Need to complete a plastering DIY job but have absolutely no idea where to start? Considering a career change to plastering but lack the expertise to make it happen? Fear not, Access Training is on hand to help prepare you for whatever it is that lies ahead. Like with all trades, the first step is to take a look at exactly what it is and understand some of the terms and definitions you'll come across. To assist with this, we've put together a brief list of some of the common plastering definitions to get you started;

Accelerator: A material that shortens the setting time of plasters and other cement-like materials.

Admixture: Any substance added to a plaster component or plaster mortar for the purpose of modifying its properties.

Aggregate: Granular material that does not contribute to the hardening reaction of the mortar.

Bonding Mortar: A mortar to produce a first bonding coat in a multicoat system. Usually applied in a thin coat.

Correction Time: The maximum time interval during which adjustment is possible without significant loss of final strength. This may be also referred to as adjustability.

Dot and Dab: A technique used to attach plasterboard to walls using small lumps of adhesive.

Float: A tool or procedure used to straighten and level the finish coat, to correct surface irregularities prodDouced by other tools, or to bestow a distinctive surface texture.

Grout:  A mortar or paste for filling crevices, esp. the gaps between wall or floor tiles

Hawk: A tool used by plasterers to hold and carry plaster.

Mortar: A plastic mixture composed of water and a cementitious material, which may be machine or hand applied, and which hardens in place.

Screed: To level or straighten a plaster coat application with a rod, darby or other similar tool

Setting Time: The time after which the mortar begins to harden. After this time the mortar is normally stable in the presence of water.

Substrate: Immediate surface to which the mortar is to be applied. In the case of a coating to be applied to an existing render, the render would be the coating's substrate.

Unsound: This refers to the condition of plaster where the hardened mass has lost internal strength, exhibiting cracking/spalling/delamination/etc. This general state may be contributed to by excessive aggregate addition, water damage, poor drying conditions, overwatering and other factors.

Now that you know some of the definitions you may come across when plastering, its time to have a go at the real thing. However attempting a job without proper training could not only prove expensive, but you might end up doing lasting damage to the wall or surface you're working on. To get the most rounded plastering experience the best option is a comprehensive plastering course from Access Training. With a variety of different courses for different skill levels, our experienced teaching staff will either fully prepare you for future DIY work or help you attain the vital qualifications needed to gain employment as a professional plasterer. With our courses open to people of all ages and backgrounds, you could just be a phonecall away from gaining a valuable new skill that will stay with you for the rest of your life. To find out more please take a look at our courses page or call us on 0800 345 7492.

Following on from part 1 we will now look at what training courses are available to you, as well as factors such as their cost and duration.

At Access Training we deliver many construction courses, including;

 

Each course can vary from a one week taster course to a total of eight weeks, depending on the outcome you wish to achieve. The one week taster course will give you a good insight to your chosen trade, basic use of tools and basic techniques. Then there are two and three week courses which obviously involve a more in depth look at the particular trade. Each of these courses can give you a recognised qualification from City & Guilds.

The eight week course will give you a CAA Level 2 (Construction Awards Alliance) and potentially a NVQ diploma, both of which are again highly regarded and recognised C&G qualifications. The cost of each course varies, so I suggest you contact Access Training Wales and speak to one of the course advisors.

OK you’ve finished the course you’ve gained your qualification, what next? The truth is finding work is not as difficult as you may think. Most trainees after leaving Access Training start by doing small jobs for friends, family and neighbours.  This will build your confidence and give you some indication of how long a job will take. Best of all you will be under no pressure from family to complete by a certain deadline.

Then there are construction “agencies” that employ people to work on various jobs. They’ll find you the work, but be prepared to work maybe one week here, two weeks there and so on. This is a great way of gaining experience quickly and you will be on a fixed hourly rate, usually around £12 per hour.

So now that you’ve gained both experience and confidence, it’s time to go on your own. This is where you can earn a lot more money – it’s not uncommon for a good tradesperson to earn between £600-800 per week. Keep your options open, if you completed a bricklaying course don’t think that you can only lay bricks. Bricklayers can usually lay patios, decorative work indoors, build archways and more. If you completed a plastering course, plasterers can usually fix coving up, lay screed floors etc. One very lucrative area from a plastering point of view is “Venitian” or “Polished” plastering. There is a niche in the market for this type of work, if you have good trowel skills you can learn this method relatively quickly, and the price for doing this work is roughly £60 per square meter. So the choice is yours – there is work about for good tradespeople, so if you feel you need a career change then go for it!

If you need more information contact Access Training Wales on 08003457492.

- Richard James

 

Choosing to make a complete career change is difficult at any time of life. There are many factors to take into consideration – what opportunities are there? What training courses will I need to attend? How available is the work and how long will it last?

Take for instance many construction trades (bricklayer, carpenter, plasterer, tiler etc.). At this given time work is pretty slack in the construction industry, but I firmly believe that it won’t last much longer. So now is a good time to begin training for new skills. As soon as the construction industry opens its doors again, there will be a definite skills shortage. Having decided to take the challenge and change career what can you expect to be doing on a daily basis?

Take the plastering trade as an example, which provides plenty of opportunity to work both inside or outside. The weather in this country is not the best, so having the chance to work indoors is an added bonus; you will be working most days and won’t be losing money. Plastering covers more than just “plastering” a wall, it could be screeding a floor, plaster boarding a ceiling, dot & dab on walls, dry lining a wall, the list goes on. This is all internal work, whereas dashing, fine down, K render are all external.

Are there any transferable skills you could use, depending on your background? Plastering involves calculating quantities for mixes etc. so numeracy skills would be an advantage. A lot of questions are asked in the workplace so good communication skills would help, the ability to work unsupervised is a great asset to have, as a lot of the time you are given work and be expected to carry it out unsupervised to a high standard.

So having trained for your new career, what qualifications do you need for the construction industry? An NVQ in a relevant trade is essential; this will allow you to apply for a CSCS card – a must have to work on building sites.

Tomorrow in part 2 I will discuss what training courses are available to you, as well as their cost, duration and what you can expect to learn. Also included will be what prospects are open to you and potential wages upon completion.

- Richard James

Tiles

While the best way to gain enviable plastering and/or tiling skills would be to take one of our bespoke courses and become a qualified plasterer and tiler, Access Training also have a few handy tips to share to DIY enthusiasts looking to improve their work.

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