Monthly Archives: June 2016

Seasonal Plastering Problems

Now that the weather is warming up and we are having a few sunny days there will Bright sunlight streaming into a living room interior with a parquet floor inevitably be calls from customers who have had their walls replastered or skimmed over the autumn and winter months and who are seeing cracks appearing.  Due to the nature of plaster, seasonal changes in humidity and temperature can affect the finish, leading to cracks in different areas as the walls and plaster dry out a little.  Older and larger properties have this problem more often than new builds where insulation is very efficient and there are no underlying damp problems.  If walls remain cold (and perhaps damp) during the winter when they are reskimmed then problems can occur in the spring and summer as the building warms up and dries out, drying the plaster out causing hairline cracks.

People often assume that cracks in plaster are the fault of the plasterer, or jump to the conclusion that there are serious structural problems with their home.  Very few people consider the effect of seasonal climate changes on their properties, and often fail to notice factors such as large trees growing close to their property.  Large root systems can cause structural damage, but they also provide drainage as the tree draws water out of the ground.  Very wet or very dry weather can lead to problems with cracked plaster when the ground underneath is subject to changing groundwater levels.  Additionally, people often want to fix cracks in their plaster immediately, thereby leading to further problems caused by a misunderstanding of the causes.

It is advisable to monitor a crack over the course of a full year, and note down temperature and humidity changes alongside information about the progress of the crack.  Measure the A crack in the plaster of a wall.size of the crack at various points to build up an accurate picture of the movements.  Doing this does mean you have to live with the crack for a year, but when the causes of the crack are properly understood it can be repaired in a way that will last, rather than attempting to repair a seasonal crack year on year.  When you have built up a picture of the changes in climate in relation to the changes in the crack it will become clear what is causing the crack, and armed with this information you can decide on the best solution for repairing it and making other changes around the property in terms of drainage if needed.

Cracks caused by slow drying plaster can be reskimmed easily, and the problem should not occur again.  Recurrent cracks caused by seasonal building changes need a more intensive repair, and depending on the size of the crack this will involve taking some of the surrounding plaster off to create a larger area to work with.  By exposing the brickwork you can reveal any cracks in the structure of the building that are manifesting as surface cracks in the plaster.  If these cracks in the brick are caused by seasonal changes to the structure of the house the wall can be pinned with a metal mesh that will help to take some of the movement and spread it across a larger area, rather than concentrating all that movement on one small area.  Filling a larger area means the elasticity of a larger amount of plaster can accommodate the movement far better than a small amount, so by addressing the structural problem first, then repairing the plaster you can achieve a lasting repair, which is preferable to filling in the same crack year on year when the fill plaster inevitably falls away.  Seasonal cracks can be repaired effectively with a little research and understanding of the causes.

Plastering in the Past

Plastering has been around for an incredibly long time, and is in fact one of the oldest White and black milk cow on green grass pasturebuilding crafts. A trade that has been carried and improved over thousands of years, it is just as useful today as it was when it first came into existence. From time to time, we look at the history of plastering here on the blog, but that’s because we find it quite interesting. Today we start with a look back to a time before the Ancient Egyptians, when the “plaster” they used certainly wouldn’t pass Health and Safety checks today and modern man certainly wouldn’t want smeared on their walls!

Early Man

Thousands of years ago, in the prehistoric era, humans constructed their homes using a simple timber structure. These were not necessarily secure and so they formed a plaster made from mud and slime to use on the walls. Unfortunately, it did not last a long time and had to be replaced often, so they created a firmer, thicker form made from mud and cow faeces.

The faeces added thickness and strength to the mix and this was used for quite some time to make houses sturdier and more secure. Some of this early plastering work has remained completely undisturbed since it was first applied to the walls. It really does show the skill and intelligence of these seemingly primitive humans and their innovative plastering ideas. It also probably shows a lack of a sense of smell!

Ancient Egypt

The Egyptians are known to have had many amazing technological advances that were seemingly beyond their time, and their architectural work was probably one of their greatest accomplishments. When it comes to plastering, they used a calcined gypsum mixed with hair for an added thickness. As mentioned in previous posts, the tools they used to apply plaster were surprisingly similar to the ones that we use today, and the techniques are not much different.

The pyramids where the great Pharaohs are buried contain walls that are exquisitely plastered using the mix and tools of the time. They were able to create stunning patterns on the walls by plastering over reeds, and these designs can easily rival the ones that we create today. The plaster could be painted on and used for artistic designs within the pyramid, creating a beautiful effect and finished product. Their plaster was around an inch thick when finished, creating a strong, firm coat that has lasted until the modern age.

Ancient Greece

The ancient Greeks are known as the masters of art and architecture in the Classical period and beyond. Creators of fine structures and stunning statues that are still revered today, the Greeks really were the master culture when it comes to art and design. They also used plaster in their work, and while the mix was not necessarily similar to ours, the tools and techniques were – much like the Egyptians.

They used a stucco plaster, and it formed the best possible ground for decorative painting, and was used as such for a long period of time. The earliest examples of this stucco plaster can be found at the palace of Mycenae, one of the oldest and most legendary palaces in Greek history. The decorative designs can still be see, showing the skill of the ancient A close up of Egyptian heirglyphs on a plaster wall.plasterer. Their plaster was so popular that they even used it to coat temples (inside and outside), and even over marble. Painted over afterwards, these stunning and decorative designs do still survive today – some whole, but often in fragmented pieces.

Modern Day

It is amazing how over thousands of years the ingredients of plaster have changed drastically from the mud and slime of primitive man to the gypsum and sand that is still used today. While the ingredients have changed, and the places the plaster is used have also been altered, it’s amazing that even after four thousand years we still use the same tools as our ancestors. Plastering has been an important trade over the ages, and has been seen as a useful and important one to have. From homes to the tombs of pharaohs and the temples dedicated to gods, the plasterer has always been needed, and continues to be even in the modern age.

How to Nail Your Next Plastering Job

While working for a boss or a company can often come with more secure benefits such as aThe word blog written with old typewriter steady income, many qualified and experienced plasterers are setting up on their own. This brings with it a whole new set of challenges from marketing yourself to providing the kind of customer service that gets people talking about you.

Here are some important ways you can boost your credibility as a trade plasterer and give clients every opportunity to employ your services.

Get a Website

While a number of self-employed plasterers will advertise with online platforms such as Yell.com, there are a surprising number who don’t have their own website or have one that is poorly written or rarely updated.

Having a good website is imperative if you want to increase your visibility, even though you only operate to a local market. More people nowadays search for services on the internet and not having a site can put you at a disadvantage. When someone types in ‘plastering service’ in your local area you want to be top of the list that comes up on Google. A good website also allows you to highlight your skills and start selling your credentials before anyone even picks up the phone to give you a call.

Create a Plastering Blog

Adding a blog to your website is also a great way of enhancing your reputation, highlighting jobs under way and completed, and showing that you generally know what you are doing. Search engines love them too and that could ensure your plastering work comes at the top of the rankings all the time. People are more likely to choose a service that appears on the first page of search engine rankings and if you sound like you know what you are talking about they are more likely to make that call.

Invest in a Smartphone

If you are a self-employed plasterer still using an old Nokia, then it’s time you upgraded to a smartphone. Not only does it allow you to communicate better but if you are involved with social media as a marketing strategy for your company you can update on the move.

Take Before and After Pictures of Your Plastering Work

A smartphone gives you other options too. How about taking before and after pictures of your latest job and saving them to show customers? You can also ask your satisfied customer to record a quick testimonial video that you can upload onto your website or social media. You can even do over the phone Skype calls and give advice via video to potential customers.

Vector modern creative and clean business card template. Flat designCreate Business Cards

Word of mouth is one of the most successful marketing strategies, so never leave a customer without giving them a couple of your business cards. If you have the finances, you can also make up a short brochure with your contact details on it. There are plenty of cheap options out there if you look around online. They are vital if you want customers to recommend you to their friends and family.

Brush Up on Your Communication Skills

One area where many self-employed plasterers fall down is their communication skills. You may not be a professional salesman but having a clear idea of what you are going to say to customers is important. Again, there’s plenty of help in this respect online including video tutorials that will help you brush up your sales patter and how to conduct yourself professionally.

Choose the Right Plastering Tools Supplier

Finally, using the best plastering supplier and investing in equipment shows you are a professional outfit and that you care enough to have the right tools for the job.

The great news is that most of methods you can use to better promote your services are fairly low cost while also bringing great benefits. You can set up a decent website for as little as a few pounds a month and investing in a new smartphone can bring great dividends. It’s worth thinking about if you want to keep those plastering jobs coming in.

How Much Do You Charge

In our blog, we often discuss the skilled workers shortage and how this is having an effect Close up of a yellow hard hat being held by a man wearing a yellow glove.on other industries. This week we take a look at another aspect of the skilled worker shortage and that is its impact on the rate of pay.

Many construction firms out there are finding it increasingly more difficult to find enough reliable workers. In particular plasterers and bricklayers have been identified as the two trades that are lacking in numbers.

As a result, numerous bosses of big construction firms have discussed how this has affected the rate of pay for both plasterers and bricklayers. It may not be good news for the construction firms, but it is great news for both plasterers and bricklayers!

It has been claimed by a construction director from Oxford that a decent bricklayer or an experienced plasterer now has the ability to charge more than £200.00 per day (or £1,000 per week) because of the skills shortage. The director claims this has shot up over the last two years considerably.

Some plasterers were earning £100.00 per day just one year ago and have therefore seen their pay increase by fifty per cent. Not bad for just using a plastering trowel eh? Some claim this isn’t fair as levels of expertise concerning plastering has not necessarily changed, but the simple matter of fact is that there are not enough workers and companies have to pay the rates whether they want to or not if they want to get the job done.

In fact, it has been claimed that even those plasterers that have just qualified and aren’t greatly experienced can still get away with charging up to £150.00 per day. Many older plasterers would agree that this is far more than the average wage they were paid when they first qualified.

As mentioned, Oxford is one such area that is suffering from the skills shortage and plasterers from all across the country have been travelling down to get the best rates of pay.

But, the skills shortage doesn’t just affect bricklayers and plasterers, there is a huge lack of joiners, electricians and plumbers too. Many have claimed that the skills shortage would be in crisis if it wasn’t for the immigrant labour and many construction bosses in particular are already worrying about the effect on the construction industry if Britain was to exit the EU.

Graduation mortar board cap on one hundred dollar billsBut, there is a bigger problem than just the current number of workers, the government needs to address the fact that certain trades (including plastering) are suffering a huge decline. More needs to be done in schools, colleges and sixth forms to help engage with students and explain the benefits of working in a trade. There are numerous myths out there that are associated with working in a trade and they need to be abolished pronto.

Many think that plasterers are exceptionally physical because of the strength it takes to use a plastering trowel all day. Whilst this is true, there are numerous other jobs that are equally as physical that aren’t suffering the same worker shortage.

Adrian Lockwood, Oxfordshire Skills Board Chairman made a statement recently explaining how he was concerned about the skilled labour shortage. He explained that on a recent trip to school he realised that many children wanted to become pop stars despite the fact that plasterers and plumbers often earn more – unless you’re Lady Gaga that is!

A suggested way that the government could deal with the crisis is to give more money to construction firms so they can offer more apprenticeships. By training more young people up in the good old fashioned art of plastering, hopefully the construction industry will not be in this position again. In the meantime however – enjoy the increase in your wage packet!

A to Z of Plastering Materials

Fasten your seatbelt! Take a deep breath and get ready to do a whirlwind tour of what we A tub of Aerotherm plaster against a white backgroundstock when it comes to plastering materials.  Our extensive repertoire of materials offer you so many brands and finishes to choose from, just take your pick and we’ll handle the rest.

Please take note that most of our products are available for next day delivery. Contact us and we can provide you with delivery times and prices.

Ok, let’s get started.

Aero-Therm – popular in Europe, this material takes efficient home insulation to the next level. This new and technologically-advanced product does the job of conventional insulation. An ingenious idea that means that just 1mm of a layer will save you up to 35% heat loss. This revolutionary coating is ultra-thick and reflective, resulting in the elimination of cold spots, warm walls, less mould and that elusive thermal comfort from wall to wall. Applied in a similar method to plaster, the surface left is smooth and ready for paint or wallpaper. No other insulation method offers such a fast and easy application method.

CPI Euromix General Purpose Render – application time is cut by 75% with this inexpensive spray-applied, all-purpose render. Developed by talented scientific professionals, you’ll enjoy a truck load of savings from using this. It’s also way less hassle. CPI Euromix is additionally available in a high bond render that is suitable for low suction or friable backgrounds.

K-Rend K1 Spray Render – for use with most of the render spray machines on the market, this product is perfect for larger projects when you’re looking to recoup time. It can also be applied by hand.

Silicone E Grade Sprayable K-REND – this pre coloured exterior render will save you gallons of time. Available in 20 different shades, you just need to spray it on and they’ll love the results.

Knauf Airless – outstanding results are yours from using this lightweight formula. Applied by airless pressure piston pump, the Knauf Airless Finish Light is particularly lightweight, which makes it far easier to handle onsite, to level and sand.

A green bag of K-rend plaster against a white backgroundKnauf Aquapanel Exterior – the ideal product for delivering a durable and weather-tight water-resistant exterior, this product is made of Portland cement to provide a dimensional stability not found in other products.

Knauf MP Finish – apply by spray to achieve a 2-3mm thick coat either over plasterboard or sand or cement undercoats.

Knauf MP75 – designed as a machine plaster used in one coat, this can be put on at up to 20mm thick in one go. Ideal for adding directly onto blockwork, uneven concrete or even thick joint blockwork, this product will set in 3-4 hours. The result is tough, durable and smooth – ready for you to decorate as you wish.

Parex Renders – one of our most popular products due to the convenience and ease at which you can secure a durable and lasting surface for your clients. Both stylish and creative, the Parex commitment to quality is astonishing. From its early days in the 1980s as a French façade products company, to where it stands in the building industry today, as operator of 32 manufacturing facilities located in 15 different countries, Parex are the market leader for exterior, interior, decoration, colour, texture and protection which they deliver through a wide range of materials.

As you can see from our list, we offer a broad range of materials and can also often source any other that you might want but don’t see in our online shop. Our next day delivery will ensure that your project mates are not wasting time waiting for materials. We can also advise you on any machinery that you may want to either hire or buy to back you up and provide support – Just give us a call!

Plastering Machine Spares – What You Need to Know

Investing in any machinery is a commitment, and if a component breaks down or the A D,6-3 P1 Rotor and Stator against a white backgroundmachine goes wrong, you don’t want to waste your days with an enforced downtime. That’s why we provide next day delivery or even same day collection on every item.

If your machine breaks down, you might want to call in an electrical professional, but there’s usually no need for that. They will operate as a middle man and for that you will be charged. How about ordering your own parts directly from our shop and installing them yourself?

Get to know your plastering machine

Knowing how your plastering machine works will be helpful in times of stress. If you know what each part does and how it functions, and how it can go wrong, you’ll be in good shape to be able to handle the breakdown yourself. You will also be able to shop for parts yourself, without needing to rely on anybody else.

It’s always less costly to replace a part than to replace the entire machine…and we have most of the parts available for you.

How to order spare parts from us

If you want to call us to find out how much a part is, take a note of the make and the model of your machine. You may even find model number on the machine itself. Although a brand name may be assigned to a machine, it doesn’t always mean that all parts have the same brand name. Some pieces may have been built by other companies. However, every part should be compatible that the actual unit itself.

Try to avoid using second hand plastering machine spare parts. Used parts will no longer have the strength, durability or quality that they once had – and therefore will not be as effective or reliable as using new parts. You don’t want to be back to square one if your used part gives up the ghost not long after you have got your machine working again!

Here are our tips to help you to replace the spare part:

# Tip 1: Do proper research. Understand what has gone wrong on your machine and which part it needs. You’ll also understand more about the functionalities of different parts to help you in the future.

# Tip 2: Make a note of the name and model number of the machine. Once you have this, you can then make a phone call to place the order and look forward to receiving the parts.

# Tip 3: Always purchase your parts from a reputable dealer. You’re more likely to receive the correct parts for the brand that you’re looking for and within a decent timeframe too.

# Tip 4: Only use a parts store that has a return policy. There is a chance that when you receive your spare parts, you may have ordered the wrong piece. By using a shop that does have a returns policy, you will be able to exchange them for the correct item or return them. You should also call us to enquire which part you need, if you are unsure, then we can put the order in for you.

# Tip 5: Be sure to read the terms and conditions before putting in your order.

We stock all spare parts for plastering machines and rendering machines

A plastering machine cleaaning hose against a white backgroundWe also know it’s not always easy or cost effective to find spares for plastering and rendering machines. Therefore, we stock a broad range of machine spares to save you from having to shop around and waste time sourcing.

The brand names of the plastering machines that we provide spare parts for include:

  • M-tec
  • PFT
  • EZE
  • Lancy
  • Euromair
  • Utiform
  • Many others

The types of parts that we provide include:

  • Electrical
  • Filters
  • Flow Tubes, Seals and Water Works
  • Hoses
  • Machine Transport and Safety
  • Miscellaneous
  • Mixing Shafts
  • Spray Guns and Accessories
  • Rotor and Stator

Browse through our plastering machine spares list, if you cannot see the part you’re looking for then give us a call and it’s likely that we either have the item or we can help you out in some way or other.