What are plasterers’ stilts?

plastering stilts hire

Unless you are moonlighting as one of the Chicago Bulls or LA Lakers, chances are that during your plastering career you might have come across the issue of how to get your plaster in those hard to reach places, such as ceilings and the tops of walls.

Most ceilings are well over six foot high and in the past a milk crate, step ladder or plank balanced on two crates did the trick. But, with too many dangerous accidents occurring from unsafe working environments and many building sites and businesses clamping down on the health and safety pitfalls involved, it might be that over the years you’ve looked to an alternative solution.

One of the options you can try is plasterers’ stilts. And if you are wondering what are plasterers’ stilts and the image of clowns in a circus keeps popping into your head then don’t be disheartened.

Contrary to the sort of stilts that are used to wow the crowds under the big top, these are sturdy, easy to put on and take off, don’t take years of practice to perfect using them and if used in the right circumstances can be very safe.

Take a look at our stilt range for some of the industry leading stilts for plastering!

Plasterer plastering ceiling

How can Plasterers Stilts help?

Stilts for plasterers have been used in the drywall and suspended ceiling industries for years and can be an extremely useful tool to have in the workplace, saving you time, effort and labour.

Once you’ve got the hang of them, they make an excellent addition to your toolkit and, if you would like to know how else they can help, there are several benefits and a few things to bear in mind when thinking of investing in a pair.

  • Stilts will save you time on climbing up and down ladders and moving them from place to place – instead you can move easily across the area you are plastering.
  • Stilts will help reduce the risk of over reaching to get to those hard to reach areas, which can lead to muscle strain, fatigue and falls.
  • They are a safer option to balancing on ladders and other stands, offering you greater stability when both moving and standing still.
  • They are sturdy, act as an extension to your lower leg, have a solid large base and are easy to balance on.
  • They can be fitted in seconds using quick release straps and an adjustable working height.

But make sure…

  • The floor where you are plastering is clear of all debris and obstacles.
  • Remember to make sure that everything you need is within reach, a little higher up than you might usually be used to.
  • Have a practice on them while others are around and make sure if you’re going to be working on your own that you can take them off and put them on again easily in between coats.
  • Never try walking backwards. Chances are it’s not going to end up a pretty picture.
  • Don’t rush and take your time, especially if you’re just getting used to them.

a pair of plasterers stilts

Best Stilts For Plastering In The UK

If you’re looking for some cheap stilts for plastering but ones that are leaders in the industry, then look no further! We have an excellent set of plasterers’ stilts in stock from the popular and dependable quality budget brand Faithfull, which have been designed to save time in both the plastering and decorating industries.

For a Faithfull Plasterers Stilts overview, you might be pleased to know that, while they are extremely well made, using lightweight aluminium, they are sturdy, efficient and adjustable, coming in six two-inch increments which range from 18-30 inches.

The maximum load bearing amount is 114kg (so remember to take into account your hawk, trowel and plaster) and they won’t break the bank like other plasterers’ stilts.

Plasterers Stilts For Sale – Buy Online Today

If you’re a professional plasterer who is looking for an easy and effective solution to getting a job finished in even quicker time, then maybe stilts could be your best bet.

You can order your stilts online today from Gypsumtools and have them with you on site tomorrow, when you order before 12pm.

We also offer free delivery on orders over £99 to any location across the UK, so you can rest assured you will be only paying for the goods you receive.

Have a browse through our extensive range of products online, or give us a call today for more information.

How to Skim a Wall UK: A Comprehensive Guide to Plaster Skimming

How to Skim a Wall UK: A Comprehensive Guide to Plaster Skimming

Transforming a wall into a smooth, flawless canvas is a craft that requires skill, precision, and the right tools. Whether you’re a professional or an enthusiastic DIYer, understanding the nuances of plaster skimming can elevate your wall finishes to professional standards. 

This guide combines insights from both traditional methods and modern techniques to help you achieve perfect results every time.


  1. What is Plaster Skimming?
  2. Why is Skimming Needed?
  3. Essentials of Plastering Skimming
  4. Step-by-Step Guide to Skimming
  5. Advanced Skimming Techniques
  6. Maintaining your Skim Coat
  7. Conclusion
  8. Plaster Skimming FAQs


What is Plaster Skimming?

What is Plaster Skimming?

Plaster skimming involves applying a thin layer of plaster over a surface to create a smooth, uniform finish. This technique is essential for preparing walls for decoration or painting, ensuring that any underlying imperfections are concealed. Skimming is a critical step in wall preparation, providing a solid foundation for a durable and aesthetically pleasing finish.

Why is Skimming Needed?

Why is Skimming Needed?

Skimming serves several purposes:

  • Creates a Smooth Surface: A smooth surface is crucial for achieving a professional-looking finish when painting or wallpapering. Without a properly skimmed wall, any imperfections, such as bumps or rough patches, will be highlighted once the paint or wallpaper is applied. Skimming ensures a uniform surface, enhancing the final appearance of the wall.
  • Conceals Imperfections: Over time, walls can develop various imperfections, including cracks, dents, and uneven textures. Skimming effectively covers these blemishes, creating a pristine surface ready for decoration. This step is especially important in older buildings where the walls may have suffered from wear and tear.
  • Ensures Adhesion: A properly skimmed wall provides an excellent base for paint or wallpaper to adhere to. Without this preparation, the finish may not stick properly, leading to peeling, flaking, or bubbling over time. Skimming enhances the bond between the wall and the decorative layer, ensuring a long-lasting result.
  • Enhances Durability: Skim-coated walls are more durable and less likely to suffer from premature deterioration. The smooth, even surface reduces the chances of damage and helps maintain the integrity of the decorative finish for years to come.

Essentials of Plaster Skimming

Essentials of Plaster Skimming

To achieve a flawless finish, it is crucial to have the right materials and tools.


  • Fine-grade skimming plaster – you don’t need this if using the beginners method 
  • Jointing compound
  • Bonding agent

These materials are essential for creating a smooth, even surface. Fine-grade skimming plaster provides a superior finish, while the jointing compound and bonding agent ensure the plaster adheres properly to the wall.


If using the traditional method:

  • Stainless steel or tempered blue steel trowels
  • Hawk
  • Corner trowels
  • Feather edge
  • Darby tools
  • Mixing bucket and paddle
  • Sandpaper

For the beginner method, you’ll instead need:

  • Paint roller
  • Mud pan
  • Squeegee knife
  • Sanding pole and sandpaper

High-quality tools make a significant difference in the ease and quality of the skimming process. Stainless steel trowels are durable and provide a smooth finish, while corner trowels and feather edges help achieve clean lines and even surfaces.

Step-By-Step Guide to Plaster Skimming

Step-by-Step Guide to Skimming a Wall

Surface Preparation

  1. Assess the Wall: Remove any existing paint, wallpaper, or finishes. Check for stability, cracks, and moisture. It is essential to start with a clean, stable surface to ensure the plaster adheres properly.
  2. Prime the Surface: Clean thoroughly and apply a primer such as PVA glue mixture or an acrylic primer. Allow it to dry completely. Priming the wall helps the plaster stick better and ensures a more durable finish.

Applying the Skim Coat

There are two main methods for applying the skim coat: the traditional method using a hawk and trowel, or the beginners method using a paint roller and squeegee knife.

Traditional Method – Hawk & Trowel

This method requires practice and skill to achieve a uniform layer.

First Coat:

  • Mix the plaster to a creamy texture. It should be smooth and lump-free.
  • Transfer a suitable amount from hawk to trowel and apply to the wall in smooth upward motions, beginning at the bottom and gliding seamlessly to the top, maintaining even pressure.

Subsequent Coats:

  • Apply additional coats in perpendicular directions for even coverage. This technique helps create a smooth, even surface without ridges or bumps.
  • Ensure each layer is thin to promote quick drying. Thicker layers take longer to dry and are more prone to cracking.
  • Sand between coats to remove imperfections. Sanding helps achieve a perfectly smooth finish by eliminating any minor flaws from the previous layer.

Beginners Method – Paint Roller and Squeegee Knife

This method is easier for beginners and can achieve excellent results with less practice.

First Coat:

  • Roll on a slightly thinned layer of all-purpose joint compound with a heavy nap roller. The consistency should be a bit like mayonnaise.
  • Smooth with a squeegee knife, starting at the top corner and pulling the knife vertically downwards. This method is easier for beginners and can achieve excellent results with less practice.

Subsequent Coats:

  • Apply the second coat with a trowel in a horizontal direction after the first coat has dried. Working in different directions ensures even coverage and a smooth finish.
  • For additional coats, wait for the prior layer to dry, and then apply at right angles to the previous coat. This helps achieve a perfectly smooth surface.

Final Coat:

  • After the last coat has dried, pole sand the wall to achieve a flawless finish. Sanding is essential to remove any remaining imperfections and prepare the wall for painting or wallpapering.

Techniques for Smooth Application

  • Consistency: Keep the plaster consistency like mayonnaise to avoid shrinkage and cracks. Proper consistency ensures the plaster spreads evenly and adheres well to the wall.
  • Strokes: Use firm, consistent pressure and overlap strokes to avoid distinct edges. Overlapping strokes ensure a seamless finish without visible lines or ridges.
  • Tools Maintenance: Clean tools frequently to maintain a smooth application. Clean tools prevent dried plaster from causing scratches or uneven application on the wall.

Common Issues and Solutions

  • Imperfections: Caused by inadequate preparation or incorrect plaster consistency. Ensure the wall is properly prepared and the plaster is mixed correctly to avoid imperfections.
  • Air Bubbles: Prevent by pressing firmly during application. Trapped air can cause bubbles that mar the finish. Applying consistent pressure helps eliminate air pockets.
  • Cracking: Avoid by controlling the drying environment (temperature, ventilation, humidity). Rapid drying can cause the plaster to crack. Maintaining a stable environment helps prevent this issue.

Sanding Your Skim Coat

  • Remove Imperfections: Use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out ridges and troughs. Sanding helps achieve a perfectly smooth finish by removing any minor imperfections.
  • Blend Edges: Ensure seamless transitions between sanded areas and existing wall surfaces. Blending edges creates a uniform surface that is ready for painting or wallpapering.
  • Use Appropriate Tools: Employ sanding poles and vacuum-assisted sanders to reduce dust. These tools make sanding easier and help maintain a clean working environment.

Advanced Skimming Methods

Advanced Skimming Techniques

Time-Saving Methods

  • Pre-Mixed Compounds: Use to skip the mixing stage. Pre-mixed compounds are convenient and ensure consistent results, saving time and effort.
  • Spray Rigs: Ideal for large areas, providing uniform application. Spray rigs can cover large surfaces quickly and evenly, making them perfect for extensive projects.
  • Automated Tools: Flat boxes and angle heads are great for seam and corner finishing. These tools streamline the skimming process and ensure professional results with less manual effort.

Different Skim Coat Finishes

  • Smooth Finish: Requires meticulous sanding for a sleek look. A smooth finish provides a contemporary appearance that highlights the quality of the skimming work.
  • Textured Finish: Techniques like stippling or swirling add depth and character. Textured finishes can hide imperfections and create unique visual effects that enhance the room’s aesthetics.

Maintaining Your Skim Coat

Maintaining Your Skim Coat

  • Regular Inspections: Address minor cracks or chips promptly. Regular checks help maintain the integrity of the skim coat and prevent minor issues from becoming major problems.
  • Gentle Cleaning: Use mild detergents and soft cloths to maintain the finish. Proper cleaning helps preserve the appearance and durability of the skim coat.
  • Protective Treatments: Apply sealants or finishing waxes to enhance durability. These treatments add an extra layer of protection, making the skim coat more resistant to damage and wear.



By following these detailed steps and techniques, you can master the art of plaster skimming. Whether improving your living space or delivering high-quality results as a professional, a well-skimmed wall forms the perfect canvas for any decoration, enhancing both aesthetic appeal and structural integrity.

Browse the range of drylining and plastering tools and equipment at Gypsumtools to get everything you need to skim a wall!

Plaster Skimming FAQs

Plaster Skimming FAQs

What is plaster skimming?

Plaster skimming is applying a thin plaster layer to create a smooth, uniform finish on walls and ceilings.

Why do I need to skim my walls?

Skimming covers imperfections, ensures a smooth surface for decoration, and improves the adhesion and durability of paint or wallpaper.

Can I skim a wall myself, or do I need a professional?

You can skim a wall yourself, especially with the beginners method. The traditional method requires more skill. Consider hiring a professional if unsure.

What tools and materials do I need for skimming a wall?

You’ll need skimming plaster, joint compound, bonding agent, trowels, a hawk, corner trowels, a feather edge, a paint roller, and a squeegee knife.

How do I prepare my wall for skimming?

Remove existing paint or wallpaper, check for stability, clean thoroughly, and apply a primer. Let it dry completely before skimming.

What is the difference between the traditional and modern skimming methods?

The traditional method uses a hawk and trowel, requiring more skill. The modern method uses a paint roller and squeegee knife, easier for beginners.

How many coats of plaster do I need to apply?

Usually, two coats: the first covers the surface, and the second smooths it out. A third coat may be needed for imperfections.

How long does it take for the plaster to dry between coats?

Drying time depends on layer thickness, temperature, humidity, and ventilation. Ensure each coat is fully dry before the next.

How do I avoid air bubbles and cracking in the plaster?

Press firmly to avoid air bubbles. Control drying environment (temperature, humidity) to prevent cracking.

What do I do if I see imperfections after the plaster has dried?

Use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out imperfections before painting or wallpapering.

How do I maintain a skim-coated wall?

Regularly inspect for cracks, clean gently with mild detergents, and consider applying sealants for protection.

Can I use textured finishes instead of a smooth finish?

Yes, textured finishes like stippling or swirling add depth and character to your walls.

What should I do if my plaster starts to crack?

Fill cracks with joint compound, sand smooth, and reapply a skim coat if needed.

How do I achieve a smooth finish when skimming?

Keep plaster like mayonnaise, use firm, overlapping strokes, clean tools often, and sand between coats to remove imperfections.

What is Venetian Plaster?

marble plaster suppliers

If you have ever had the pleasure of taking in some of the magnificent sights of Venice, you will know that it is a city packed full of wondrous design and old world beauty.

Once you’re there, all it takes is a gondola ride down one of the city’s famous canals to experience the striking architecture that can be found on virtually every corner.

Because of this, it’s no surprise that even the special plaster which comes from this northern Italian city has the same awe inspiring passion, beauty, elegance and depth as the city itself.

So, what is venetian plaster? The answer lies in what it’s made of, how it’s applied and the finished effect.


Traditional Venetian Plaster, otherwise known as marble plaster, Italian plaster or polished plaster is made of lime putty and marble dust and gives a highly polished finish to walls and ceilings, which can look like stunning marble itself. As a result it’s very often used successfully for decorative effect.

While it can be enhanced with acrylic resins, when it’s applied correctly, the plaster on its own can give a rock hard, deeply textured and smooth marble-like finish which displays a glossy, high sheen.

Venetian Plaster has been used for centuries and although it was originally used for building purposes its main use is now to compliment the interior design of a building, whether it’s old world traditional, contemporary design or even used in listed buildings for restoration.

It’s popular, not only for the striking and luxurious effect that it gives, but also because lime based venetian plaster is made with less harmful chemicals, which makes it hypoallergenic, as well as mould and algae resistant, not to mention the fact that venetian plaster can also regulate humidity.

polished plaster concrete

How to make Venetian Plaster & How to do Venetian Plastering

Venetian Plaster is usually applied over a primer and basecoat, as with regular plaster, but a change that has occurred in the application of it over time is the amount of coats needed. In the past the Romans used up to ten coats of plaster, whereas now, as technology has moved on, it only needs 1-4 coats thinly applied with a trowel to get the finish you need.

The glossy effect of the plaster gives a touch of prestige and elegance where it is used, because its crystalline beauty can look absolutely stunning. When applying the final layer of Venetian Plaster, there’s a special technique which is used to burnish the surface with a special steel trowel to give a glass like sheen that creates the impression of magnificent depth and texture.


Tools for venetian plastering include the use of a round edged plastering trowel. With this special kind of plastering tool, the technique that is used on the final coat of plaster is like a wet polishing that focuses heat and pressure to give deeply textured colours and a high shine.

It can be a pretty useful technique to use on surfaces where large slabs of marble cannot be easily installed, or in buildings with a tighter budget which means using real marble is simply too expensive.

Venetian Plaster has often be referred to as being a fake version of marble, but the fact is that the plaster in itself is made up of natural materials which, when combined, offer this striking effect. It can come in a variety of levels of sheen, textures and colours but it can also be tinted or coloured to achieve an affect that can’t be created naturally. When applied correctly, the finished effect is just as striking and aesthetically pleasing as marble itself and the finish will enrich the colour of the plaster giving warmth to the walls.

Order your Tools Online Today

If you would like to find out more about the tools for venetian plastering that we have in stock or simply venetian plastering cost, take a browse through the wide range of products we have available and order your tools online today, or, to find out more about the products used, give us a call or message us online.

Our friendly and experienced staff are always available to help and advise.

Plastering Kits for Plasterers Apprentices

As with many industries, when you first start out in professional plastering, it can mean some difficult decisions to make. What kit do you need, what are the best tools for the job and do you go down the sensible, more cost effective route, or do you go for the best in the business straight away?

One thing’s for sure – you’ll want to make sure that you can hit the ground running and there’s nothing holding you back when you start. But, likewise, you’ll also want to be sure you’re not investing in pieces of plastering kit that you might never use.

At Gypsumtools we have over 50 years experience in the plastering industry which has equipped us with a sound knowledge of what our many different customers might need at any one specific point in their career.

That’s why, when you’re just starting out in the plastering industry, we have designed plastering kits for plasterers apprentices that really do the trick.


Great for College Students

Maybe you’re still learning the trade and are still at college, but getting fed up with borrowing kit. Or perhaps you’re about to complete the course and want to practise with your own set of tools before you leave.

Our plastering kits for plasterers’ apprentices are great for college students because they are affordable, contain exactly the sort of tools and equipment you’ll need and the contents of the kits have been hand picked by people with a passion for plastering.

The kits include a plasterer’s finishing trowel, bucket trowel, aluminium hawk, plasterers float, scratching tool and water brush. Also, with safety in mind, you get a hi-vis waistcoat, safety glasses and dual density black Chukka boots which are popular in the construction, engineering and agricultural industries for their strength and durability, not to mention the steel toecaps and midsole.

We’re not in the habit of offering our customers poor equipment and we pride ourselves on our reputation for only offering the best equipment at the best prices – whether they’re from trusted budget brands or the most highly sought after tools there are.

best choice of plastering kit

Choose Your Own Kit

We also understand that different people need different things, even if they’re at the same sort of stage in their career, so this is why, when it comes to providing tools and equipment for a plasterers apprentice, you can even choose your own kit.

After so many years in the trade, we get that a plasterer’s trowel is a very personal thing and that’s why we believe you should be able to choose the tools that are right for you from the start. Why not take a look at what’s on offer?

Order Your Plasterers Apprentice Kit Today

To find out more about our plastering tools and supplies just give us a call, or drop us a line – our friendly and experienced staff are always on hand to help. Or, if you’re looking to get started and like what you see, then you can order your plasterers apprentice kit today. If you put your order in before 12pm, you’ll even get it by tomorrow.

Our plastering apprentice kits have been designed to offer the most cost effective and useful solution for anyone just starting out in the industry, so take a browse through our products and see what’s the right collection for you.