How much does it cost to plaster a room?

Looking to hide imperfect walls with a skim or need new walls plastered? Here’s how much it costs with rates from trades in the know.

How much does it cost to plaster a room? It’s a question that anyone about to take on some renovation work or an extension needs answering. And it’s an aspect of any build project that needs to be budgeted from the outset.

Plastering walls and ceilings can help improve insulation, resolve damp or remedy peeling paint and bumpy imperfections. Silky smooth walls will make the job of decorating – painting or wallpapering – so much easier, too.

If you’re taking on a project like a kitchen extension, the job of plastering will definitely be on the to-do list.

Saga Exceptional spoke to trades to find out how much it’s likely to cost you to have a room plastered.

Plasterer is plastering a wall with a trowelCredit: Shutterstock/Daisy Daisy

How much does it cost to plaster a room?

Room size and shape will impact costs

The cost will depend on several factors. “The price of plastering varies depending on the size and shape of the room, but also on the experience of the plasterer,” says Vlad Pihlakas from Taskrabbit. “Plastering a small room will cost, on average, from £500 to £700 and can take up to two or three days to complete.”

Andy Simms from MyBuilder agrees: “Typical costs for a full plastering job in a small room would range from about £400 to £700, while simple reskimming would come in at around £500. In a larger room, costs of £1,000 to £1,500 are more likely – while skimming would be around £500 to £700.”

“It’s important to remember that your price may vary towards the end of the job, depending on any difficulties or additional unexpected work that was required during the process,” explains Pihlakas.

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How much does a plasterer charge per day?

Day rates will be determined by the type of job

The average daily rate for a plasterer, according to Checkatrade, is around £250. “Plasterers will measure up the job and consider any relevant factors before judging how much time the job will take, and how much material will be needed,” says Simms. “Replastering – adding a new, thin topcoat of plaster suitable for adding paint or wallpaper too – will be considerably cheaper than a full plastering job, which involves removing old plaster if necessary, constructing a new base, skimming the surface and finishing up.”

The cost of plastering a room will vary across the country. “It’s always important to check prices with plasterers [locally] to ensure they are within your budget and can provide you with the best service,” suggests Pihlakas.

What are the different types of plastering job?

Wet plastering is a method that uses gypsum or cement renders, which are applied directly to brick or blockwork.

It’s also the technique used for traditional lime plasters in period properties.

Wet plaster does take a lot longer to dry and can sometimes crack. It isn’t a DIY job but requires a skilled plasterer to apply it. However, you end up with a smooth, solid wall that’s easy to decorate and much sturdier for attaching radiators and cabinets.

Dry plastering or dry lining is a technique that attaches plasterboard to a wall or ceiling. Boards are either screwed in or stuck on with an adhesive – known as a “dot and dab” technique. A skim coat is applied over the top of the plasterboard to achieve a smooth finish.

It’s quicker than the wet plastering method, which can reduce labour costs, and the surface doesn’t tend to get hairline cracks like wet plaster can. However, the downside is that if you opt for the “dot and dab” method and you need to fix a radiator or cabinets to the plasterboard – perhaps in a bathroom or kitchen – then it’s difficult. This is because the gaps in the cavity (where there isn’t any adhesive) make screwing items into place trickier, as there’s very little surface area to screw into behind the board.

Skimming is a technique used to provide a very thin layer of plaster over a wall or ceiling to achieve a smooth surface for decorating. If your walls aren’t perfect, skimming is worth doing before you paint a room to get a perfect finish. You would then apply a mist coat before painting.

Plasterers also use the skimming method to finish off a dry-lined or wet-plastered wall or ceiling to get a smooth and polished finish.

 

Your chosen technique will impact labour costs

The price of materials needed for wet or dry plaster doesn’t vary much, but the time it takes to plaster a room using the wet plastering technique will take longer, so labour costs will increase how much you pay.

A room has plasterboard on walls and ceiling and and skim coat is being appliedCredit: Shutterstock/Kluva

How much does plastering a room cost per metre square?

Prices will be based on a variety of factors

Some plasterers may quote on a per-metre-square basis, once they know all the variables like the condition of the walls, how long it’s likely to take, and so on. “Plastering straight on to plasterboard [dry plastering] costs an average of £15 per metre square,” says Pihlakas. Costs per metre square for wet plastering will be a similar price mark too, but as the job takes longer than dry plastering, labour costs will add to the overall bill.

When you’re calling in quotes from plasterers, make sure you check how they charge. You’ll want to compare like-for-like costs from a few plasterers, based on the same charging structure. If you get a mix of day rates or per-metre-square rates, try and convert them all to the same type of rate. It’ll make life easier for you.

Factors that will impact plastering costs

The larger the room, the more materials, time and labour [number of plasterers] will be required to complete it.

Sloped ceilings, tall ceilings and unusual angles will require additional planning to identify the area’s access level. The plasterer may also need additional materials (such as taller ladders) and to prepare materials to fit any oddly shaped spaces, to complete the job.

If you live in a larger city, such as London, prices are naturally going to be more expensive than elsewhere. Travel to the property will also impact the price, so if you live in a remote area, you may be charged more to cover travel costs.

Before any plastering work takes place, your plasterer will examine the conditions of your walls. This will determine any preparation work required before plastering. Damaged walls will need to be repaired ahead of time.

There are many types of plaster to choose from. The type needed will depend on the construction project. For example, browning plaster is popular for creating an even undercoat and is great for applying to absorbent surfaces such as bricks. This averages from 30p to 60p per kg. Another type of commonly used plaster is tough coat plaster. This is the most durable undercoat plaster and is highly fire- and weather-resistant. This averages from 35p to 50p per kg.

Additional costs to consider

“If you are replastering and the original plaster needs to be removed, you may need a skip for the waste, which can cost a few hundred pounds depending on the size of the skip,” says Simms.

And you’ll need to factor in costs to decorate the space once the plastering has been done, too.

Is skimming cheaper than plastering?

Yes, it’s less labour-intensive

“Generally, skimming is a lot cheaper than plastering, as materials cost less and it isn’t as labour- intensive,” explains Pihlakas. “Before going ahead with skimming, check what would be best for your walls and home with your tradesperson, as each wall and home is different.”

plastering and adding a skim coat to walls in a roomCredit: Shutterstock/ANDRANIK HAKOBYAN

Don’t skimp on skimming

When my partner and I renovated an Edwardian terrace a few years ago, we covered imperfect walls in the living room with lining paper, when we should have paid out to have them skimmed. Having since gained experience writing home renovation articles, I would have done it completely differently, and the end result would have looked so much better.

We learnt our lesson when we renovated the rest of the house. After the plaster fell off the wall to reveal bare brick in the second reception room and kitchen, the only option was to plaster from scratch. Our plasterer used the wet plaster technique on the walls and, although it took a while to dry, it was a good option for our kitchen. This way of plastering gives stability and made the finished walls ideal for attaching cabinets and radiators.

Is plastering a DIY job?

It’s not for novice DIYers – it’s a strenuous and intense job

If you are au fait with more involved DIY tasks, then plasterboarding with a helper could be a job to take on yourself to save on costs. Plasterboarding walls will be easier than ceilings, where you might need to stand on a platform to reach. It’s a fairly strenuous job, so be sure to understand what’s involved beforehand. If you’re unsure, always call a professional.

Full-on plastering is a very skilled job and is best left to professional plasterers who will get the silky-smooth finish you want.

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Looking for local plasterers in your area? Using a website that guarantees the work of its members will give you extra peace of mind.

For example, Checkatrade will cover your job for 12 months for claims up to £1,000, provided that you book the member through the Checkatrade site and leave a review when the job has been completed. For more terms, visit the Checkatrade website.

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Michelle Guy

Written by Michelle Guy she/her

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With an editorial career spanning more than 20 years, Michelle Guy has spent time working on educational magazines and websites as well as being a freelance copy editor for companies like BT, until her career pivoted, and she moved into and embraced the world of homes and interiors.  

Working on magazines and websites including Homebuilding & Renovating, Real Homes and Period Living, Michelle honed her skills writing about all things renovation, extension and self-build. From interviewing homeowners to writing buyer’s guides, from sharing advice about kitchen renovations and extensions to design ideas for bathrooms, Michelle has written about a whole range of home improvement projects for discerning home improvers and keen DIYers alike.