Plasterers Career

Plastering is an old craft in building trades. It remains popular due to the relatively low cost and durability of the materials. The work of plasterers is to apply plaster to ceilings and interior walls to form fire resistant and soundproof surfaces. Plasterers apply plaster veneer over the wall to make textured and smooth abrasion-resistant finishes.

Nature of Work
Plasterers install prefabricated insulation systems over the existing wall. They apply plaster to create attractive architectural effects and ornamental designs in plaster. Stucco masons or plasterers apply durable plaster such as stucco and polymer-based acrylic finishes to exterior surfaces.

Plasterers can plaster solid surfaces such as supportive wire mesh and concrete block. When plasterers need to work with solid interior surfaces such as concrete and concrete block, they have to apply a brown coat of gypsum plaster, which provides a base. Subsequently, they apply finish coat, which is called �white coat' made of a lime-based plaster.

Plasterers apply �scratch coat' when they create metal-mesh lath foundation. They spread this plaster mixture over and into the metal lath. Before the plaster sets, plasterers scratch its surface using different tools to create ridges. Every plaster coating requires different techniques to be applied. Plasterers use trowel or spray to apply brown coat. For the white coat and finish, plasterers normally prepare plaster of Paris, a mixture of lime, and water.

Plasterers quickly apply this using a �hawk', which is metal plate with handle, light, brush, water, and trowel. This mixture sets quickly and creates durable and smooth finish. Plasterers have to work with a plaster material, which may be finished in a single coat. This gypsum veneer plaster and thin-coat is made of plaster of Paris and lime. It is mixed with water at the worksite.

This plaster provides special gypsum baseboard, durable, smooth, and abrasion-resistant finish to the surfaces. Plasterers create innovative interior surfaces as well. They decorate the surfaces using brush or trowel firmly against a wet plaster. These workers employ a circular hand motion to produce decorative swirls. Sometimes, plasterers do more complex ornamental and decorative work, which requires some skills and creativity. For instance, they mold ceiling design and intricate wall such as chair rails and cornice pieces.

Plasterers follow architect's blueprint and use spray to create innovative and attractive design. After performing their tasks, plasterers have to remove the molded plaster and put it to the organized place. The work of stucco masons is to apply stucco to the surfaces. Stucco is a mixture of lime, Portland cement, concrete, sand, wire lath, and masonry.

Stucco can be applied to a wire lath using a scratch coat. Consequently, brown coat need to be applied and then finish coat. Stucco masons may entrench gravel or marble chips into the finish coat to create decorative and pebble-like finish. Stucco mesons and plasterers apply insulation to the exterior surfaces of both old and new buildings. They coat the exterior wall using enhancing mesh, rigid foam insulation board, polymer-modified base coat, and trowel on a polymer-based. At times, these workers may apply a supplementary coat of this material along with ornamental finishing. Stucco workers and plasterers have to carry out following responsibilities.


  • Apply coats of stucco or plaster to ceilings, walls, and partitions of buildings using brushes, trowels, and spray guns
  • Apply weatherproof and ornamental coverings to outer surfaces of buildings such as spraying or troweling on coats of stucco
  • Prepare and clean surfaces for applications of cement, plaster, stucco, and other similar materials
  • Install guide wires on outer surfaces of buildings to specify thickness of stucco, plaster, lath, nail wire mesh, and other similar materials to the exterior surfaces to hold stucco in place
  • Mix plaster and mortar to specified consistency and guide workers who perform mixing
  • Install and mold decorative panels, plaster pieces, and trim
  • Rough the interior surfaces using scratcher so the finish coat shall adhere
  • Spray texture finish and acoustic materials over ceilings and walls
  • Apply insulation to building exteriors by using prefabricated insulation systems over existing walls or by covering the exterior walls with base coat, reinforcing mesh, and insulation board
  • Create ornamental textures in finish coat using trowels, brushes, pebbles, sand, and stones

    Work Environment
    Generally, plasterers work indoors excluding few who apply ornamental exterior finishes. Stucco masons, nonetheless, work outside when applying wall insulation or stucco to exteriors. Sometimes, stucco masons and plasterers may work on scaffolds high above the ground.

    Stucco and plastering work is physically demanding. It requires considerable bending, standing, reaching overhead, lifting. The work, sometimes, may cause upper back cramps and neck. At times, the work may be dirty and dusty. It may irritate the eyes, skin, and lungs unless protective gloves and masks are used.

    Educational Qualification
    Candidates require at least three to four years training to become skilled stucco mesons or plasterers. They may join an apprenticeship program. Candidates who completed high school with classes in mechanical drawing, mathematics, and shop are preferred.

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