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Hand Applied and Machine Applied Plaster

Plaster has been used for centuries to make ceilings attractive. The plaster itself is a mixture of sand, cement, lime and water which gives it its two most notable properties: strength and elasticity. Other ingredients are added to give the plaster colour or other qualities depending on the application. It can be applied by hand or machine but generally speaking there are benefits associated with each method.

What Plastering is Really About | Walls & Ceilings

The article will focus on the following topics:

Benefits of a Hand Applied Plaster Ceiling

The main benefit of having your ceiling plastered by hand is that you have more control over how it looks as no two plasterers will apply their plaster in precisely the same way. This means that you can ensure that all those little dips and bumps just disappear seamlessly into your new ceiling. For a novice plasterer, hand application of plaster is a lot faster than machine application and the ceilings achieved using this method are very impressive.

It is also a great skill to have if you ever want to decorate another part of your house yourself in future as hand-applied plastering can be used in conjunction with most other methods such as sanding and painting or even wallpapering.

 Benefits of a Machine Applied Plaster Ceiling

The benefits associated with this type of ceiling are speed and scalability. Generally speaking, it will take longer to prepare the surfaces for a machine applied ceiling but once preparation work has been done the whole process speeds up considerably. A typical residential property, for example, that would take a couple of weeks to hand plaster can be machine plastered in as little as one day.

The reason for this is that the machine used to apply the plaster does all the hard work and can plaster large areas very quickly indeed. This is ideal for commercial purposes where time and money are at a premium and precision isn’t always necessary.

 Advantages and Disadvantages of Both Methods

As you would expect, each method has its advantages and disadvantages which result from the nature of their application as well as cost factors such as labour costs. A key advantage associated with both methods is durability. Because plaster has natural elasticity it will expand and contract during temperature changes without damage or fracture which means that your ceiling won’t suffer from cracks and will remain in pristine condition.

This is especially important in older properties where the ceilings aren’t double-skinned and tend to be more flimsy than modern equivalents. Plastering by hand can leave a ceiling looking very professional but this method is limited when it comes to the use of certain materials such as wallpaper which may require an undercoat that would be difficult to apply using a plastering brush.

Machine applied plasters have a much wider range of applications including most types of wallpaper or decorative finishes but some compounds won’t work with machine application so you need to decide whether your ceiling requires these materials before beginning any works.

 What Does The Difference In Application Mean For You?

The main difference between the two methods is speed and cost. Hand application is a more time-consuming process but the results are generally finer and therefore better for applying wallpaper, plasterboard or other materials. On the other hand, machine application is faster and easier to complete but has a rougher finish so isn’t recommended for areas where finer finishes are required.

You will also find that labour costs vary considerably between the two methods with machine plasters tending to be cheaper than their hand-applied counterparts even though they can be completed much more quickly.

 The Future of Ceiling Plastering

The best thing about both methods of ceiling plastering is that they will stand the test of time and offer years of protection and beauty in your home or workplace. So whether you opt for an old fashioned hand application or a modern machine plastered ceiling, you can be sure that your decision will bring great value to your home in years to come.

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January 2022