Plastering is a tried and tested method of creating a stable and smooth finish on both walls and ceilings. It has the extra benefit of providing insulation and can even be used to add decorative elements to a room.
Prices for plastering vary depending on the extent of the work needed as well as the particular method of plastering required.
This article will provide a breakdown of average costs by service required, metre squared, room size, daily rates and hourly rates, factors that affect the cost and other common questions surrounding plastering.
Cost of Plastering by Room Size
For standard rooms with four walls, plasterers most often give estimates for both walls and ceilings based on room size rather than by square metre.
There are no set measurements for room sizes, so whether a room is categorised as small, medium, or large can vary per estimate.
Therefore the prices we have listed below are based on average estimates provided by plasterers.
Small Room (approx 4m²)
- Walls (from scratch) £600-£700
- Walls (skimming) £375-£500
- Ceiling (from scratch) £210-£400
Medium Room (approx 9m²)
- Walls (from scratch) £700-£950
- Walls (skimming) £425-£550
- Ceiling (from scratch) £260-£440
Large Room (approx 30m²)
- Walls (from scratch) £1000-£1400
- Walls (skimming) £540-£700
- Ceiling (from scratch) £400-£750
Cost of Plastering Per Day
You may be offered the choice to pay a daily rate instead of a total for the job. Plasterers are free to set their own rates, but you can expect to pay between £150-£250.
Typically, prices in London and the South of the UK are higher than elsewhere. Independent sole traders often charge less than larger companies, and may also have more scope to take on smaller jobs.
If you are paying a day rate, your plasterer will give you an estimate of the total job cost based on how many days it is likely to take to complete.
This will also include the time needed to set up any equipment and wait for layers of plaster to cure.
Cost of Plastering Per Hour
Charging per hour is rare for plasterers, but may be encountered for jobs expected to take less than a day, such as spot repairs or small walls.
The average hourly wage for a plasterer across the UK is £12.65 per hour, which doesn’t include material costs or VAT.
Again, this is decided by the trader or the business they work for, so you can expect variation depending on experience and location.
Standard Plastering Methods
Not all plastering jobs require the same materials and labour time, so they vary in cost. Before working out a quote, you’ll need to know which of the following treatments your wall requires:
A traditional method that’s particularly good for damp and soundproofing, but can be prone to cracking over time. It is time-consuming due to the curing period needed before the plaster will be dry to the touch.
The plaster is applied to plasterboard which has been nailed to the wall, rather than straight onto the wall itself. The application and drying times are much quicker, but it’s not suitable for all spaces.
Skimming adds a new layer of plaster, filling in any surface level cracks or holes, without entirely replastering the wall.
It’s the quickest and cheapest option that some people choose to complete on a DIY basis, but can’t be undertaken if there isn’t a stable base layer of plaster to work on top of.
This is one of the most time-consuming and difficult plastering jobs, as it requires working at awkward angles for extended periods of time.
Ceilings can be wet, dry, or skim plastered depending on the condition of the underlying surface.
Cost of Plastering Per Square Metre
If you are only looking to have one wall or smaller area plastered, you may be given an estimate per square metre.
- For wet or dry plastering from scratch, the average cost is £22 per m².
- For skimming only, the average cost is £15 per m².
- Ceiling work is priced similarly, but may come with a premium depending on the accessibility of the area, as extra time may be required to set up the necessary equipment to access hard to reach spots.
Decorative Plastering Methods
Beyond neatening up or repairing a wall, plastering can be used to create decorative finishes and add details to ceilings and other areas.
Costs for these services will vary depending on the complexity of the job, as well as whether you hire a company that specialises in the technique. Decorative options include:
This technique uses lime plaster to create a marbled and polished finish, usually on internal walls but increasingly on floors and surfaces too.
Tints can be introduced to enhance the decorative effect with colour, offering an attractive alternative to paint, tiles, or wallpaper. You can expect to pay around £120 per m², but some specialists charge up to £400 per m².
Rather than aiming for a smooth finish typical of regular plastering methods, tools can be used to introduce textures and patterns to the plaster.
While this became trendy in the 1980s, there have been many developments to bring the techniques up to date, such as creating concrete and wood grain effects.
The various effects can require different tools, materials, and expertise, which means that textured plastering is typically slightly more expensive than standard plastering methods.
Cornicing and Coving
This involves adding decorative moldings that protrude from the areas where the walls meet the ceiling. Coving usually refers to simplistic designs that follow the lines of the room, whereas cornicing adds more ornate details.
Once reserved for homes and public buildings with status attached, both cornicing and coving became common household additions in the Victorian period.
Having pre-made pieces installed is the cheapest option, with costs for a whole room typically starting at £330.
Bespoke cornicing and coving will cost a lot more, as it will include the design process, creating the pieces to be installed off-site, and finally the installation.
This service is likely to start at £850 for a single room.
What Can Affect the Cost of Plastering?
Condition of the Existing Wall
If your plasterer finds that the current plaster is damaged or uneven in several places, they will need to rectify the issues before setting to work.
Depending on the extent of the damage, this could involve anything from spot repairs to a total replastering instead of skimming.
Older plaster is much more likely to have significant issues, as it can come away from the areas it’s attached to over time, or face long-term exposure to damaging forces such as water.
Before calling a plasterer, you can check your own walls for damage to get an idea of their condition. On the surface, check for cracks, discoloration, and bubbles.
Hairline cracks are usually superficial and don’t indicate deeper problems, but larger cracks can be a sign that the plaster is pulling away from the lath behind it, or even that parts of the house are settling due to issues with the foundation.
The discolouration is an early warning sign for water damage, which can eventually lead to bubbling and bulges.
Any underlying issues, such as leaks, will need to be fixed alongside replastering, otherwise, the new plaster will become damaged in the same way.
Number of Walls
Estimates by room size work on the assumption that the room has four walls. If your room has more walls, whether it’s the perimeter or irregular areas such as around a fireplace, it is likely to affect the final cost for the job.
Make sure to give clear information about the walls to a plasterer when asking for an estimate, and be aware that they may not be able to give an accurate cost without seeing the room in person.
Size of Walls
Just like the number of walls, general estimates will be working on the assumption that a room does not have irregularly high ceilings leading to more wall area needing to be plastered.
The average ceiling height in the UK is 2.4 metres, so if yours are markedly higher than this then you can expect to pay higher than average.
Ease of Access
Basic estimates will assume that the surfaces needing to be plastered are accessible from the ground or with standard ladders and platforms.
Costs will rise where there are hard-to-reach areas, as these may require hiring extra equipment, or bringing in another labourer to ensure safety as the job is completed.
Your plasterer will include these elements in their estimation, but again will need to see the room before providing an accurate assessment.
The different methods of plastering require different materials, which are usually covered in an estimate given by a trader.
However, if you are having a specialist service such as polished plastering or additional coving, make sure to check whether you’re being given an estimate for labour only.
If your plasterer wants to add costs for the materials to the total as they buy them in, you’re within your rights to ask for an itemised bill so you can feel confident in where your money is going.
The day rate for plasterers is higher in London, and the South East more generally. This accounts for the higher costs of living in these areas of the country.
Wherever you’re located, if you feel that you’ve been given an estimate that was much higher than you expected, using a specialist trades search engine can help you access a wider range of quotes to compare with.
What to Look For When Hiring a Plasterer
You can find plasterers in your area using local directories and dedicated trade search engines. Independent traders will often have adverts in locally-focused publications such as newsletters and classified ads sections.
When you have found somebody who is available to do the job, here are some things you can look out for to ensure you’ll be getting a quality service:
There are certain kinds of insurance which are mandatory, and others which are highly recommended for plasterers to account for accidents and injury while at work.
- Employer’s Liability Insurance is a requirement for anyone with other plasterers in their employ
- Public Liability Insurance provides cover against damage to your home and anyone within it
- Personal Accident Insurance covers the plasterer against injury to themselves
Unlike some other trades, no formal qualifications are required to be a plasterer, and many have gained their skills through experience and informal training by other skilled tradespeople. However, there are courses available that they may have taken to enhance their skills. For example, City and Guilds offer the following qualifications:
- Level 2 Technical Certificate in Plastering
- Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Plastering
As no qualifications are mandatory, requesting references from previous jobs is often the best way to find out whether a plasterer has the experience and skills you’re looking for. They may provide a CV or contact details for previous clients.
For jobs such as Venetian plastering, it’s a good idea to initially search for plasterers who specialise in these treatments as they require specific knowledge and access to materials.
Get Prices on Plasterers Near You
We’ve done our best to give you a good idea of what you can expect to pay for a plasterer.
However, our guides are not a substitute for a fixed quote specifically for you.
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