Monthly Archives: August 2016

Plastering Apprentices Report on Plastering Courses

We often have plastering apprentices buying our tools. They know that they can expect toYoung apprentice with professional plasterer receive good quality appliances at great prices from our online shop. We have to agree!

As plastering apprentices learn the trade on the job, they also take plastering courses to give them the knowledge that they need to produce tip top results. Being qualified and certified for their knowledge also means that they increase their credibility for future jobs and contracts. Having commitment always adds something extra to the CV and since 2014, it’s essential to have an NVQ in plastering to be able to perform the job at a professional level.

We took our courses when they were City & Guilds, so were curious about this certificate. We asked our apprentices about what’s involved in taking plastering courses at the NVQ foundation level and this is what they said:

  1. Preparation

As with any trade, it’s important to prep your environment before you get started. In this trade it means removing any trace of the previous plaster, mixing up the render and plaster, and getting the area cleaned up ready for application. Without knowing how to prepare your walls for the application of plaster, then you don’t really know what you’re doing.

  1. The Tools of the Trade

We recently listed out all the tools that are required by a beginner in the plastering trade. Although some say that it’s more of an art than a skill, to do plastering you need the right equipment. You need dependable tools to help you apply plaster, in addition to helping you to handle the complexities of internal and external corners and windows.

  1. Plaster and Render

The main purpose of a plastering course is how to apply plaster. Part of the curriculum covers how to render a wall prior to plastering it for a fine finish. There is theoretical and practical education on how to do this for success. As part of the rendering education, the student will learn how to repair damaged walls, which is an entirely different skill set.

  1. Finishing

No customer wants to pay out for a bad job. With plastering being such a messy job, it’s important to be able to apply plaster in a tidy manner. Ensuring that the finish on a wall is smooth and well skimmed is a skill that can take a long time to master.

Most plastering courses are around 6 weeks in duration and are the building blocks to establishing a career in the plasterwork industry.

How to Handle a DIY Plastering Disaster Professionally

There are many jobs around the house that can be done by a DIY enthusiast. Someone Woman looking through a hole in a wallwith a certain amount of skill who takes the time to learn the basics can put up a shelf, lay some tiles, even strip down a door or two. As most professionals will tell you, one of the most attempted DIY jobs which invariably comes to a sticky end is plastering. It’s one of those skills that looks pretty easy when you watch it on a YouTube video. But actually it isn’t.

Most qualified, professional plasterers know that it takes a good couple of years to become really skilled at the job. It’s not just the art of creating a smooth surface on a wall or ceiling. There are different types of plastering such as skimming and rendering which all need the care and experience that comes from proper training. Then there are those difficult to plaster places like corners and breaks in the wall. The many mistakes that DIY’ers make include not preparing the surface properly, mixing the plaster badly, not taking enough time or simply taking too much time.

If you’ve ever walked into DIY plastering disaster and have been asked to set it right, here are a couple of tips for making the client feel a little better about themselves.

The Main Mistake People Make When DIY Plastering

You’ll probably get a bunch of excuses for the bad job you’re about to view. The common one is that it was someone else’s fault and you shouldn’t do anything to debate that even if you know differently. It’s not going to get the problem resolved any quicker. Some of the mistakes your DIY amateur is probably going to be guilty of are:

  • Not mixing the plaster properly so that it’s too lumpy.
  • Using the wrong tools to do the job.
  • Plastering onto a wall that is too porous.
  • Not preparing the wall beforehand including using a PVA solution for low suction backgrounds or covering cracks and minor defects.
  • Not finishing the plaster properly.
  • Not allowing the plaster to dry properly.
  • Difficulty with corners and other troublesome spots.

Don’t be Too Critical

It’s easy to walk into the room and begin pointing out all the mistakes that have been made. Your average DIY plasterer will obviously feel a little embarrassed now that they’ve Adult manual worker speaking into megaphone over white backgroundgot an expert on site and have been found to be lacking in quite a few respects. Avoid being hyper critical even if it’s the most abysmal plastering job you have ever seen. Always maintain a friendly demeanour and, if you can, pick out some good points and let them know.

Be Professional

Repairing a botched plastering job can be hard work but always try to be professional at all times. Of course, it’s not always DIY enthusiasts who are the cause of plastering disasters. There are plenty of people in the trade who don’t have the skill to do the job. Your client may well have called in a local handyman or someone who fancied themselves as a competent plasterer but wasn’t up to the job. Most professionals who have spent a good deal of their life learning the trade find this even more exasperating than a home amateur who wanted to save a little money. While you might be cursing under your breath about someone damaging the reputation of your trade, making a good job of the repair is the best thing you can do.

Maintaining a professional approach at all times ensures that you keep a good relationship with your customer whether you are repairing a bad plastering job or not.

The Lancy PH9S Rendering Machine Will Up Your Plastering Game

Known for being user-friendly, the Lancy PH9S is a rendering machine that will do much A rendering machine for plaster aginst a white backgroundfor your business in addition to causing confusion and upset to your local plastering competition! Anybody who has been established in the plastering industry for some time has heard about this machine and once your competition know you have one, they will be suffering from the effects of you becoming more efficient.

There are many great points about this rendering machine. Here are a couple of what we love most about it. The first one is that it is incredibly low noise (less than 85 decibels) and has a very effective optional dust extraction system (gets rid of 95% of dust). In addition, this machine is ready to earn its upkeep at the drop of a hat!

We’ve been supplying these French-made beauties for some time now and we only hear good reports on them. Depending what you put in this rendering machine, and which pump you’re using with it – you could see as much as 60 to 100 litres per minute pumped from it.

As components are added for your mix, the new designer crafted dust hood will protect the pourer against being covered with dust. In fact, this relatively new optional addition promises to stop 95% of dust and we’ve got no reason to dispute it.

Let’s explore why we feel that the Lancy PH9S makes it easy to do your work. Take the next point as evidence. If you’re needing to make a quick change of mix on the job, then you can make best use of the twin trap doors on the fixed mixing tank for a quick clean out.

The machine is built to deliver single-layer coatings and it will mix up your ‘ingredients’ in no time at all so that you get on with the job at hand, whether that’s spraying, pointing or injecting.

Summary

Putting together all the reports that we’ve heard from our own customers, and from others who are using this machine, we feel it would make a marvellous addition to any plasterer’s arsenal of powered plastering tools. It’s got a modern control panel that is not only waterproof but centralised for easy access.

Overall, this machine makes it easy to perform on your job, because it delivers a great performance. It takes the effort away and makes you look good by optimising your plastering output. We can only recommend it.

If you’re interested in finding out more drop us an email or call us for a no obligation chat.

 

Explaining Humidity and Plaster Drying to Homeowners

Our summer so far has been quite humid despite the lack of very sunny days, and the

A large dehumidifier against a cream wall

effect this humidity has on plaster drying means that it can take a little longer for surfaces to dry.  It can be tempting to use a dehumidifier in a newly plastered room to help speed up the drying process, and homeowners will often go down this route as they think it will get their room back to normal more quickly.  Using a dehumidifier, however, will not lead to a good lasting finish.  Plaster will dry and cure at the rate it should unless the humidity really is at levels far above what is normal, so encouraging faster drying with a dehumidifier usually leads to more surface cracking than you might expect.

Although being hired for a re-skim on walls that have cracked a little means more work for you, it may involve trying to educate the customer as to why the plaster cracked in the first place, and that it was not down to poor application the first time round.  It is far better to explain to the customer why using a dehumidifier is not a good option for trying to dry out a newly plastered room when it is muggy, and make them aware of the potential problems involved in pushing plaster to dry too quickly.  This shows you are professional, and also aware of the homeowners’ desire to get their room decorated and back to normal as fast as possible.  What they do with the information you give them is up to the customer themselves, but at the very least if you do get called back in to fix cracks caused by ignoring the advice not to use a dehumidifier, you have done everything possible to avoid the problem and you should be free of blame too.

How to Hire a Plasterer

If you’ve got a few plastering jobs that need to get done, then read on. We’re going to look A copy of the yellow pages with a phone handset on topat where you can find a plasterer and what you need to know to hire them.

Finding a reliable and skilful plasterer is challenging. This is particularly true in the London area.

Although you may see names advertised in the Yellow Pages, you still won’t know how reliable any of these people are until you deal with them. They could be expensive and they could also be very unprofessional.

We always recommend asking people you know and trust who live in the local area, who they use. Neighbours can be a great source of valuable information.

You should also be looking for other points, such as whether your chosen plastered has insurance, in case he makes some damage in error and it needs to be fixed.

Another point that you need to discover is whether they have a permanent office, this includes a full address with a telephone number. You never know – you don’t want them disappearing on you once the job has been completed.

When it comes to qualifications, look for a plasterer who has the following:

  • NVQ in Plastering – 1, 2 or 3 level or a level 3 SVQ in plastering.
  • For an older plasterer, you’d expect them to have a C&G (City and Guild) certificate in plastering and have worked on a 3, 5 or 8-year apprenticeship.

When it comes to cost, know that there isn’t a standard hourly rate. Usually you will have to pay an hourly rate for labour with materials on top. You might be charged a job fee by a plasterer, and this may be better value. Know that when there is a daily rate there is not an incentive for them to complete the job fast, should your plasterer be a little unscrupulous. Always ask for a breakdown of all costs, so that you can check numbers for yourself.

Hiring a plasterer might not be the easiest thing to do, but now you have these tips and guidance, you should be in a better position. Be sure to check online review sites too, to give you extra peace of mind.

Getting the Best out of an Apprentice Plasterer

We all have some stories about apprentices, some from your own early days and some A teacher helping a plastering apprentice.from the more recent past working with young lads straight from school.  More often than not, the trainee plasterer will want to get straight on with the spreading and bypass the grunt work, expecting to become as skilled as their boss within a week.  Whether that is a new attitude or an old one is debatable, but it certainly seems like any form of work ethic is slowly disappearing and not many people are interested in taking the time to properly learn the skills they need, instead assuming that it is easy and requires no input or effort to learn, or even to turn up on time.

It is possible to turn a lazy apprentice into a good one, but if there is no interest in the plastering trade then it is nigh on impossible to plant the seed and nurture the shoot, so don’t waste time trying to convince someone to put the effort in if they have no desire to do the job.  If you think there’s a spark of interest, take time during breaks to chat to the apprentice and find out what makes them tick.  Once you understand their motivation it is much easier to encourage them and reward them for a job well done.  It is also worth telling them how you started out as a plasterer; sometimes knowing that the people teaching you also went through the same hard slog to begin with makes the grunt work less boring, and gives the apprentice a clear idea of how long it takes to get skilled up.  It also worth mentioning at this point the importance of an early night and a clear head in the morning for full concentration.

Understanding the importance of the prep work is vital if you want the apprentice to get his work done in time, so don’t ask them to do anything without explaining why it needs doing.  If they start to question you, try and stay patient and give them an answer, but don’t lose authority; some young people seem to have the attitude that they know it all better than you, and this approach will get them nowhere.  Keeping that authority is crucial if you want to be able to teach the apprentice, or at the very least have them listen when you tell them to get off their phones and do some work!  It might be a step too far to confiscate phones on site, but if they’re glued to that screen the second they have finished whatever task they were on, they’ll never actually witness a whole job done from start to finish.  Putting a rule in place that phones can only be used during breaks is a good idea, as long as you can stick to it as well; leading by example is a good way to encourage an apprentice to act in the same way in order to fit in.

Young apprentice with professional plasterer.If your apprentice shows a real interest in plastering, let them have a go with the trowels as soon as you can.  Letting them get involved makes them feel useful, and like they are actually learning something.  Sometimes putting responsibility onto an apprentice pays off, as they get more and more into the trade and are less likely to quit than if they are never allowed to do any plastering.  If the apprentice has a real knack for it then you’ll get them skilled up in no time.  By the time they are starting to plaster it might be time to make them a cup of tea instead of the other way round; it is a simple gesture but one that shows they are appreciated for more than their tea making skills (it is not OK to sack an apprentice just because of poor tea making skills, however tempting it might be!).

Of course, a poor attitude and persistent lateness or hangovers should not be tolerated as it sends the wrong message; once they’ve turned up late once without any consequences they’ll do it again and again.  Set your expectations out from the start and stick to your guns; if you threaten to sack them for one more late start you have to go through with it.  Likewise, if they fail to meet the timescales for a job or do it badly all the time you need to be clear that it’s not acceptable, and even lay them off for a day or two until they can be bothered to do it properly.  By being strict about standards you can weed out the poor ones and not waste any more time trying to teach someone who doesn’t want to learn, and instead get a new apprentice who might be more use.

Once your apprentice plasterer has realised that putting in the effort will pay off in the end, keep on motivating and rewarding them for good work.  Setting a financial goal is a good way of increasing the effort and productivity of your apprentice; once they are working at a level where they are actually helping you, offer to pay them more money than the apprentice wage.  This will make them feel like they are really progressing towards having a trade and being able to work enough to support themselves, and keep them on the right path.  Before long the apprenticeship will be over, and you can decide to keep them on, or help them set up on their own.  Of course, this is entirely up to you and there is no obligation to employ them once qualified, but if they’re really good it’s worth keeping them close rather than letting them go to the competition.  The next step is taking on your next apprentice and starting all over again!