How to Plaster a Ceiling – A Beginner’s Guide

Posted by HannahK 18/11/2019 0 Comment(s)

How to Plaster a Ceiling


Back in 2015, we published our complete guide to plastering a ceiling to help newbies with this far from easy task. However, with more and more DIYers asking us for advice and the industry constantly evolving with new innovative tools, we thought we’d revisit this topic once again to help you plaster your ceiling like a pro. 

Plastering of any kind is by no means easy and requires, practice, patience and the right plastering tools for the job. Knowing how to plaster a ceiling is also a whole different ball game and it’s important you feel confident before climbing a ladder with a trowel in your hand – but that doesn’t mean you’re not capable of giving it a go with a few tips from our expert team….


Tools for Plastering a Ceiling

You wouldn’t cook without the right utensils – plastering is no different. To successfully plaster a ceiling you will need the following:

We recommend the NELA PlasticFlex plastering trowel for beginners. Plastic is a much easier tool material to start with due to it’s flexibility. It’s also much lighter than steel – ideal when it’s come to an awkward job like plastering the ceiling.

With the other tools it really comes down to how often you’ll be using them. If you plan on plastering often then it’s worth investing in the highest quality tools your budget can stretch to – that way you know your plastering tools will stand the test of time. However, as we only stock top brand products, your safe with us that whichever tool you go for, it will get the job done effectively. 


The Method – Plastering Your Ceiling

Step 1: Mix Your Plaster


Firstly, you’ll need to ensure your plaster is correctly mixed and this is where a plaster mixer comes in handy, gives you peace of mind your mixture is spot on and saves manual labour. Plaster mixers are also useful for mixing adhesive, paints and other heavy materials, so are well worth the investment.


Step 2: Apply Plaster to Your Hawk then Trowel

You’re ready to start plastering and can now place the plaster onto your hawk.

Next, you will need to take your plastering trowel and apply a small scoop of plaster – be sure not to take too much (smaller amounts are much easier to work with).


Step 3: Put Your Plaster to Work

Begin plastering only a few inches from the ceilings edge and in one smooth and quick swoop, apply the plaster over the ceiling. Have confidence in your method of applying the plaster as this will show in your results.

Our top tip with applying plaster to a ceiling is to ensure the thickness of the plaster is always level – you don’t want it to look uneven in any way. A big no no with plastering is to make sure the plaster doesn’t spill over the edges of the trowel – you’re creating more work and also using more plastering materials unnecessarily.

When you first start plastering your ceiling, try to angle the trowel’s edge away from the surface. As you swoop the trowel it will hold less plaster and as this happens simply adjust the angle of the trowel.

The angle between the ceiling and your trowel will get smaller and will eventually be flat against the ceiling by the time you have run out of plaster.


Step 4: Flatten and Gap Fill

Once you’ve used all the plaster on your initial swoop, use pressure to flatten the recently plastered area. You can also use any excess plaster to fill in the gap between the ceiling and wall.

This is where starting a few inches away comes in handy – any clumps caught in the corners will leave a far from appealing finish.

Fill in your edge before reapplying plaster to your trowel for the next application and make sure each swoop slightly overlaps the previous one.


Step 5: Remove Any Trowel Marks

You may find that you get a few trowel marks when plastering your ceiling and this is not something to worry about. When you start to see your plaster set, this is the time to concentrate on trowel marks. To remove trowel marks - use a plastering float and move it across the surface of the ceiling. This will move thicker areas of plaster into the thinner areas which in turn will give you a nice smooth finish.


Step 5: Once Dry, Apply a ‘Mist Coat’ for the Finishing Touch

Before plaster is ready to be painted, you’ll need to apply a ‘mist coat’ which is simply watered-down emulsion (careful of drips as watered down paint can be tricky to work with). Your plaster will then absorb the water and be more sealed helping it adhere to a proper coat of paint.


We hope this handy guide is useful when it comes to knowing how to plaster a ceiling. If you have any questions or are unsure which tools and materials best suit your needs, contact us today or pop into our Cheltenham superstore.