In the world of home repair and DIY, there is almost no task that can’t be made more complicated. Almost every activity involves its own set of special rules and caveats. Plastering is no exception. It’s a challenging process that can take as much time to prepare for as it does to complete. One of the most frustrating parts of plastering is waiting for it to dry after you’ve applied it to your walls or ceiling. With the right materials and some planning, however, you can cut down on the drying time so that plastering your walls and ceiling feels more like a fun project than an ordeal. If you’re new to plastering, or just looking for some handy tips, here are some practical strategies to help you get through all those tricky tasks with ease.
Use reinforcing mesh to make drying time shorter
One of the most important steps before plastering is to install reinforcing mesh. This is a mesh-like fabric that you tack onto your wooden laths to hold them in place on your wall. Reinforced laths will help prevent cracking and sagging, which in turn will make your plastering job much easier. But reinforcing mesh also plays a crucial role in shortening the drying time of your plaster. When the plaster dries, it contracts, causing it to shrink away from the wall. The mesh prevents this contraction by providing a surface for the plaster to cling to, rather than shrinking away. As a result, the plaster dries much quicker than it would otherwise.
Lighten your mix before applying it to the wall
When you mix your plaster, make sure you don’t add too much water to the mix. The recommended water-to-mix ratio is usually somewhere between 1:1 and 1:2, but you should make it even lighter than that. If your plaster is too thin, it won’t be able to provide a solid, durable finish. The good news is that you can easily thin it out by adding more sand. You can also add some extra cellulose fibers or mineral fibers to strengthen it.
Ventilate the room where you’re plastering
Plastering is always dusty, so if you want to minimize your cleanup, you’ll want to make sure your room is properly ventilated. If you have a ceiling fan, now is the time to turn it on. But if you don’t, you can use a portable fan. To get the most out of your fan, you should place it in the center of the room, facing the exit door. This will push the dust towards the exit, rather than towards your work surface.
Drying accelerators, also known as retardants
Plaster accelerators and retardants are chemicals you add to your plaster while it’s still in the bucket. Accelerators speed up the drying time by increasing the rate at which the plaster dries. Retardants, on the other hand, slow down the process to give you more time to work on your project. As you might expect, you should use retardants in humid weather, when the air is very wet, or in areas where the temperature and humidity are very high.
Install a mesh dryer for more efficient drying
If you want to make sure your plaster dries more efficiently, you can install a mesh dryer. A mesh dryer is a piece of hardware that you place over the top of your freshly applied plaster. It’s generally made of a screen-like material, and it’s designed to allow air to flow in and out of the room. If you install a mesh dryer over your plaster, the airflow will help speed up the drying process and prevent the formation of large, unsightly bubbles. It will also prevent moisture from lingering in the room, which can lead to mold growth.
The key to a successful plastering project is to take proper care of your materials and follow each step of the process. If you do that, you’ll be able to avoid a lot of the common problems that can slow down your process and even ruin your plastering job completely. Now that you know how to speed up the drying process, you’ll be able to enjoy a much more enjoyable and efficient plastering experience. Plastering is a challenging but rewarding process. With the right tools, materials, and strategies, you can make it as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
Note: isn’t it better to call your local plasterer?
Matt is a professional copywriter and researcher over at https://sucklessatcontent.com/. When he can be prised away from his PC, his wife enjoys setting him DIY tasks around the house.