Whether you’re a seasoned veteran in the plastering world, or you’re just getting started with a new business, mistakes can happen as you work. From little errors that can cause bigger problems, to workplace accidents, things can go wrong, but some mistakes and accidents are more common than others. From poor preparation or the wrong tools to slips, trips and falls, here are some of the most common plastering mistakes and accidents.
As the saying goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fail and while professional plasterers tend to be knowledgeable and careful about preparing a space for plastering, a few mistakes or a missed step could completely change how the final product looks. Preparing a space can include:
- A minimum of one coat PVA (2 or more advised)
- Scrim taping of all cracks and joins
- Filling any holes with the correct backing agent
- Scraping any excess wallpaper or adhesives from the wall
These are arguably small jobs, but cutting corners here could mean problems arising in the near future and the possibility of having to come back and fix the job. The more time you spend preparing and the more care you take, the better the final result will be and the less likely it’ll be that you’ll have to return to fix things.
Using Out Of Date Plaster
It may be tempting to use that half a bag left from another job, but if the plaster has gone even a day or two out of date, it could completely change how it finishes. While there could be some wriggle room, it’s usually not worth the risk of going past the date. Out of date plaster may mix up and apply perfectly well, but as it dries, it can become lumpy and hard, rather than smooth. It also tends to dry much faster, making it difficult to work with when applying more than one or two coats.
If out of date plaster is used, the result could mean scraping it all off and having to reapply a new bag, so it’s often worth spending out just a little more for a new bag if an existing one is out of date.
Slips, Trips and Falls
As with a lot of building trades, plastering requires a lot of equipment, including ladders. Plastering a ceiling could even require the use of stilts and all of this lends itself to a higher risk of falls or slips. There’s also the higher risk of trips and slips by the resident of the home you’re working in as a result of plaster or tools left around, and so it’s vital to make sure that you have a good public liability policy in place to protect your business and your customers against claims made by the public. It will cover compensation, legal fees and more, to ensure your business won’t need to pay out directly or risk bankruptcy. Employer’s liability insurance is another policy worth having and is compulsory for anyone that employees staff. It will protect the business and the employee in cases of claims for injury or the employee’s family in case of death.
Using The Wrong Tools
Cheap or inadequate tools can have a drastic impact on how the plastering looks at the end. While it’s said that a workman should never blame his tools, in the case of a smooth finish on plastered walls, tools really can be to blame. This doesn’t always mean splashing out for the most expensive equipment out there, but investing a little more in a tool rather than picking up the cheapest option at the shop could really make a difference and make the quality of your work last longer. Better work means higher demand for your services and the tools will soon pay for themselves.
Rushing the Job
It happens to anyone, regardless of the trade – you’ll underestimate a job, or something will come up that means it’s all going to take longer than expected. You’re left with limited time and it can be too easy to rush through a job to make it up. However, rushing a job is where the silliest mistakes happen. Even with decades of experience, rushing through the tasks can make you forget or mess up the simplest of things and leave the job with a bad or substandard finish.
In a lot of these cases, you could spend more time fixing it without getting paid for the time, so it’s with pricing the job up for more time than intended and the client will either take the job or they won’t. Keeping your quality high but taking a little longer to do it will be worth it in both the final product, as well as maintaining a good name and reputation.
When you’re working with plaster every day, it can become easy to be complacent with things like proper workwear and ventilation equipment, but it’s vital that you, or your staff if you own a business, are properly equipped to be doing the job. This includes all the right trousers, boots, hard hats and more, but also comes down to gloves, eye protection and face masks for ventilation. Airborne irritants such as dust and other flying particles can have an adverse effect on a person’s health, particularly when they’re working with it every single day. It can cause damage to the lung tissue and in extreme cases, can even lead to long-term health issues.
Asbestos is also a risk for plasterers. Although they may not be drilling into ceilings themselves, plasterers often work side-by-side with other builders, and it’s vital to make sure that all the right tests have been done on the material and that any asbestos insulation is only removed by trained and approved asbestos removers.
Plastering is an art as much as it is a trade, but it’s also prone to mistakes like any other. With proper training and the right insurance cover in the case where things do go wrong, you can protect your business, your employees and your clients against accidents or other mistakes. For more information, feel free to get in touch with a member of our team, today.