I recently had my kitchen plastered which was an excellent job. While doing the job the plasterer gave me a lesson on part of my hall wall below the dado rail approx 3-4 metres square. The result of this lesson was a perfectly flat wall, albeit with a couple of little scores that were easily patched up afterwards.
Since then I have bought a Trowel, Hawk, Bucket, Paddle, etc and have attempted to plaster my small downstairs toilet. On the first attemp i tried to do it all (big mistake) and began chasing my tail right from the start. The result was slightly bumpy toilet walls. I was not happy so decided due to the different shapes and right angles concerned that the best way to do it was to have another attempt but in stages. This has worked a lot better, however there are a few areas when I run my hand over them that are not completely flat. To the eye it all looks pretty fine but I still know they are there.
My point is that I intent to plaster my hallway which will be done in various sections. But as this is a main area I want to be able to produce as near to perfect flat walls. I realise that plastering is a trade that takes years to perfect, however I have also been told that skimming is slightly easier. My main problem being how do I ensure that the plaster is spread evenly enough with the trowel to produce a nice flat surface when finished. i.e. is there a technique such as go from top to middle and bottom to middle initially then left to middle and right to middle to ensure that the plaster is filling any slight recess.
I know I'm not going to be brilliant at this but I am determined to have a go, so I would greatly appreciate any help that anyone can give me.
There is a whole number of different ways on how to plaster, every single plaster will do it a different way, it's the way that suits the plaster the best.
I always like to start from bottom of wall working up, skimming it twice. So the first time you have a little tollerance but second time you can find your low spots.
But the trick is good tuition and practise.
Tips: Right handed you work left to right, the heel of the trowel (back edge) leaves a line, you trowel this out with the toe (front) on the next stroke. Try to work like a typewriter: across, down a level! Always start by "pulling the edges" that is go around the edges first, then spread the middle. Avoid 2 wet edges ie corners, try to do opposite walls, then the other opposites later, when first two are dry. My favoured method is
1; Apply first coat
2; Apply second coat
3; wet trowel/ tidy edges
4; wet or dry trowel depending on particular job
5; Dry trowel a good firm trowelling when plaster has hardened (NOT GONE BLACK)
The last 2 trowellings should be removing some material (Lime Fat).
Always, Always, Always work with long upward and downward strokes where possible. It Ok to go "across" the wall on the final trowelling.
See the projects on base coat and top coat plastering in the projects section. Get some board and pratice before you let yourself loose indoors. The Â£20 it will cost you for a bag of skim abd a sheet of board is well worth it.