Whether you want to add design features, line a wall, or reorganise the spaces in your place, plastering is a big part of home improvement. Plaster creates an even and durable finish, smooth and ready for the next part of the project. It’s an essential part of the final appearance and can be a big and expensive job. So, hiring a qualified professional can give you some assurance that everything will go as planned and meet your expectations. But what you should pay attention to, and how much does plastering cost?
In this article, we’ve gathered the current plastering rates, tips on saving money on the project, as well as helpful advice for hiring a plasterer.
So, if you:
Want to know how much plastering costs per square metre;
Want to find out the factors that influence the cost of plastering;
Are wondering which type of plaster to choose for your job,
Different types of plastering vary in durability, appearance, and installation method. Some options require specific qualifications and experience to apply. It’s always good to know the basics when you start negotiating with plasterers.
Here are the most used types of plaster:
Plasterboard – Also called drywall or Gyprock, it’s the most preferred option by builders in Australia as it’s easy to install and ideal to line walls or build partitions. It’s also available in sound insulation, moisture resistance, or fire protection variations.
Wet plaster – A solid plastering mix of lime, cement, gypsum, or other materials, providing a smooth and durable wall finish. Wet plastering requires professional application and 2 to 7 days to dry out, depending on the undercoat. Wet plaster is fire resistant and more soundproof than drywall.
Ornamental plaster – This is a plaster used to sculpt design elements, moulding, and cornices. It can be applied directly to the walls, columns, or ceilings.
Lime plaster – It’s not used very often as it requires a particular application method. Made of lime and sand, it provides a breathable and durable surface.
Cement plaster – Made of cement and sand, it’s rough and grey in colour. It creates a solid and durable wall finish but tends to shrink and crack over time.
Gypsum plaster – This type of plaster is easy to work with and provides a smooth, paint-ready surface. It doesn’t shrink and is highly resistant to mould and mildew.
Now that you know the basics, there are several other aspects to consider when planning your plastering project.
Apart from the type of plaster, rates per square metre vary depending on the project’s specifics, such as the size of the project and the state you live in. Besides, some more aspects may influence your final price, for example:
Removing existing plaster – If there is old plaster that has to be replaced, removing it will cost extra, and the tradesman will have to dispose of it.
Difficult access fee – If your plasterer has to use scaffolding or the access to the walls and ceilings is difficult, it will cost you more.
Ornamentals – The complexity of the work will cost you more as it requires experienced professionals and extra time.
The choice of materials – Adding a special finish or trendy textured plaster can also increase the project’s price.
So, let’s dive deeper into the numbers.
How much does plastering cost?
Plastering in Australia costs from $25 to $90 per square metre for material and labour. Hourly rates of hiring a plasterervary between $45 and $105. The rates vary in different states, depending on the size of the project, the complexity, the type of plaster, and the number of coats required.
Plasterers usually offer a flat rate for a room or for an entire home. This includes the main plastering work with the option to have the place and the constriction waste cleaned after the service, which may come with an additional fee. For example, plastering a 3-bedroom house will cost you around $10 000 to $15 000 for a standard job, including the materials and installation. Yet, if you’re planning a small renovation or repairing a damaged wall, you’ll get an hourly rate.
All prices above cover the rates for standard hard plaster finish – wet plaster applied to the entire wall or ceiling. Due to installation specifics, there are different rates for plasterboard and ornamental plastering.
Plasterboard installation cost
Plasterboard installation will cost you $15 to $30 per square metre for the labour and materials. Hourly rates for plasterboard vary from $45 to $55 in different areas. So, the budget for a 3-bedroom house can be roughly around $10 000.
If you want to apply plasterboard on a ceiling, the rates will be the same as for a standard wall job. However, a more ornate ceiling will cost you 10% – 15% more, as it requires more time and experience.
Plasterboard installation is a less labour-intensive and faster process than hard plastering. The material comes in standard 2.4×1.2 metre sheets, which are then nailed to the surface. Covering walls without windows costs less, as windows require cutting and more taping.
Ornamental plastering cost
Cornice installation can cost about $5 to $10 per linear metre, including labour and materials. A large Victorian cornice will cost around $15 per linear metre. Renovating a Victorian-style 3-bedroom house can cost you around $20 000 or more.
The cost of ornamental plastering depends mainly on the complexity of the project. It can take many forms, like decorative ceiling ornaments, wall decorative cornices, arches, and fireplace surrounds. It requires skilled and experienced professionals, so you’ll have to get individual quotes for that.
As you already know, a quality finish can be costly, as it is an art and a fairly skill-intensive job. Consult your plasterer on what you can do and where you can make some savings. Think about the following:
Clear the spaces out – Make the plasterers’ work easier by clearing out the rooms and covering all you can’t take out. The easier the work, the smaller the bill will be.
Remove the existing plaster, plasterboard, skirting boards, or wallpaper – The contractors will likely charge you a lot to remove the old materials. If you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, do it yourself and remove everything you can.
Add a plaster primer – If it’s applicable and the wall has been stripped bare, add a coat of plaster primer so that the specialist can apply the wet plaster directly.
Plan your renovations wisely – The estimated time to completion is an integral part of pricing. Also, the bigger the job is, the less you will pay per square or linear metre. So if you want to renovate part of your house now and another part later, maybe it’s not such a good idea in terms of final plastering costs.
Question to ask before hiring a plasterer
As you want to guarantee yourself the best looking walls and ceilings, you have to make sure you‘re hiring the right professional for your project. There are some essential questions that you have to clarify before signing the contract with a plasterer:
Questions about the time for the job – It’s mandatory to ask how much time they will need for the whole project. Usually, it takes 1 or 2 days to plaster a room. Also, it’s important to ask when your plasterer can start working.
Insurance and license – You have to check if your plasterer is fully insured to perform the service. Also, you have to ask if they’re licensed for the job in the part of Australia you live in. For example, in Victoria and Queensland, plastering is covered by a builders license. In NSW, there is separate licensing for wet plastering and plasterboard. In other states, plasterers complete Certificate III training, “Perform High Risk Work” and “White card”.
Reference and examples – Ask your friends and family for recommendations. It’s always better to trust a vetted professional. Also, ask for examples of finished projects to ensure you will like the work in the end.
Written quotes – Get 2 – 3 written plastering quotes and check all the details to ensure your peace of mind. Make sure all your questions are clear. Keep in mind that the cheapest offer isn’t always the best. It’s worth spending more money on a more experienced plasterer.
It can be challenging to plan and calculate the cost of your plastering project, but it’s worth it. What’s more, saving some money on unexpected jobs will let you spend more on things you want. So, the ball is in your hands now.
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Plastering prices vary depending on the project’s specifics, like the state, the size of the job, and the type of plaster.