.

2. Mix and Apply Jointing Compound to Internal Corner

Mix the jointing compound in a bucket and spread it over the corner with a filling knife, covering just beyond where the angle bead will fit.

3. Press the Angle Bead into the Internal Corner

pressing angle bead into internal corner

4. Cover the Internal Angle Bead with Jointing Compound and Smooth

covering internal angle bead with jointing compound
  • Cover the angle bead with a top coat of jointing compound.
  • Smooth the top layer of the jointing compound with an internal corner trowel.

Finish Along Wall-Ceiling Join

Using a stable stepladder, finish the joins between your walls and ceiling by following the same method for internal corners (see directly above). For more info on dry lining ceilings, check out How To Plasterboard Ceilings.

Finishing External Corners

Use a paper-faced metal angle bead to ensure strong joints on external corners.

1. Apply Angle Bead to the External Corner

applying angle bead to enternal corner
  • Measure the height of the corner.
  • Cut the angle bead to fit.
  • Apply the jointing compound to the external corner and stick the bead in place.

2. Cover the External Angle Bead with Jointing Compound and Smooth

covering external angle bead with jointing compound
  • Cover the angle bead with a top coat of jointing compound.
  • Smooth the top layer of the jointing compound with an external corner trowel.

Don’t fancy doing this job yourself? Find top-rated plasterers in your area by clicking the button below:

Plasterboarding a Brick Wall – Final Thoughts

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this guide and feel confident about plasterboarding a brick wall yourself.

Check out our guide to Plasterboarding a Ceiling for more information about using plasterboard.