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How to mix plaster

Doing a plaster job around the home? Follow these 4 steps to mixing your own plaster

Prepare your mixing site

Mix your plaster near your job site to avoid bigger messes. Prepare the floor by spreading out plastic sheets or old newspapers, making sure to remove shoes before leaving the worksite. Have a clean plastic bucket, the plaster and/or bonding agent, 2 litres of water and a wooden mixing tool on hand.

Mixing plaster  

Mixing the plaster

With your plastic bucket for mixing, as well as water and gypsum plaster and wooden tool, you are ready to mix. The ratio of the mixture should consist of 1 part bonding agent (sand, gypsum, cement) to 3 parts water. For premixed gypsum plasters, you will not need to add an aggregate. For all agents, mix with no more than 2 litres of water. Slowly sprinkle the plaster into the water. Stir with a strong and sturdy wooden mixing tool until your plaster has a thick, creamy consistency. If the mixture seems too liquid, you can add more powder until the desired consistency is reached. Remember, it is best to fill deeper holes and cracks with a stiffer mix, whereas wall finishes require a smoother, creamier mix. Also, it is wise to only mix the amount of plaster that you will need for one job. Timing is important. The shelf-life of plaster is only about thirty minutes, so for bigger jobs, mix only as much plaster as you need for twenty minutes of application.

Ready for use

After mixing the plaster, tip the bucket and pour a small amount of the plaster out onto a slightly dampened mortar board. You can then use the mortar board to spread the plaster on your walls, returning to the plastic bucket for more fresh plaster as needed. If you are spreading more than one layer of plaster, allow at last twenty-four hours for each coat to dry before re-applying. This will require that you re-mix plaster for each coating.

Clean up

After finishing the job, make sure to wash the bucket with clean water before the plaster has time to dry. You should not attempt to use plaster that has already been set again, by mixing in more water. This will create lumpy, cracked plaster that will not adhere to surfaces very well.

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