Indoors or out, perfectly flat walls and ceilings can bring a touch of modernity to older properties and also give any age of home a new lease of life after the rigours of living have left marks and scratches.

Plastering and rendering are the skills needed to make this happen and only the most intrepid DIYer would think of attempting this tricky job.

Use this guide to smooth out a few essential details when you’re choosing a local plasterer or renderer.

What they do

Although plastering and rendering use similar techniques, the first is all about internal surfaces and the latter carried out on exterior surfaces. The materials used are also different and rendering is generally seen as a more difficult skill than plastering. Whether plastering or rendering, this trade involves:

  • Preparing surfaces for plaster or render
  • Boarding out walls and ceilings with plasterboard
  • Coating of internal walls and ceilings with different types of plaster to make them ready for decoration
  • Coating external surfaces with materials like cement or sand

Specialist ornamental plasterers will also recreate original features such as cornices and ceiling roses in their workshop to restore or renovate older interiors.

What they charge

Depending on where you are in the UK, a good plasterer should charge £10 – £15 per hour, plus the cost of any materials. They will often use a labourer who will add to the cost but will help them complete the work a lot faster.

Some plasterers will charge a flat fee which can make sense from a budget perspective and could also mean they work harder to get the work finished and move on to their next project.

Always try and get a written estimate with a breakdown of what the costs are before hiring a plasterer for a big job. Some example prices for common plastering jobs are:

  • Replaster a small room – £200 – £300
  • Replaster a medium room – £300 – £400
  • Remove old plaster and apply new plaster in a medium room – £700
  • Remove old plaster and apply new plaster in a large room – £1000
  • Board and plaster medium sized ceiling – £300
  • Board and plaster large sized ceiling – £450

When it comes to external rendering, scaffolding hire will often be needed for safe access to upper floors which will increase the price.

Expect to pay around:

  • Two bedroom bungalow – £2,000 (4-6 days)
  • Three bedroom semi – £3,800 (5-8 days)
  • Four bedroom detached house – £4,500 (7-14 days)

What to ask

When choosing a local plasterer or renderer, ask the following questions to help you choose the best one for the job:

  • How long have they worked as a plasterer or renderer?
  • Have they completed similar projects in the past?
  • Can they provide references?
  • Do they have public liability insurance?
  • Does the quote include materials?
  • Will they remove any waste material and rubble?
  • Does the quoted price include materials, labour and all other costs?
  • How long will it take to complete this job?

Trades to trust

It is important to use a properly qualified plasterer to ensure that their knowledge is up to date. Qualifications vary, but a newly qualified plasterer should have either an NVQ in Plastering at levels 1, 2, or 3 (where 3 is the best) or a level 3 SVQ in Plastering. Plasterers who’ve been in the business longer could hold an advanced craft City & Guild qualification in plastering combined with an 8, 5 or 3 year apprenticeship.

A plasterer working on a construction site will need to have a CSCS (a construction skills certification scheme card) to show they’re adequately trained in safety techniques.

Many professional plasterers and renderers are also members of the Guild of Master Craftsmen.

The law

If you’re rendering or replacing timber cladding to external walls, building regulations may apply depending on the type of work you’re carrying out.

Ready to hire?

3 is the magic number

As always, try and get three quotes from three different plasterers and renderers to ensure you pay a fair price for the job.

Certification and references

Don’t be shy about asking for any relevant certification, proof of public liability insurance and references or photos from previous jobs. If the plasterer and renderer is trustworthy and competent, they’ll be pleased (and proud) to show you both.