Plastering, skimming and rendering can deliver an immediate facelift for your home – both inside and outside. For a flawless finish, it’s important to call on an experienced plasterer. Your pro should have experience across all surfaces and textures – internal and external – and it’s this breadth of skills and capabilities that you’re buying when you hire them.
The total cost of the job will depend on the size of the room or the dimensions of your external walls, as well as how much prep work is required.
Most plastering jobs will broadly follow the same process – by applying a base coat (or scratch coat) of plaster and allowing it to dry before a second or skim coat is added. The scratch coat of plaster must be fully dry before skimming can take place. If the existing substrate or plaster is in good condition then your tradesperson will probably suggest just skimming the wall with a thin coat of plaster to fill any cracks and provide a smooth, seamless surface. Depending on the specifics of your job, plastering can take between three days and a week to complete.
Plastering is the very definition of messy work. So, make sure any furniture and other items that could be damaged are moved out of the room your professional is working in.
The average cost of plastering an internal wall is £200 – £400.
The price of plastering a wall varies depending on the type of finish you have in mind and the size of each of your rooms. Most tradespeople will charge by the size of the room, although others may charge by the day or hour. Specialist or period features can also bump up prices, with extra care required to delicately work around these intricate elements.
Plastering ceilings is a more time-consuming job than covering walls, which is why it’s usually more expensive. For walls and ceilings that are in reasonable condition, your plasterer may suggest that they simply need skimming. A plasterer can also skim new plasterboard walls to provide the perfect surface to decorate on. This costs upwards of £85 for a small job and can stretch up to £330 and beyond for more extensive work.
If the existing plaster on your walls or ceilings has deteriorated significantly (or if it’s suffering from damp), it may need to be removed entirely and have a new base coat applied. This extra work will be reflected in the increased cost for the job, with one (or possibly two) base coats of plaster applied before the final skim coat can be added.
The average cost of rendering an external wall is £40–£60 per sqm.
Rendering the exterior of your home – whether you currently have bare brickwork or a drab-looking existing rendered finish – can help to protect and transform your walls. External rendering for a two-bedroom bungalow can cost from £2,000 to 3,000 in total. For a four-bedroom detached house you’re looking at a price between £6,000 and £8,000.
If your job involves rendering onto bare brickwork, your tradesperson will just need to clean the walls before applying the render. To render onto an existing finish – like pebble dash – they may need to strip the walls back to brickwork. Your pro will be able to assess the state of the walls and tell you what’s necessary. They’ll then seal the walls, either with a base coat of render or PVA – often used when brickwork is in poor repair, to protect it and help the render to bond. Once the PVA is dry, a layer of render can be applied.
A second, top coat of render can then be applied. The type of render you opt for will steer the overall price of the job. Standard sand and cement rendering is the most affordable option and should cost anywhere from £30–£50 per sqm, but there are a number of other finishes you could consider.
The price of the job will be influenced by the preparatory work required, the size of the wall, and the products or decorative finishes used. Taller and larger walls take longer to render and that will be reflected in the cost. You’ll also pay more if scaffolding needs to be used.
Your plasterer may also need to comply with building regulations, should the render cover a substantial part of the exterior (like the entire front of a property). If your building is listed, then planning permission will be required, which you’ll need to factor in to your budget.
Lime render is usually selected for older homes, and it’s the finish you’ll find on country cottages or some Victorian town houses. There are two main advantages that lime render has over cement – it’s breathable and flexible.
Its breathability means that homes which have previously suffered from damp issues might benefit from lime render. Rather than blocking out moisture, the lime plaster acts as a sponge and soaks it up. As it’s breathable, the moisture then evaporates before it reaches any internal walls, providing a time-honoured and effective solution.
The second of those advantages – flexibility – is why lime render is so well-suited to older homes, which can suffer from substrate movement, where the underlying layer can expand or contract. That flexibility means the render won’t crack – which could happen to standard sand-and-cement-based plaster.
Aside from those practical considerations, there are aesthetic benefits too. Lime render gives you a rustic, authentic and distinctive finish – one which can really elevate the look of (and add value to) more traditional homes.
K Rend is the product name of one of the leading modern render finishes. Like competitor products, K Rend is essentially a cement-based mix, but what makes it unique (and the reason it has a higher price tag) is its specially engineered polymers, which boost the render’s durability and keep the finish looking fresh for longer.
Specialist renders like K Rend have water-repelling silicone particles, which help to block out moisture and provide breathability. This means the rendered surface maintains its fresh, clean appearance for longer – resisting algae growth and a natural discolouring called lime bloom.
Silicone and acrylic renders like K Rend are pricier than the standard sand-and-cement mix, costing anywhere from £45 to £75 per sqm. Alternative nylon and glass fibre options can also deliver resilient and durable coats thanks to their breathability – talk to your plasterer about the different product options and which one will work best for your home.
|New wall plastering (with skimming)||£200||£300||£400|
|Plastering and skimming medium room (3m x 3m) not including ceiling||£550||£750||£1,000|
|Skimming medium room (3m x 3m) not including ceiling||£350||£400||£450|
|Re-plastering a small room (2m x 2m) not including ceiling||£375||£500||£700|
|New ceiling plastering (with skimming) a small room (2m x 2m)||£200||£250||£350|
|Rendering an external wall per sqm||£40||£50||£70|
|Rendering a 2-bed bungalow||£2,000||£2,500||£3,000|
|Rendering a 3-bed semi-detached house||£3,800||£4,500||£5,500|
|Rendering a 4-bed detached house||£6,000||£7,000||£8,000|