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How Much To Plaster A Room

15 June 2023

Have you extended your home and need to have the walls plastered? Have you moved home recently and found that the existing plaster on the internal walls is in a bad state of repair? Have your walls suffered from many years of DIY improvements, with fixtures, fittings, and pictures being installed and removed, leaving holes and cracks in the plaster? Maybe age, mould, or problems with dampness have caused your plaster to crack or fall away.

It could be that you want to cover up ugly brickwork or rough surfaces, or you simply want to change the style and appearance of your home interior.

At Top Notch Walls, we have seen it all and have patched up or completely replastered walls and ceilings for all kinds of reasons. And we know that when it's time to call in a professional plasterer, the first question people ask is, how much will it cost?

Now, that seems like a pretty straightforward question, and it deserves a straightforward answer. Frustratingly, however, it's not a simple case of quoting a figure, as there are several different issues that will affect the overall plastering cost.

Even so, the experts at Top Notch Walls love to help people out, so we've compiled this guide to plastering prices that we hope will make things a little clearer for you.

How Much Does It Cost To Plaster A Room?

Again, it's a reasonable enough question, and before we dive into all the variables and complications, we'll offer this basic answer:

The average cost to plaster a room in the UK is between £600 and £2000.

You might be thinking that this contradicts what we said earlier about not quoting a figure, but in fact, it illustrates our point very well; there's a big difference between the two amounts, and these are average prices - you may pay less, but you could be looking at significantly more.

Now would be a good time to look at all the factors that might affect plastering costs.

The Size Of The Area To Be Plastered

This one isn't a surprise; the bigger the area, the higher the price. The plastering cost for a single wall will be much less than it would be to plaster a room. That's just common sense and to be expected.

In relation to our average cost given above, a large room is considered to be about 18m², while a small room is around 9m². And on that premise, a medium-sized room is going to be somewhere around 13m².

Also, do you only want one wall plastered or the entire room? It may be that you have a feature wall with wallpaper or paint that's in good condition and doesn't need re-plastering. Perhaps you have a dado rail, with panelling on half of the wall, in which case you could save money by having the exposed half plastered.

To go further, is it just the single room or the entire house that needs plastering?

Whatever your individual situation, measure the wall space as accurately as you can, as this will allow the plastering contractor to provide a quote you can work with.

The Substrate

There are generally three types of substrate: plaster & lath, plasterboard (also called drywall or dry lining), and masonry (brick, stone, or cinderblock). Some walls may be made from chipboard or plywood, but this is rare in the UK. Even so, professional plasterers will be able to help you with these.

Plaster & Lath

Plaster and lath is a traditional method of plastering that fell out of use by the 1950s, replaced by plasterboard, although you'll still find this in older houses on both ceilings and walls.

With this technique, thin timber strips are attached to uprights (or ceiling joists) with a narrow gap between them. Lime plaster was typically used, and this was spread across the surface where it was forced into the gaps, thus helping the wet plaster to stick (plaster won't naturally stick to wood very easily).

Applying plaster this way was a fairly labour-intensive job, which made it expensive. Today, there are only a few properties with plaster and lath walls, and maintaining or renovating these can be expensive.

In some cases, you may be allowed to use modern methods to do this, such as inserting a wire mesh or plastic strips instead of wood, which is vulnerable to damage from insects, rot, and dampness.


Plasterboard, made from compacted gypsum sandwiched between two layers of tough paper, proved to be a much quicker and cost-effective method, and so plaster and lath become almost obsolete. These panels, measuring 120cm in width and between 180cm and 360cm in height, are relatively easy to install, and a light layer of plaster is skimmed over the top.

They are either attached to a wooden frame to make stud walls, or they can be fixed to masonry walls using the dot-and-dab method, where fresh plaster is placed in several places on the reverse side of the board and it is pressed onto the wall.

Masonry Walls

Wet plastering is usually used on these surfaces, often in two or three coats. The materials include natural stone, brickwork, and CMUs (concrete masonry units, also known as cinderblocks or breezeblocks).

In an older house, lime plaster would be the best choice, while for modern homes, you might want to go for gypsum or cement plaster. To keep costs down, your plasterer may recommend that you have plasterboards attached and skim plaster applied over the top, as mentioned above.

So, if you are in a modern house with mostly plasterboard interior walls, then the cost to plaster these are likely to be less than if you are in an older property with traditional plaster and lath walls. And if you live in a house with listed building status, you'll be expected to make sensitive repairs in keeping with this. That means hiring a specialist with experience in dealing with heritage sites and listed buildings (like the Top Notch Walls crew!), which will carry a higher cost as the plastering job has to be fulfilled within strict guidelines.

Labour Costs

The average labour cost for plastering in the UK is between £150 and £250 per day. Some contractors charge a daily rate, including labour costs, rather than setting a price per square metre.

Labour costs vary by contractor and location (see more on the location below), as well as the level of skill and experience they have. Obviously, you want the best possible results for your money, so you have to decide whether to pay more for a highly-skilled plasterer with a lot of experience or to save money by opting for a less experienced contractor who may not deliver a first-class finish.

But then, if everyone chose to only hire plasterers with a high skill level and a lot of experience, how would less skilled contractors ever gain the experience they need?

The Type Of Plaster

There are several types of plaster available, and this will affect the overall plastering cost according to which one you choose. Here are some of the most widely used examples:

Lime Plaster

Traditional lime plaster (as mentioned above in relation to plaster & lath) is an amazing material to work with, and it is ideal for porous wall surfaces like brick and stone, which is why it has been used for centuries for external rendering. Its natural breathability allows moisture to evaporate, reducing the chances of problems with dampness. As limestone is highly alkaline, lime plaster has natural anti-bacterial properties that kill off mould spores.

It is also soft and flexible and will move with the building, meaning that it won't crack easily.

One other bonus is that it is more eco-friendly than most other options, as the materials are natural, sustainable, and can often be recycled. Also, any carbon produced during manufacturing is re-absorbed during the curing process.

However, as it is not in such high demand, lime plaster is only manufactured in relatively small quantities, which pushes up production costs. This makes the raw materials more expensive for the plasterers to buy, and the cost is inevitably passed onto the customer.

Finally, as this traditional plaster isn't widely used, not all plasterers have the skills to do the job properly. You can also check out our post "How Much Does Lime Plastering Cost" for more additional insights.

Cement-Based Plaster

Typically made from a mix of Portland cement, sand, and water, this sets into a hard material that provides a tough, smooth, and durable finish with excellent sound insulation. This makes it ideal for external walls, although it can be used indoors as well if you don't mind a more rustic appearance.

It is usually cheaper than lime plaster, although the cost is expected to rise as one of the components - river sand - has become increasingly difficult to source, potentially making it more expensive than gypsum.

On the plus side, cement plaster is waterproof, easy to apply, and sets within a few hours, ready for decoration.

The average cement plastering cost is between £400 and £600 to plaster a medium-sized room.

Gypsum Plaster

This is currently the most widely used of the three examples here and is cheaper than lime plaster but generally more expensive than cement plaster. Also, as it only requires two ingredients - water and plaster - it creates a beautifully smooth surface that sets within minutes and is usually cured completely within 24hrs.

It's a cost-effective method, as it helps to reduce overall construction time by about 20% on most projects.

It is also lightweight, fire-resistant, very easy to use, and provides good sound insulation.

Acrylic Plaster

A relative newcomer, this material is water-resistant and mostly used indoors. It is very easy to clean and is famous for its smooth finish.

There are many variations, but it is usually made from a mix of acrylic polymer, water, and other additives.

As for cost, it comes in at an average of around £30 per square metre.

Venetian Plaster

Although it's been in use for many hundreds of years, Venetian plaster has only recently experienced a surge in popularity in the UK.

It is made by mixing marble dust with lime putty (some modern mixes also include acrylic polymers) to produce a beautiful glossy or textured finish that resembles real marble. As it is coloured, there is no need for painting, and the results are truly stunning!

But this comes at a price: the average cost to plaster a room using this method is around £120 per square metre.

However, as you'll never need to paint again, and those colours will stay bright and vibrant for many years, it's a long-term investment that shouldn't be overlooked.

A Note About Other Types Of Plaster

Most plasterers will make recommendations as to the best plastering methods and techniques, and it's easy to become confused by the terminology. They may mention several options aside from the ones above, such as one-coat plaster, multi-finish plaster, board-finish plaster, tough-coat plaster, browning plaster, and bonding plaster.

In simple terms, they're all fairly similar, each with its own uses and benefits. Some are used as an undercoat plaster specifically to cover rough brickwork or other absorbent surfaces and provide a reasonably flat surface so that subsequent coats, including the topcoat plaster, have a superior finish.

If you're not clear about what any of these are or why they might be necessary, don't be afraid to ask the plasterer. After all, you are paying for the plaster job, so it's only fair that you know exactly what your money is being spent on.

Complexity Of The Design

It's likely that you just want your walls or ceilings to have a smooth and clean surface, like most common plastering jobs, and that's fine.

But what if you want to add flair and sophistication with features like decorative mouldings, ceiling roses, architraves, and cornices, you'll need to expand your budget a little. You'll also need to ensure that your plasterer is skilled and experienced enough to provide these!

Your Location

Yes, believe it or not, the price you pay can be affected by where you live!

Customers in London and the southeast can expect to pay between 20-40% more for any plastering jobs.

Conversely, the further north you are based, the lower the average costs tend to be when you use local plasterers.

The Condition Of The Existing Plaster

Professional plasterers tend to examine the walls (or ceiling) before starting work so they can assess any damage. They will never cover badly damaged plaster and will recommend remedial repairs before going ahead. This could entail the patching up of holes or cracks, blown plaster repair, or (in some cases) they might suggest that all the old plaster is removed and replaced with completely new plaster.

All of these actions will affect the overall cost to plaster your room to some extent.

Ceiling Height

The average ceiling height in the UK is about 2.4 metres, but if you have high ceilings that exceed this in some way, then your wall area will be larger, and the upper sections will be more difficult to reach. The average height of a ceiling in a classic Victorian house is around 2.74 metres, although some will be much higher. This will increase the working time and the volume of plaster needed, thus increasing the overall cost to plaster your room.

For very high ceilings, the plasterers will need a safe working platform, which adds to the time and the overall cost to plaster a room.

Conversely, if your ceilings are lower than average, you'll save money!

Ceilings Included?

As well as taking their height into account, you might also need to have your ceilings plastered.

Obviously, this adds to the expense, but how much does a ceiling cost to plaster?

In the UK, the average cost to wet plaster a ceiling is between £200 and £1000, again depending on the size and height. To find the area of your ceiling, measure along the length and width of the room and multiply the two figures (most plasterers quote prices in metres squared, so it's best to use this unit of measurement).

Also, the state of the ceiling will have to be taken into consideration, as you may need new plasterboard panels fitting. Old Artex can be covered over, but this has to be in good condition as some textured ceilings contain small amounts of asbestos that can be hazardous.

A Note About Asbestos

Artex ceilings used to be the norm (or any textured ceiling, as Artex was just one brand), but they aren't as popular these days. Up until 1999, Artex was fortified using asbestos, so any house built or renovated before this time may have asbestos in the ceiling plaster. Our post "How To Tell If Plaster Has Asbestos" maybe interest you. You can check it out.

This is safe as long as the Artex isn't disturbed. If you plan to remove the textured look, this has to be done properly and safely. Never sand your Artex ceiling or otherwise remove it in a manner that will break the plaster, as this risks releasing the harmful asbestos fibres that cause cancer and lung diseases.

If you're in any doubt or have concerns about this, please call Top Notch Walls or another qualified expert to discuss the issue.

We offer a professional Artex removal service that will solve the problem safely and efficiently, providing you with peace of mind as well as beautiful new ceilings.

Is Skimming Cheaper Than Plastering?

In theory, yes. Skim plastering isn't a different plastering technique; it's where a thin layer is applied, often over the top of the plasterboard, although it is possible to skim over old plaster as well as various other surfaces, providing they are in fairly good condition.

Assuming that your walls are already plastered, you might get away with a skim plaster, although a professional plasterer will always check the age and state of the existing surface. Old plaster can become dried out and will be porous. This will suck all the moisture out of the new plaster and make it dry out too quickly, resulting in cracked or 'blown' plaster. For more learnings, you can check out our post "How To Fix Cracks In Plaster Walls".

The average price for skimming walls is about £24 per square metre. To find the actual cost of skim plastering, you'd need to measure the perimeter of your room and multiply this by the ceiling height.

Next, you'd have to subtract any areas that won't need plastering, such as windows, doors, patio doors, etc.

It's only right to point out that a trustworthy plastering company would never apply a plaster skim to cover up damaged, weak plaster. They will always recommend that the old plaster is stripped and the entire wall is replastered. For more information, check out our post “Is Skimming Cheaper Than Plastering".

Is DIY Plastering An Option?

This is another frequently asked question, especially by those with a restricted budget.

After all, buying the necessary materials and tools will definitely be cheaper than booking professional plasterers - but there are other factors to consider.

Like all kinds of construction and home improvement work, a relatively fit and healthy person should be able to take on basic plastering jobs. But this doesn't mean that it's always the best idea!

Although plastering looks like a simple job, that's far from being the truth. When you watch the team at Top Notch Walls at work, it's easy to think that anyone can take on this task. The truth is, however, that it takes hard work, effort, dedication, and a lot of training to reach their skill level.

While it's true that you won't face the same restrictions with the time that a professional plasterer is expected to stick to, there are other pressures to consider, such as:

  • Which plaster do you need?
  • Will you get the mixture right?
  • Can you apply it before it starts to set?
  • Have you prepped the wall surface correctly?
  • Have you repaired any damage?
  • Will you need to work up a ladder or set up a working platform?
  • Will you get the same results as a professional?
  • Do you have the right tools and equipment?
  • Do you have the patience and tenacity to complete the job?

If you can answer all of these questions honestly and you're confident that you'll do your walls justice, then go ahead, by all means!

However, the truth is that the majority of homeowners prefer to get an expert to do the job.

Summing Up: The Cost To Plaster A Room

Now, when you ask, "How much does it cost to plaster a room?" you know that it's not such a simple question after all! It could cost you a few hundred pounds or a couple of thousand - maybe more.

Here's a basic rundown of what you'll need to check before getting in touch with your plasterer:

Accurate Measurements

You'll need to measure your walls to find the area in square metres and do the same with your ceiling - if you intend to include this in your plastering project. Do you have a small room or a large room, or something in between? It all affects the final cost.

What's Under The Old Plaster?

You need to know what substrate is beneath the plaster. Do you have masonry, plasterboard, or plaster and lath? It's likely that you'll have a combination of the first two unless your house was built before 1945, and even then, it's more likely that your ceilings will be plaster and lath than your walls.

Complete Re-Plastering Or Skim Plaster?

The extent of the plastering job will affect the cost significantly: stripping damaged plaster and replacing it will cost more than it would to simply re-plaster your walls.

Just The One Room?

You need to know how many rooms are going to be plastered; it may be more cost-effective to have several rooms done in the same plastering project than call the contractors back at a later date.

Basic Plastering Or Decorative?

There's nothing wrong with 'plain' plaster; it looks amazing when installed by a professional. But if your budget stretches a little further, you could add some flourish! Or, how about introducing a touch of Italian style with stucco or Venetian plaster?

In the end, the choice is yours - depending on your budget and your taste.

But when you've considered all the facts, weighed up the pros and cons, and decided what you want, why not contact Top Notch Walls? Our extensive experience and superior skills cover all the methods, techniques, and materials mentioned here, all at competitive prices - which is welcome news for everyone these days.

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