Tools for Plastering Outside Walls

Laying-on trowel

It is important to buy as good a trowel as you can afford. The blade should be of thin, well-tempered steel. A banana handle will give a good grip. A full-sized trowel blade is 280mm x 115mm.


A hawk is a flat piece of wood or metal about 300mm2, with a grip fixed in the centre. A quite adequate hawk can be made from a piece of marine plywood, with a short piece of broom handle, fixed in the centre, as a grip.

Skimming float

The skimming float is usually made of white pine. The blade should be 305mm x 115mm. A wooden float produces a slightly matt surface. A steel float can be used to give a smoother surface finish.

Water brush

A water brush is essential for damping down wall areas. A 100mm or 125mm brush is suitable.

Spot board

A spot board is used for mixing up the mortar. It should be made of marine ply or strengthened plywood. The board should be 610mm x 760mm and, if made of plywood, strengthened with battens.

The spot board should be used in con-junction with a stand or an old box to keep the board off the ground. A satisfactory working height is around 810mm.

Spirit level

A builder’s spirit level, which indicates both vertical and horizontal levels is necessary.

Floating rule

A floating rule is a piece of straight-edged timber about l.83m long and 100mm to 150mm wide. It is used to level off the surface of a plaster or mortar coat, so that the surface is level with the screeds.

Feather-edged rule

A feather-edged rule is a piece of straight, tapered-edged timber, about lm long. Where straight angles are needed, some pieces of straight-edged, planed timber 50mm x 20mm are required.


A scoop-shaped shovel can be useful if applying a shingle-dash coat. This facilitates scooping up the gravel.

Devil float (and wood float)

This is frequently a wood float with nails partially knocked through the float face. These can be pushed through to enable the work surface to be keyed; they can then be pushed back to achieve smooth work.

Scratching to achieve a keyed surface may be also done with a commercially produced comb or one can be made by knocking some nails into a piece of wood. The comb is used to scratch diagonal crisscross lines on the rendering coat and straight horizontal lines on the floating coat in preparation for the final coat. You can key the surface with a small trowel.

A bolster and club hammer will also be needed, for hacking back, prior to repair work. Two buckets, one to carry materials and one for water, are required.

If any material is loose it should be removed with a stiff wire brush or hacked out and the bare patches made up to the surface level with a 1:4 plus half a part of lime mixture. To give a good key, scratch the surface diagonally with criss-cross lines. Treat the base surface with a PVA primer to assist adhesion.

Brick surfaces should be brushed down to clean off dust and dirt. Then soak the surface, allow it to dry slightly, and apply a PVA bonding coat with a brush. On a slightly doubtful surface, apply a bonding coat consisting of 25 per cent PVA bonding agent, one part of Portland cement and one part of building sand.

Mix in water until the slurry is the consistency of thickened custard. Then brush this solution well into the surface and allow to dry for 24 hours.

10. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Featured, Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Tools for Plastering Outside Walls


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: