Apply plaster with a smoothing trowel

Material and Tools for Plastering

Walls are still less attractive if they are made of “bare” masonry. Regardless of whether it is a whole new building, a conversion or a single new partition: Once the walls are cleanly plastered, a big step towards a finished, homely project has been taken. Even if plastering is one of the more demanding jobs around the house, the number of tools required is manageable. This article summarizes what materials and tools are needed for plastering.


Use of fine plaster

The type of substrate and the rooms (living room or bathroom) as well as the question of whether plastering should be carried out inside or outside dictates the choice of the right plastering mortar. The article An overview of the types of plaster describes which plaster can be used where. Depending on the type of wall, a primer may be necessary. The easiest way to apply a bonding bridge is with a painter’s brush, if necessary with a painter’s roller. Reinforcement meshes are useful to avoid stressful situations with substrates made of different building materials. Ultimately, a ladder or scaffolding makes it easier the work and ensures the safety and the required “range”.


Before you can start, you may need to do some preliminary work on the wall to be plastered. The tools required for plastering are also based on these. Any “masonry mortar protrusions” or unwanted protrusions are leveled out with a hammer and chisel, and loose parts are removed. Dust is removed from the wall with a broom or hand brush. In the case of external facades – especially if they have been exposed to environmental influences for a long time – it is necessary to check whether there has been any excessive pollution, algae growth or even moss. Thorough cleaning with a high-pressure cleaner would then be appropriate. Now the quick plaster profiles and corner brackets set. A folding rule or measuring tape, a sufficiently long spirit level for alignment and tin snips or hacksaw to cut to the correct length are essential for this work.

Some special structural requirements – especially in the renovation of old buildings – can rule out satisfactory adhesion of the plaster. Here create a plaster base remedy.


It’s getting serious with mixing the plaster mortar. For small or medium-sized areas, this work is easy to do with a mixing bucket and a stirring rod that is operated in conjunction with a drill or a stirrer.


  • A special mixer with a stir bar is not too expensive and, thanks to its ergonomic handles and optimized speed and power characteristics, is far superior to conventional drills.
  • When using two mixing buckets, a construction worker can prepare a new mixture while plastering.

For larger areas or complete construction projects, you don’t have to struggle with smaller mixing tools for plastering. Working with a standard mixer, or better still with a special compulsory mixer, is more effective here. The latter in particular allow the particularly homogeneous and rapid preparation of large amounts of plaster and can transport the material directly to the processing site with any pumps connected.

Regardless of the type of mixing, a container with a liter scale is necessary, as the quantities prescribed by the manufacturer for the mixing water must be strictly adhered to.


  • In practice, standard garden watering cans with a capacity of 10-15 liters have proven effective.
  • Sufficient power supply and protection should be checked in advance when using mixers or compulsory mixers/pumps. Some of these machines require 3-phase alternating current.


Apply primer with a painter's brush

Now the finished plastering mortar “only” has to be on the wall. Here the actual tool falls on plastering: With the trowel, the material is fired up on the wall (a possibly previously performed roughcast also succeeds with this little helper or alternatively by painter Quast). By using the trowel, the plaster is spread and finally with a plasterer’s float or a straight edge clean and just disconnected, for fine or rework suitable filling.

Depending on the planned surface structure, smoothing trowels or floats are used again for the finish.

Tip: Different plasters such as thermal plaster are applied in two layers in thick layers. It has proven useful to structure the first layer with a notched trowel in order to achieve an optimal connection with the second layer.

Clean the wall with a broom

The unavoidable soiling of the work area or adjacent components such as visible wooden structures, windows or doors can be avoided by using tarpaulins. Supplemented with a meaningful taping with the aid of masking tape , the risk of pollution or permanent stains is averted by dropped or injection material.


As can be seen here, no huge arsenal of materials and tools is required for plastering. Most do-it-yourselfers already have many of the aids mentioned “in stock” at home. If not, the costs for a new acquisition are kept within reasonable limits. In the case of large equipment such as a silo or the special compulsory mixer (possibly with a pump) mentioned in the article, it is advisable to borrow them anyway. Often plaster manufacturers or building material dealers offer such an option at acceptable prices. If all aids are ready, nothing stands in the way of the “attractive wall design” project!

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