Category Archives: Plastering How to’s

Advertising – How to get a new plastering business off the ground

If you are lucky enough to have an established plastering business with a good reputation you may never have to advertise for work; word-of-mouth recommendations are an excellent way to get jobs and you already know the customer has heard good things about you, or they wouldn’t be getting in touch.  For people just starting up on their own it can be a lot harder to get work, especially if you don’t have a lot of contacts in the trade who might recommend you or pass work on when they have too much on.

Advertising your business can be quite easy if you know where to start.  Putting a card up in a newsagent window or on a local village notice board might be cheap and easy, but generally speaking, people aren’t looking for a plasterer when they pop out for a loaf of bread.  You might strike it lucky and get a couple of calls, but if your ad is a scrawled handwritten card it won’t create the best impression.  You could be the best plasterer in the world, but the potential customer can only go on their impression of the advert.

Listings websites like yell.com, checkatrade.com and mybuilder.com are a good place to put your business details down.  Yell.com is free to list on, so this should be your first port of call.  Sites like mybuilder.com are aimed towards the homeowner, who is looking for a tradesperson for all sorts of domestic work, so the people searching that site are actually looking for a plasterer for a specific job.  Joining fees vary for these sites, but they do give you access to customers who will help build your reputation online by leaving positive reviews, as long as you do a good job.  Other potential customers use this feedback to narrow down the list of plasterers to contact for a quote, so each time you get a good review it helps get you more work.  Some sites charge per enquiry with no joining fee, others work on a subscription basis but either way, it’s not going to break the bank and it’s a worthwhile investment when you are getting your name out there as a plasterer.

Free website services like wix.com, can give you an online presence and provide a way for customers to get in touch with you, but unless you spend some money on a domain name and advertising to get people to your website it won’t get you any business.  Sure, it’s handy to be able to put a website link on a flyer, but if that’s the only way people can find out you have a website it’s probably worth spending your time on other marketing activities.  Using Facebook to set up a business page is free, with no hidden costs and with Facebook you can use their advertising services to get your name out there.  Adverts can be pretty cheap to run on Facebook and you can specify your target audience, so you don’t pay to advertise to people in other countries!  Your Facebook URL can be listed on flyers and on the listings websites mentioned above, and if you have some decent pictures of your plastering for customers to see, and some testimonials it helps potential customers see you will do a good job.

Flyers are still a reasonable way to get business in, but as more and more people turn to the internet for all their needs this is a best place to advertise.  If you put a little bit of effort into your online marketing soon enough all you’ll do with your flyers is leave them with your happy customers, to get some word-of-mouth recommendations.

Getting a chimney plastered ready for Santa

Plastering a chimney properly is a vital job if you intend to use the fireplace for an open fireyoung mother and her daughter by a fireplace on christmas or log burner; if the fireplace is for decoration only and has been blocked off properly to prevent it being used, and then normal plastering products can be used as the chimney and fireplace won’t be exposed to excess heat.  There’s no better time of year to get this job done, especially as the deadline for the job is December 24th; try explaining to children that Santa won’t be able to deliver any presents because the chimney is being worked on.  If you get the job finished in good time, he’ll definitely appreciate a smooth finish and a nice looking hearth to sit by as he sips a sherry.

Lining a chimney should be done by professionals only, as it is a skilled job and one which can lead to disaster, if done badly.  Gypsum plasters are not ideal for this job, nor are gypsum based plasterboards.  Although there are fire resistant plasterboards on the market, they are not designed for use in fireplaces. The fire resistant element makes them great in public buildings, where slowing down the spread of fire is critical but they won’t offer much protection against a chimney fire.

Sand cement and lime plasters are a much better option for a fireplace, as the sand cement can withstand high temperatures without cracking.  Gypsum is prone to cracking and falling off when exposed to temperatures over 50° in a tight space, such as a fireplace, so be careful when considering heat resistant plasters as an alternative.  Always check out the composition of the plaster and ask around for opinions and experiences on how well these products work.  Every fireplace is different; some large hearths may host a small, infrequently used log burner, and therefore cope with a fire resistant plaster, while other fireplaces are used regularly for open fires as a main source of heating.  The frequency of use, as well as the size of the hearth, can make a big difference in the choice of plastering materials that can be used in the immediate area.

Plastering a chimney breast is also subject to the same decisions; if the fireplace is used as a primary source of heating and is frequently used, then the interior surface of the chimney should be treated to ensure smoke does not penetrate into the walls of the chimney and seep through the brickwork, causing stains on the paint or plaster on the visible side.  Additionally, the external wall of the chimney should be treated with heat resistant plaster with a radius of around 300 – 400mm.  This protects the surface immediately surrounding the fireplace from the heat, but standard plaster can be used on the remainder of the chimney breast, as the heat will dissipate before it reaches the areas outside the 400mm radius.

One piece of advice that is well worth heeding is that whatever the plaster material used, it must be fully dried out before the fireplace is used.  If it is not fully dried naturally, the heat from the fire will cause the plaster to crack and flake off, and this can also occur in houses with damp problems around the fireplace.

This does not have to be a time consuming job, especially if it is done right the first time as it can then be left alone for many years.  Starting now means you will get it finished before Christmas, and the kids will be very glad that Santa can get in and deliver their presents, while enjoying a mince pie by your lovely looking fireplace.

DIY Doctor: What is the Difference between Plastering and Rendering?

We quite often receive questions from our customers – those in the trade and those who A set of assorted plaster trowel tools and spatula .aren’t. The second group of people also include those who want to know more about plastering, usually so they don’t feel silly when talking to the plasterer who is coming round to do some work at their property! Today we’re looking at one of the questions we recently received from a such a customer – What is the difference between plastering and rendering? We are going to try and thrash this out with this article. Hopefully, by the time you finish reading you should be able to point out the difference between the two.

According to the Cambridge University the term “plaster” refers to a substance that becomes hard as it dries and it’s used primarily for spreading on walls and ceiling to give a smooth surface. On the other hand, the term rendering means a layer of plaster or cement on the wall – (Again Cambridge University). From both definitions, it’s clear that these two words mean different things but are interconnected with one another.

What are some of their properties?

Both plastering and rendering can be considered mortar coatings that rest on top of a blockwork – precisely the outer coating on the outside surface are called renders, while the inner coatings on the inside surface are called plasters.

The consistency of the mortar is the primary differentiating factor between plasters and renders. Rendering involves the use of more cement because it has to be weather resistant, unlike plaster which contains less cement. Plaster is mostly used on the inside of buildings and therefore does not need to be weather resistant.

Rendering is ideal for buildings made of mud blocks since such buildings can quickly deteriorate if the mud blocks become excessively exposed to water or moisture for long periods.

It is paramount to cover the entire building with render so as to ensure the house doesn’t collapse if exposed to water or moisture. Areas of the building likely to be subjected to even worst weather conditions should be provided extra care and attention when rendering.

A woman holds up brown patterned wallpaper against a white wallPlaster is mostly used to beautify the interior of buildings by providing a smooth and clean finish. It offers a decorative function in the inner walls of buildings by providing a flat surface where charts and paintings can be placed on the wall. Plastering also makes it possible for homeowners to customise their homes with wallpapers if they so, please. Plaster is easy to clean and has water repellent properties – you don’t need to worry about kids writing on the walls as this can be easily cleaned.

In old fashioned buildings, plaster provided a fire resistant function especially for buildings constructed from mud and clay. Plaster was used to make the walls fire resistant.

Both plaster and render consists of cement, sand, water and sometimes lime. Contractors nowadays tend use coarse sand when in rendering – some may argue that this type of sand may make the mortar more challenging to work with, but that is left for the individual to decide. On the other hand, plasters usually contain fine sand which provides a smooth and clean finish inside the building.

 

Plastering Patterns

When it comes to plastering there are a number of patterns and textures that you can Stippled ceiling texture backgroundapply to the walls with simple plastering techniques. We find that most clients tend to just want your basic run-of-the-mill plastering, but occasionally there are requests for something a little fancier. If you are looking for tips on how to create sleek and stylish designs for walls, then read on. With names of techniques and the equipment required listed, you’ll be creating elegant designs in no time at all.

Broken Leather

This is a fantastic finish that works excellently for both ceilings and walls. Cover a stipple pad with a smooth plastic bag, then you can apply the texture material to the surface. Push the stipple pad into the material and bounce it gently, twisting it carefully from left to right. Ensure the pattern stays varied and randomised for the full effect.

Broken Swirl

The broken swirl gives a gorgeous wave effect to walls and ceilings. The technique is exactly the same as the broken leather pattern. The only difference is that you do not use a plastic bag over the stipple pad.

Stipple

This pattern is mainly used on ceilings, and it is rare for it to be applied to walls. You apply the material to the surface that needs to be textured before using the stipple pad to press into the material before easing it off gently. As you repeat this, move across by half a pad at a time.

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This is another technique that is predominately used for ceilings. After applying the material use the stipple pad and move it in a figure of eight pattern. You should attempt to create a random pattern by stopping at different angles and then starting again. You can go diagonally to left or right, any variation really. It’s a free-flowing pattern.

Swirl

This technique is ideal for ceilings. Use the stipple pad and twist it in a circular motion while releasing it from the material. Try to create a varied pattern by overlapping the swirls and having them intertwine.

Bark

This is a finish that is primarily used for walls. You can purchase a specific roller that causes the bark pattern to appear on the surface. By running the roller over the wall once you have applied the material, you can create this woody effect.

Medusa

This technique is good for smaller areas, like bathrooms or small rooms. Once you have applied the material, use your fingers in a circular motion to create curved patterns on the surface. For the best results, keep it random.

Ancient stucco ceiling texture, background. vintage patternOlder Plaster

This is superb for using on walls but also between beams. For this technique you will need a four-inch brush (for the best results) to brush over the material in a varied and sporadic manner while mixing long and short strokes. This will create a smooth, yet decorative effect.

Knifed Plaster

This technique is also ideal for walls and between beams. The method is the same as the one used for older plaster, the only difference is that you use a knife instead. It creates an angular effect and appearance as you overlap and change the angles.

Have you had any requests for any of these? Let us know in the comments.

Plastering Business Growth: The Value of Referrals and How to Get Them

Every business in the plastering industry has the same challenge that many other small

Business acronym womm as word of mouth marketing. yellow paint line on the road against asphalt background. conceptual image

businesses and tradespeople have. A customer may use you only once a year, or perhaps every few years. It’s for this reason that it’s critical to generate new leads to keep your business alive.

Small business owners know that referrals are one of the very best ways to get new customers. In fact, many business owners prefer this method and are more successful with it over more traditional methods such as networking, leaflet dropping and other advertising techniques.

Plastering businesses that can gain between 30% and 50% of their business through referrals can make their business self-sustaining. This frees you up from marketing activities to work on how you can add value and the increase of your offerings.

Here are four reasons why you should encourage referrals for your plastering business:

  1. You’re being promoted by a business that has had a first-hand experience of working with you. for example, if you have a friend who recommends a business to you, you know that they are only doing so with your best interests at heart. We are all more likely to listen to our friends rather than the sales patter of a salesperson.
  2. Customers who give referrals actually become more loyal to your business. Once a person stands up to make a public statement about ‘something’ they become far more committed to that ‘something’. If you can capture your customers recommending your business on video or in text, they will become more loyal to you.
  3. Referrals offer a practically free approach to finding new customers.
  4. Most referred customers are ready to buy from you. You won’t need to convince them.

So now you know why you should be getting referrals, how do you do go about actually getting them?

Although many plastering companies see success from word of mouth referrals to friends, it’s actually far more effective to have a system in place. It produces more consistently and predictably.

How do you get referrals in practice? That’s easy to answer – ask for them. Of course, not everybody feels comfortable with that. After all, it doesn’t necessarily feel very British to ask. You may feel you’re putting them out and rubbing them up the wrong way to ask. Your natural resistance may prevent you from trying it. But give it a chance, it’s not as bad as you may be thinking.

Really, it’s simple and simple approaches work best.

Vector modern creative and clean business card template. Flat designUse your business card to ask. When you’ve done a brilliant job, give your customer several of your business cards and ask that they pass them onto friends who may need a plasterer. Ensure you have a referral system printed onto your card. Ask ‘How did you hear about us?’ and they can let you know who gave them the card. When you give out your cards, enter the name of the person you’re giving them to on the back in case they forget to do it. Be sure to thank whoever referred you, or even reward them. This needs to happen every time new business comes from that person. The more you appreciate this behaviour, the more they’ll do it by either passing on your cards or by telling their friends.

Another effective approach to getting more referrals is to give them. Using the ‘law of reciprocity’ means that when you give something to someone, they will feel obliged to give back. This is a strategy that works extremely well when it comes to referrals.

Referrals are an effective technique to employ to grow any plastering business. Give them a go and you’ll be unlikely to regret it.

How to Go About Getting Your Pool Plastered

So you want the pool to be plastered? For this task, it’s important that you hire a company A swimming pool with 2 sun loungers beside it on a sunny daywho is going to take responsibility for ensuring that the job is done well. The plaster should not have any cracks and should be smoothed over.

When looking for somebody suitable, don’t rush into it. Do your homework. Not only do you need somebody who you can depend on to get the job finished, but somebody who is not going to over-charge you when they have finished the job.

Where can you find such a company?

First look for a plastering company locally – you could ask friends or neighbours if they know of anyone? You don’t want to have to pay extra for somebody to travel to your place every day. Or even for somebody to have to stay in lodgings as this could cost you more on the bill. Also, being able to visit their office personally would be beneficial in case there is something to discuss or iron out.

If you don’t know anybody with a pool who you can ask, then try the manager of a local gym that has a pool. They may have gone through this same process and may be able to point you in the right direction.

In addition, there are a number of tradesman rating sites online. They collect endorsements and ratings after evaluating a business, people quite often have something to say whether it’s good or bad.

Customer reviews

Talking to people who live in your area will give you an idea of who you might be able to use. Ask for feedback on the businesses mentioned and about their service.

It’s quite simple to get some no obligation price quotes from companies. You need to know what you’ll be expected to pay when you get the pool plastered. Let us know how you get on.